Friday, June 18, 2004

Scott McClellan Doing the Bob 'n Weave

This is a sample of yesterday's White House Press Briefing. If you have the time, read the whole thing. The Rovian talking point of the day from Scotty was, "... let's look at the facts.*"

If only they would:

Q: Scott, the last poll on the subject found that most Americans, more than half, believe that Iraq had some hand in the planning and the execution of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Do you believe that the White House, the administration has done anything to contribute to that misimpression? Do you believe that you have, in any way, at any time, overstated the ties, the connections between al Qaeda and Iraq?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I said we said a long time ago that there was no evidence to suggest Saddam Hussein's regime was involved in the September 11th attacks. We made that very --

Q: After the war you said that.

Q: Overstated the relationship in any way?

MR. McCLELLAN: We made that very clear.


Q: I want to go back to Kathleen's question. Do you believe -- you're saying that the White House believes that administration officials bear no responsibility for this misperception of Iraq's role in 9/11 that polls indicate a good half of the American people have. Are you concerned about that? Two questions.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you can go back and look at the facts. And I think the American people recognize that Saddam Hussein's regime was a brutal one. It was an oppressive one. It had a history involving terrorism, and so you have to look at that and have to take that into account when perceptions are formed. There are some facts there that point to the dangers and point to reasons why people might have those views.

In terms of this administration, we laid out the facts very clearly for the American people. And it's important to look at the facts as we outlined them. And it's important to look at it in the context of post-September 11th. September 11th taught us that we must confront these threats before it is too late. September 11th taught us that we are -- or showed us that we are at war on terrorism. This was a terrible tragedy that occurred on American soil, and it taught us that we must confront threats that we face in the 21st century. That's what this President is doing. And you have to look at all the facts that are involved here. But we made it very clear that there was no evidence to suggest that regime was involved in September 11th.

My emphasis.

*The Press Briefing began at 12:47 pm and ended at 1:20 pm. In that 33 minute span Scott McClellan used some permutation of a "facts" statement 30 times.

"You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror."
- President George W. Bush, September 2002

UPDATE: Here's a more damning quote from Dick Cheney, "If we're successful in Iraq . . . then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11..."

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