Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Whitehouse won't give a straight answer on anything

The press conferences with Scott McClellan are a complete farce. He refuses to give a direct answer to almost anything these days. Here are a couple examples from this morning:

Karl Rove

Q So the President stands by Rove a hundred percent?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I've made it clear to you that everybody who works here at the White House has the confidence of the President.

Q That's not exactly a direct answer, though.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you're asking a question relating to an ongoing investigation and --

Q Does he stand by Karl Rove a hundred percent?

MR. McCLELLAN: -- the investigation relating to him is something that is ongoing, and the President has addressed that.

Q -- forward-leaning as that, to say the President stands behind Karl Rove a hundred percent?

MR. McCLELLAN: I just made the President's views known.


Q He didn't ask for an exemption --

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and we are going to --

Q -- answer that one question. I'm asking, is the administration asking for an exemption?

MR. McCLELLAN: I am answering your question. The President has made it very clear that we are going to do --

Q You're not answering -- yes or no?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, you don't want the American people to hear what the facts are, Helen, and I'm going to tell them the facts.

Q -- the American people every day. I'm asking you, yes or no, did we ask for an exemption?

MR. McCLELLAN: And let me respond. You've had your opportunity to ask the question. Now I'm going to respond to it.

Q If you could answer in a straight way.

MR. McCLELLAN: And I'm going to answer it, just like the President -- I just did, and the President has answered it numerous times.

Q -- yes or no --

MR. McCLELLAN: Our most important responsibility is to protect the American people. We are engaged in a global war against Islamic radicals who are intent on spreading a hateful ideology, and intent on killing innocent men, women and children.

Q Did we ask for an exemption?

MR. McCLELLAN: We are going to do what is necessary to protect the American people.

Q Is that the answer?

MR. McCLELLAN: We are also going to do so in a way that adheres to our laws and to our values. We have made that very clear. The President directed everybody within this government that we do not engage in torture. We will not torture. He made that very clear.

Q Are you denying we asked for an exemption?

MR. McCLELLAN: Helen, we will continue to work with the Congress on the issue that you brought up. The way you characterize it, that we're asking for exemption from torture, is just flat-out false, because there are laws that are on the books that prohibit the use of torture. And we adhere to those laws.

Q We did ask for an exemption; is that right? I mean, be simple -- this is a very simple question.
MR. McCLELLAN: I just answered your question. The President answered it last week.

Lewis Libby

Q Will the President pledge not to
pardon Lewis Libby?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to discuss an ongoing legal proceeding, and I'm not going to --

Q Can you just --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm not going to speculate about any matters relating to it. This is something that is just beginning. There will be a hearing process that is going on right now, and we need to let that legal proceeding continue. I was asked this question last week, and that's -- I'm just not going to speculate about things at this point.

Q So if he's interested in seeing the legal process continue, that means he will not pardon him, is that correct?

MR. McCLELLAN: There is a legal proceeding --

Q That would interrupt the legal proceeding.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- that is going on relating to that individual. Under our system, there is a presumption of innocence. And we're not going to comment on it while it is continuing. And I'm not going to -- certainly not going to speculate about it, as well.

Q Should we take that to mean it remains a possibility?

MR. McCLELLAN: It should mean exactly what I said.

Dick Cheney

Q Scott, is anyone in the White House exempt from participating in these and --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, it's a mandatory session.

Q Would the Vice President have to attend?

MR. McCLELLAN: It's mandatory for all White House staff. That's who it's for.

Q And he's considered staff?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, he's considered the Vice President. (Laughter.)

Q So he does not have to attend?

MR. McCLELLAN: All White House staff is required to participate in these sessions.


Q First of all, on the Australian arrests, has the U.S. coordinated with them, and is this as a result of
Australia's cooperation with the United States?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's something that you ought to direct to Australian authorities. They've talked about it and you can check with our law enforcement authorities to see if there's any additional information. I'll be glad to check on that, as well.

Torture, again

Q Why don't you answer the one question on exemption?

MR. McCLELLAN: I just did, Helen.

Q Does the Vice President's Office have -- I mean, you blanket -- covered the White House. The Vice President's Office is under the Office of the White House. Why can't you just -- why can't you answer?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to get into all the discussions we have with members of Congress. If they want to add additional information, you're welcome to contact their office, as well.

Q Well, they don't answer like you do. You are at that podium. We need to hear from you. You --
MR. McCLELLAN: And I just made it clear --


MR. McCLELLAN: You got it in the statement of administration policy. There are already laws on the books that cover these issues.

Q -- this issue --

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, and that's what it is.

Q Well, give it to us then.

MR. McCLELLAN: Go look on our website. I'll be glad to provide it to you.

Q -- which website?

MR. McCLELLAN: And I just told you what it is. Are you not listening? I just told you what it is.


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