10/31/2005

Daily Kos: Press Attacks McClellan Credibility and Other Highlights

Press Attacks McClellan Credibility and Other Highlights
by guyermo [Subscribe]
Mon Oct 31, 2005 at 05:32:11 PM CDT

Scotty's first question today was NOT about the new Supreme Court nominee, as they would like you to believe by their handy-dandy little outline.

Instead, they wanted to talk about Rove. Scott gives them the usual BS, but he added some new stuff now that there's been an indictment.

First a conjecture teaser about Rove's future employment; he might have let something slip. More below.

* guyermo's diary :: ::
*

Here is the opening question and his reply. All bolding is mine.

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, there is an ongoing investigation; we need to let that investigation continue. We need to let the legal process work. As I indicated to you all on Friday, our Counsel's Office has directed us not to discuss this matter while it continues, and that means me not responding to questions about it from this podium. This is a process that we need to let continue. There is, as I said, a presumption of innocence in our legal system, and we don't want to do anything from here that could prejudice the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial. I think that's the basis of our legal system.

And in terms of comments that people are making, again, I think they're presuming things and trying to politicize the process. But that's their business. We're going to let the legal process work.

In other words, unless Rove is convicted, he had absolutely nothing to do with the leak. He'd probably resign if indicted, but he'd never be fired. That would require "courage" and is "hard work."

The pressies don't let McClellan go on Rove, though. They call him out on his lies. This is a LONG back-and-forth between McClellan and David Gregory.

You were wrong then, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: David, it's not a question of whether or not I'd like to talk more about this. I think I've indicated to you all that I'd be glad to talk about this once this process is complete, and I look forward to that opportunity. But, again, we have been directed by the White House Counsel's Office not to discuss this matter or respond to questions about it.

Q That was a public representation that was made to the American people.

MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. We can have this conversation, but let me respond.

Q No, no, no, because it's such an artful dodge. Whether there's a question of legality --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree with you.

Q Whether there's a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's accurate.

Q So aside from the question of legality here, you were wrong, weren't you?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, if I were to get into commenting from this podium while this legal proceeding continues, I might be prejudicing the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial. And I'm just not going to do that. I know very --

Q You speak for the President. Your credibility and his credibility is not on criminal trial. But it may very well be on trial with the American public, don't you agree?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm very confident in the relationship that we have in this room, and the trust that has been established between us. This relationship --

Q See those cameras? It's not about us. It's about what the American people --

MR. McCLELLAN: This relationship is built on trust, and you know very well that I have worked hard to earn the trust of the people in this room, and I think I've earned it --

Q Is the President -- let me just follow up on one more thing.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- and I think I've earned it with the American people.

Q Does the President think that Karl Rove did anything wrong?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it would be good for you to allow me the opportunity to respond to your questions without jumping in. I'm glad to do that. I look forward to the opportunity --

Q I haven't heard a response.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, I have been responding to you, David, and there's no need -- you're a good reporter, there's no need to be rude or disrespectful. We can have a conversation and respond to these questions, if you'll just give me the opportunity to respond. I'm glad to do that.

Q In the year 2000, the President said the following: "In my administration, we will ask not only what is legal, but what is right; not just what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves." Doesn't the American public deserve some answers from this President about the role of his Vice President in this story and what he knew and when he knew it, and how he feels about the conduct of his administration?

MR. McCLELLAN: The American people deserve a White House that is committed to doing their work. We are focused on the priorities of the American people.... People in th,bis White House fully understand what's expected of them. We are expected to focus on the people's business, first and foremost, and that's what we always do. We're also expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards. People understand that in this White House. That's what the President expects, and that's what the American people expect. And we've got a great team here, and we'll continue to adhere to those standards.

Obviously, I bolded that last quote becaue it's just so darn funny. Depressing, but still funny.

The next segmant finally gets into the Supreme Court nominee, and the first question is basically "If Harriet Meirs was the best available, then what is Alito?

Scott, on the subject of rude, my apologies for my unfortunate choice of words this morning to you, but I think the question bears asking again, and that is that the President said repeatedly when he nominated Harriet Miers that she is the best person for the job. Does that in any way indicate that while Sam Alito may be well-qualified for the Supreme Court, he is not, as was described of Harriet Miers, the best person?

MR. McCLELLAN: He's extremely well-qualified. When the President selected Harriet Miers, he was taking into consideration what members of the Senate had said, that he should look outside the court. But we recognize now that in the culture of today's confirmation process, it is very difficult to nominate someone who comes from outside the court and has little public record on constitutional issues to be confirmed. That's something we recognize.

The President looked at someone who -- to fill this vacancy at this time, and he believes Judge Alito is the best person to fill this vacancy at this time, based on his extensive experience and his judicial temperament.

So, Meirs was the best he could do with the "advice" of the Senate. So when they didn't "conscent" to her nomination, or rather, when she pulled out before they had the chance, Bush decided to ignore the "advice and conscent of the Senate" and nominated Alito. Nice guy.

But he only got a brief respite. He then had his credibility directly challenged in possibly the best exchange I have ever read.

Q Scott, let me follow up on what David was asking. You say we know you -- and we do -- but we can't vouch for you; that's not our job. And I wonder, do you really think after --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, wait a second. Let me just interject there. I think there are many people in this room I see expressing their own commentary on TV all the time -- not just reporting. You do a job to report the news, as well, but many people in this room also go on the air and express their views and their commentary. And I've worked with many of you for quite some time now.

Q I didn't follow that. I can't go on TV and say, "America believes Scott McClellan." That's not my role.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, you go on TV, though, and engage in commentary about views and things that are expressed here at the White House.

Q Right. But what I can't do is carry your water for you. And I wonder --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not asking you to.

Q Well, there -- yes you are.

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm just asking you to speak to who I am. And you know who I am.

Q There's been a wound to your credibility here. A falsehood, wittingly or unwittingly, was told from this podium. And do you really believe that the American people should wait until the conclusion of all of this process and just take on trust everything that comes from that podium now, without the explanation and the answer that you say you want to get --

MR. McCLELLAN:... I have worked hard to earn that trust and I think I've earned that trust with you all. And it's your job to duly report to the American people, and I'm confident that you all will when you look at the facts and look at everything that's been said and where we are today.

MR. McCLELLAN: ...part of my job is to be an advocate for the President... But I've another important responsibility, as well -- it's something that we all, I think and hope, share in this room -- that is to make sure that the American people get an accurate account of what's going on here in Washington, D.C. And I work hard to meet both those responsibilities.

Q But don't you think, Scott, that that second part of your job has been damaged, your credibility has been damaged by this?

MR. McCLELLAN: For me to even respond to that question would force me to talk about an ongoing investigation and legal proceeding, and we've been directed not to do that..

in other words, Terry, you can't answer that question without it being viewed in the context of an ongoing investigation, an ongoing legal proceeding, and that's why I can't go further than that at this point.

Q But doesn't, then, that make it impossible for you to do your job with as much credibility as that podium demands?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, not at all, because of the relationship that we've built between me and the press corps, and I think I've earned with the American people, too. I've tried hard to earn that trust and I think I've done my part to maintain that trust.

Did someone just call McClellan a LIAR? A falsehood certainly sounds like a lie.

Update [2005-10-31 20:52:4 by guyermo]:
As lawstudent922 stated in the comments, Scott McClellan has definately NOT earned OUR confidence, and suggested we let him know. So, send your letters to the following address letting Scot McClellan know that he has not earned your trust, and make sure to tell him why.


Daily Kos: Press Attacks McClellan Credibility and Other Highlights

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