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BTC News asks the White House a question

And no, I’m not fooling, but I do apologize in advance for asking a question that I knew would merely trigger one of Scott McClellan’s rote little speeches. But I couldn’t help it. I was so stirred by the report that came out yesterday from Bush’s Presidential Commission to Blame Everyone But the White House for the Sexed-Up Intelligence on Iraqi WMDs, that the question wouldn’t be denied.

Anyway, it was a quiet Friday afternoon in the half-full briefing room. I’d come in that morning for the very brief gaggle, during which there were a couple of good questions about Bush’s response to Tom Delay’s threat against the judges that ruled in favor of Michael Schiavo. Scott’s answer was that the President supported the ‘culture of life,’ though, when pressed a little harder, he did admit that, yes, Americans should “follow laws” and “adhere to rulings of courts.” That was reassuring. During the break before the scheduled 12:30 briefing, I strolled around Lafayette Square, enjoying a beautiful Washington spring day. Back in the White House, the televised briefing began with four or five questions related to the Pope’s precarious health and one from Helen Thomas, who asked whether the President was unhappy about being misled by the CIA about Iraqi WMDs (wink wink). I finally got my chance near the end. I said (with a very shaky voice, I’m afraid):

“Going back to the report on botched WMD intelligence, have the massive intelligence failures documented in the report caused the President to rethink his policy of preventive war?”

This launched Scott into his “9/11 changed everything” speech, though I did get to say a couple of more things designed to make him have to defend an invasion whose putative justification was based on false intelligence. After he had resorted to his “Saddam was a bad guy” bit, I was hoping to end by asking, “So, we can look forward to more wars like this one?” but he had moved on to someone else.

One other notable exchange was on the question of whether or not the Social Security Trust Fund actually exists. Scott was quite blithe about admitting that the federal government’s IOUs are absolutely worthless.

The full transcript is here.

8 comments to BTC News asks the White House a question

  • [...] got to ask press secretary Scott McClellan a question… The blogger, Eric Brewer, of BTC News, gives a pretty dull retelling of the experience, but discusses the question he asked, an [...]

  • I take it this was you too: ” Q The ones that are alive, you mean?”

    Don’t apologize for that…that was great.

    Thank you.

  • Hi, Ron. We think the followup was from Helen Thomas, sounds like her anyway, but we don’t know for sure. Eric was too far back to hear the comment, and obviously McClellan didn’t respond to it. Eric’s was a good, solid question that deserves an answer – and I suppose got one, “no,” if you parse the answer sufficiently – and it was considerably more substantive, I thought, than all those questions about the newly activist Laura Bush.

  • Awww good old Helen…at least the Helen Thomas during the Bush Administration. Not to take anything away from Eric cause he did ask a good question too…but that line by Helen, if her, was killer (pun attended).

    peace

  • foo

    According to Froomkin, the comment was indeed from Helen.

  • Debra McDaniel

    Thanks for asking a real question even though it was doomed to be unanswered by answering it with the usual rhetoric. It’s pretty discouraging to have an administration that has so much to hide from the very people who have the power to rid themselves of politicians that don’t do their job. There is so much arrogance in this White House that they really believe that that they owe us nothing. They really think they have nothing to fear since they control two of the three branches of government. And oh yes, the voting booth. I say let’s get rid of the lot of them. They aren’t worth the time and money it would take for them to realize how wrong they have been about everything. And the American people just can’t afford them any longer.

  • John Mullen

    I take it then, according to the President of the United States, I should immediately cash in all my US savings bonds, since they are, in fact, just worthless pieces of paper?

    I wonder what foreign investors in US securities make of this stand.

  • BTC News at the White House
    So there’s not much reason to change the policy even if, as Don Rumsfeld might say, there are things you know you don’t know and one of them is whether you really know that the things you do know are true.

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