Dana Peroxide Does Not Know That Republikkkan Senators Questioned Patreus’ “Success”
Q Dana, picking back up on the speech again tomorrow, will the President be addressing sort of the bigger-picture questions that were talked a little bit about in the hearings yesterday? Senator Warner raised a question: Are we safer? Is America safer because of this? And Senator Hagel raised some questions about where is the diplomatic surge. Will the President address the nation and those kinds of questions tomorrow?
MS. PERINO: Sure, those are issues, when the President talks about Iraq, that he addresses every time he has a chance to talk about it.
Q But those two Republican Senators really seem to be at a loss for understanding progress in Iraq.
MS. PERINO: With all the testimony — I didn’t see the questioning in between those two Senators, but I do think that Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus have done a very good job of providing their very candid and frank assessment about the progress that has been made because of the surge, and the challenges that lie ahead.
Dana Peroxide Is Helenized — Again
Q You said earlier today that it was not possible for the President to pull out of Iraq before he leaves office. And it was so easy for him to go in five years ago; why can’t he pull out now?
MS. PERINO: I don’t think any of that was easy — not the decision and not — and certainly none of the logistics, and especially everything that weighs heavy on him and obviously the families of the loved ones — their loved ones who have died in this fight. But what I was saying, Helen, is that it is, one, the President thinks that it’s way premature to pull out troops now. One, it’s dangerous for our own national security, but also for the innocent Iraqis who are there —
Q Why is it dangerous for our national security? Are the Iraqis a threat to us?
MS. PERINO: Helen, in case you missed it, Osama bin Laden has said that he would like to establish al Qaeda’s roots in the Arab world.
Q I understand you do not intend to submit the agreement to Congress — the agreement with the Iraqis.
MS. PERINO: We have said that we will continue to work with Congress, brief them on it fully — that’s what Ambassador Crocker said he would do. It’s not —
Q But not to let —
MS. PERINO: — an executive agreement like this isn’t something that is subject to a yes or no vote by the United States Senate. Other countries, under their constitutions, may have that type of rule, but we don’t. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to work very closely with Congress.
Q — to make an end run around the authorization —
MS. PERINO: No it’s not, Helen.
Q — that expired, didn’t it?
MS. PERINO: No it’s not, Helen. No.
Q Well, why can’t you submit it to Congress?
MS. PERINO: I just explained why.
Crocker Goes Off The Reservation
Q Okay. And also, yesterday Ambassador Crocker said he thought al Qaeda on the border of Afghanistan-Pakistan was a greater threat to U.S. national security than al Qaeda in Iraq. Does the President agree with that, and does that have any bearing on the debate about resource allocation?
MS. PERINO: The President is concerned about both, but I have not heard him describe it as prioritizing one or the other. Al Qaeda is dangerous, full stop.
Dana’s Panties Are In A Wad
Q Do you want to talk about Speaker Pelosi’s decision to put off a vote on the Colombia trade bill?
MS. PERINO: Sure, I’m happy to have a chance to respond to that. Speaker Pelosi today did something unprecedented in the history of negotiating trade deals in announcing the Democrats would change the rules in the middle of the game.
Q Dana, Speaker Pelosi says that if she were to bring that to a vote right now it would fail. Would you prefer that it fail or that it’s delayed?
MS. PERINO: Let’s have that vote then.
Q So you would prefer that to negotiating some more on the Trade Adjustment —
MS. PERINO: Well, let’s be honest about it. We think that we could get it to a position where it could pass; sure we do. But the fact that they don’t even want to have a vote should maybe tell you something, because maybe she’s not so confident of the votes that they say that they have.
Q But she’s suggesting the way to get it passed is to continue to negotiate on the —
MS. PERINO: We have negotiated. We have negotiated and we have addressed her concerns about — on labor matters, on environmental standards.
We have bent over backwards to make this happen. I think that it will be interesting to see how the President deals with that today.
Q A follow on that?
MS. PERINO: Okay.
Q You sound a little angry. Is the White House angry?
MS. PERINO: I think we’re pretty fired up about it.
Q Okay. But also, you don’t deny that technically they have the right to do what they’re doing, do you?
MS. PERINO: No.
Q No, you don’t deny that they have that — they do have that right, in other words, correct?
MS. PERINO: As far as I know, they have the right to do it, but it’s not the right thing to do.
Dana Is Also Pissed About The Olympics…
Q Dana, in an interview with EWTN, the President was asked specifically, “You are now planning on going to the Olympics, to be at the Opening Ceremonies at the Olympics. How can you in good conscience go to that ceremony, Mr. President?” He answered, “Because I — I’m going to the Olympics, for starters, and my plans aren’t — haven’t changed.” Dana, is he going to the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games?
MS. PERINO: I would just leave it as the how the President stated it. We haven’t announced the President’s schedule.
Q So you can’t say right now whether he’s going to the Opening Ceremonies or not?
MS. PERINO: I cannot.
Q You can only say that he is going to the Olympics?
MS. PERINO: Yes, but I’m not trying to signal anything by saying that — I don’t have the President’s schedule. It is way too far in advance for us to announce the President’s schedule.
Q One last thing. For people who are reading between the lines here that you’re not being — able to be pinned down on this, is it possible that the President could go to the Olympics but not go to the Opening Ceremonies?
MS. PERINO: I’ll refer you to my first answer.
Q But this is different, Dana. If we asked you this question a couple of weeks ago or a couple of months ago, you would have said he’s going to the Opening Ceremonies. Does this suggest —
MS. PERINO: That’s not true. Did you ask me that? Did I say that?
Q I think it’s been pretty clear that he was planning on going.
MS. PERINO: No. He said he was going to the Olympics. We have not given out the President’s schedule. And even before — I’ve not given out any details about the President’s schedule when it comes to Olympics. So it’s wrong to say that I have changed my story.
Q Since this issue has become — sort of moved to the forefront here, is there any reexamination, recalibration, or rethinking of the dynamics that would have the President at the Opening Ceremonies?
MS. PERINO: Not that I’m aware.
…So The Gagglers Have Some Fun With Her
Q Dana, what sports — what Olympic sports might the President be most interested in, and might his journey center around those?
MS. PERINO: I don’t know. He’s a sports fan, he likes it all.
Q Is it true he’s going to the shot-put? (Laughter.) You won’t discuss that, will you?
MS. PERINO: I don’t have any details on his schedule. It’s premature for me to — Peter.