McClellan Appeals For Understanding

More Scott McClellan Theatre:

After three weeks of telling the world that Harriet Miers was the best possible Supreme Court nominee because she is a woman who was not an Eastern Ivy Leaguer serving on the appellate bench, McClellan made the case yesterday that the second-best possible Supreme Court nominee is Samuel Alito – an Ivy League-educated man from New Jersey who has been on the appellate bench for 15 years.

Worse, McClellan personally vouched for White House officials Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, saying that they had nothing to do with the leak of a CIA agent’s identity and that anybody who did would be fired. Libby was indicted in the case on Friday, Rove has been identified as a leaker but remains on the job – and McClellan says that, on advice of counsel, he can’t say a peep about the whole thing.

Instead of explaining himself, McClellan appealed for understanding.

“I’m very confident in the relationship that we have in this room and the trust that has been established between us,” the spokesman said, making his plea for “trust” thrice more. “This relationship is built on trust, and you know very well that I have worked very hard to earn the trust of the people in this room, and I think I’ve earned it.”

President Bush tried a similar “trust me” defense of Miers, telling conservatives she would be sufficiently conservative because he said so. Conservatives didn’t buy that, and Miers was withdrawn.

McClellan doesn’t seem to be having any better luck getting the White House press corps to trust him. ABC News’s Terry Moran informed McClellan that “we can’t vouch for you” and said he couldn’t “carry your water for you.” Moran added: “There’s been a wound to your credibility here. A falsehood, wittingly or unwittingly, was told from this podium.”

NBC’s David Gregory was no more trusting, telling McClellan that his credibility “may very well be on trial with the American public” and asking, “Don’t you agree?”

The White House sent another signal of defiance in the afternoon, when it announced that Cheney counsel David Addington would replace Libby as Cheney’s chief of staff. Addington was identified by his titlein the indictment – and he was a principal author of a White House memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects.

“Can you address the message that was sent today by the vice president?” Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times asked McClellan.

“It’s always the president’s prerogative to choose the team that best meets his needs for advancing his agenda,” came the unresponsive response.

All other avenues exhausted, a questioner wondered whether it might be in the White House’s interest to come clean about the leak, because Republican candidates up for election in 2006 are worried about “the cloud of suspicion which is still hanging over the White House.”

“I think your question presumes many things,” McClellan told the reporters, who, whatever their presumptions, had not presumed he would answer them.

Yeah, that was pretty funny. What, me backpedal? :lol:

Ya know, most of the Whitehouse press guys burn up their credibility and have to be replaced like a crapped up oil filter every now and again.


Ari, who?