Monday, February 06, 2006


Spier: Scott McClellan Gives Me the Creeps

by Bill Spier

While we were watching or listening to the charade Sen. Arlen Specter orchestrated today interviewing the Attorney General on the rationale for warrantless wiretaps, octogenerian Helen Thomas, dowager of the White House press corps, right, was skewering Scott McClellan at a "news" briefing. In case you don't know, Helen was demoted to back chair status in the press corps last fall. Thankfully though, Helen cannot be denied. In my lifetime, I remember a few (basically decent) press secretaries who who were asked to blabber pathetically for their bosses, and you cringed with them. McClellan, however, is truly loathsome. You wish he would just disappear forever. I don't know about you, but there could be no payoff big enough for me to lie day in and day out for the likes of Cheney and Bush, as McClellan does. He give me the creeps.

For amusement, here is the repartee between Scotty and Helen Thomas today:

Q: Does the president think he should obey the law? He put his hand on the Bible twice to uphold the Constitution. Wiretapping is not legal under the circumstances without a warrant.
MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, I guess you didn't pay attention to the attorney general's hearing earlier today, because he walked through very clearly the rationale behind this program.
Q There is no rationale --
MR. MCCLELLAN: And Helen, I think you have to ask --
Q -- (inaudible) -- the law.
MR. MCCLELLAN: I think you have ask are we -- well, he's not -- are we a nation at war.
Q That's not the question.
MR. MCCLELLAN: No, that is the issue here.
Q The question is, the point is, there are means for him to go to -- get a warrant to spy on people.
MR. MCCLELLAN: Enemy surveillance is critical to waging and winning war. It's one of the traditional tools of war.
Q But he says he doesn't have running room --
MR. MCCLELLAN: The attorney general outlined very clearly today how previous administrations have used the same authority --
Q That doesn't make it legal.
MR. MCCLELLAN: -- and cited the same -- and cited the very same authority.
Q (Inaudible) -- they broke the law, that's too bad.
MR. MCCLELLAN: And we're going to continue doing everything we can --
Q You know what happened to Nixon when he broke the law. (my emphasis)
MR. MCCLELLAN: -- within our power to protect the American people.
This is a very different circumstance, and you know that.
Q No, I don't.

White House Transcript of this press briefing.


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Media Matters for America.

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