Shorter Dana Peroxide: I’m Not A Statistician
Q We’re coming on to the fifth anniversary of our invasion of Iraq, and two years ago the President summed up the number of Iraqis possibly dead as a result of that to 30,000. Do you have any new estimate now for summing up of this war?
MS. PERINO: I don’t with me, Helen, no.
Q A British research organization said about a million Iraqis have died as a result.
MS. PERINO: I don’t know if that’s accurate.
Shorter Dana Peroxide: I’m Not A Diplomat
Q The Iraqi government has called the Turkish incursion into northern Iraq a violation of its sovereignty and have demanded an immediate end to the operation. Now that the administration has called for this to be a short-term operation, has there been any change in the administration position, and what do you think would constitute “short term”? Are we talking days, weeks or beyond that?
MS. PERINO: Well, I’m not going to put a time frame on it. Obviously we support Turkey and we support Iraq.
Shorter Dana Peroxide: I’m Not A Lawyer
Q On FISA, could you just talk about what’s behind this afternoon’s background briefing? Is there something specific that prompted that? Because the President has made quite clear his position on retroactive —
MS. PERINO: Here’s what’s prompted it, actually. In my experience, having been following this issue for a long time and quite intensely, I think it is a very complex issue.
Q I mean, the President has made quite clear his position on retroactive liability and so on and so forth. What specifically is the point of confusion that you might be trying to address?
MS. PERINO: Elaine, I could go back to yesterday’s transcript. There’s just a lot — there’s a lot of issues, in terms of — like this law has been in place since 1978. There’s a lot of history here with this law.
Now, I am not a lawyer, and this is a highly legal issue. You also have people at Department of Justice and the Director of National Intelligence who are directly working with the general counsels of the telecommunications companies that we need to have working with us. And they’re the ones that are in communication with them, and understand their concerns and their needs. So this is an opportunity, if people want to attend, to get more information about that.
Q Let’s put it on the record.
MS. PERINO: These are lawyers who are — I’m on the record all the time, the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence — who is testifying tomorrow — will be on the record. This is background for your information and for your education, and if you want to attend, that would be great.
Q What’s the big mystery here? Don’t we know what this is about?
MS. PERINO: From where I stand, and the questions that I get, no, I don’t think so.
Shorter Dana Peroxide: I’m Not An Economist
Q In your opening statement you said, “as the housing market continues to transition.” Given the plunge in housing values and home sales, just what does the administration think it’s transitioning to at this point?
MS. PERINO: Well, as I said, as much as I know about economics, prices go up and down, and there are cycles, and it depends on how high and how low they go.
Q So you think this is just — what is happening now, what’s dramatically happening now is just a part of a normal cycle?
MS. PERINO: Well, I don’t know how else to explain it.
And Now, Your Daily Les
Q Thank you, Dana. On another issue, the AP reports from Chicago that 20,000 people attending the Nation of Islam’s Savior’s Day spent nearly two hours hearing Lewis Farrakhan spend most of his speech praising Senator Obama as “the hope of the entire world who can lift America from her fall.” And my question: Does the President believe that any religious organization’s tax exemption should allow such endorsement of any political candidate?
MS. PERINO: I think we’re just going to steer clear of that one. Move on to your next question; hurry up.
Q Do you want to evade that?
MS. PERINO: I do. So go on to your next one.
Q All right. As the nation’s chief law enforcer, the President believes that the 3 million Hillary documents at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock should not continue being concealed from the public, doesn’t he?
MS. PERINO: I think that that’s a matter for Hillary Clinton to answer.
Q But doesn’t the President believe the public should have access to those documents, Dana?
MS. PERINO: As a journalist, I’ll let you continue to pursue that with her office.