Dana Peroxide Opens TheGaggle
MS. PERINO: It’s now been a week since the House passed a bipartisan economic growth package that would give our economy the boost it needs to deal with the challenges that our economy is facing. And while we understand that senators want to put their own “brand” on the growth package, we hope they will not treat this as a partisan exercise.
And Promptly Has Her Head Handed To Her
Q Is it a partisan act if the Senate wants to make changes in the stimulus package?
MS. PERINO: Well, what you see right now in the Senate is haggling over important issues, big issues — issues that we think largely need to be debated outside of an economic growth package.
Q So I’m unclear then. Are you saying that they’re acting irresponsibly if they change the package at all?
MS. PERINO: No, we’re not saying that. We’re saying that they need to move quickly, that there’s no need for delay, that they have a package in front of them that they could move on, and we’re calling on them to do it quickly. They have a vote, I think, scheduled for tomorrow.
Q Isn’t that acting quickly?
MS. PERINO: It is not guaranteed that they’re going to pass it tomorrow, and pass it in a way that can actually make sense for the House to be able to come up to agreement with them quickly and get it to the President’s desk. I think that’s the concern that we have, that it gets bogged down in the Senate.
Screw Old People And Disabled Vets!
Q You mentioned on the stimulus package the importance of getting this done quickly. And I can understand unemployment, insurance extensions — that could be taken up separately. But what I don’t understand is if you want to boost consumer spending, why are you opposed to expanding the rebates to seniors and disabled veterans at a (inaudible) below $3,000 a year? Wouldn’t they spend money quickly?
MS. PERINO: What I said is that we believe that the House package that was worked out between Speaker Pelosi and Leader Boehner and Secretary Paulson is one that they think would stimulate the economy with as much — with about 1 percent of GDP, the amount of money that the President said was going to be necessary to have an effect.
Happy Colin Powell Day, Dana
Q Dana, today is the fifth anniversary of Colin Powell’s U.N. presentation on Iraq. I’m wondering whether you think the intel reforms that we’ve seen since then make a repeat of that kind of blunder impossible.
MS. PERINO: I didn’t realize that was the anniversary today. I’m glad you keep tabs on it. I think there is no doubt that this administration took a lot of input from a lot of different places — independent commissions, including the WMD commission, to establish reforms throughout the intelligence community, which are working very well. And I remember Fran Townsend, at her last briefing here before she left, indicated that in her experience that the agencies were giving — sharing a lot more information and that was making our nation safer.
Shocking! Dana Don’t Know!
Q Yes. Can I ask about Director Hayden’s testimony on the Hill. He has now publicly confirmed that waterboarding was used against three al Qaeda suspects. He’s also said that that technique remains in the CIA’s arsenal. Why is this not an illegal form of torture?
MS. PERINO: I have to tell you, Mark, I literally came from a meeting. I saw the press report about this. I didn’t have time to follow up on it. I didn’t see what he said. I don’t know the process from — by which it was announced. And so I’m going to decline to comment on it until I have more information.
Q Can we ask you to get back to us with an answer on that, because —
MS. PERINO: I will try — yes, I literally came down here to do this because there’s a pool event, but we will follow up.
Les Nails Dana
Q Your statement issued yesterday, announcing, “The U.S. strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Dimona, Israel,” it mentions not a word that Dimona is the production site of Israel’s nuclear weapons. And my question: Why was there no mention of this important fact?
MS. PERINO: We are focusing on the fact that an innocent person was killed by a terrorist. I think that was the more important part of that statement.
Q Well, yes, I know, but there was certainly —
MS. PERINO: I didn’t think it was necessary.