Saturday, December 17, 2005

Future Bush Script: Media & McClellan



Liberalmedia:
Scott, the President has been in office for five years, but he never says he's sorry. Why won't he apologize? Or admit error? Why not one sincere, "sorry?" Even David Brooks, the conservative, told me he thought a Presidential apology was fair when I saw him at a cocktail party. I'd like a follow up. Just one, please.

Scott McClellan:
This President believes in accountability. He says what he means and he means what he say. Standing firm. Shoulder to shoulder. Never again. NineEleven. The mistake that occurred - er ah, the one I believe you are alluding to - when that mountain girl, Ms. England, was caught being mean to some evildoers, has already been dealt with by court martial. Does that satisfy you?

Liberalmedia:
Yes. Thanks Scott. Oh, about the Iraqi elections...

Scott McClellan:
Make it quick.


Liberalmedia:
Does Moktada al-Sadr support a woman's right to choose?

Scott McClellan:
I'll have to get back to you on that one. Next question?

Liberalmedia:
Thanks Scott. Sorry to be so pushy.


Les:
Tony Blair is a socialist. He's basically admitted as much. You do know that Scott, don't you? With that in mind, what...


Scott McClellan:
Les, I fail to see where you are ...

Les:
Let me finish Scott, Mao didn't celebrate Christmas. You know that Scott. The ChiComs don't even celebrate Santa, much less real Christmas. Don't dodge Scott. Don't dodge Scott. You know it's true. You know it's true. What does the President, on whose behalf you presume to speak, think about thems apples?

Scott McClellan:
The President is not Chinese, Les. Trust me, I anticipated that one.

Mainstreammedia:
Trust Scott??? You told all of us that Rove and Libby had nothing to do with the Plame leak. Now we know that was wrong. We know you were wrong! How can we trust you anymore?

Scott McClellan:
Ongoing investigation. President wants to get to the bottom. Ongoing investigation. NineEleven. Ongoing investigation. I told you we have trust. Look at the transcript. The transcript says we have trust. Does that answer your question?


Mainstreammedia:
Yes. Thanks Scott. Sorry to be so pointed. Didn't mean to imply anything. You have trust. It's in my editors notes and it's in your personality profile.


Helen:
Scott, everything you say is wrong. Everything you say is the opposite of the truth. Why?

Scott McClellan:
Helen, you can disagree with fighting terrorism. If you wish to take the side of the evildoers, that's your right. We can disagree, but you must trust us to tell you the truth about America's policies, even if you wish to take the other side.

Helen:
How can I or any of us trust you Scott? How? Everything you say is wrong. You...

Scott McClellan:
Helen, please. No one doubts us on trust. Sorry to cut you off, but you have to trust me. Trust is part of the Mainstreammedia's consensus view of me. Go check Mainstream's notes. Go check them. Before you ask another question, keep in mind, we have soldiers in harm's way.

Mainstreammedia:
Sorry to be so rough Scott. Happy Holidays.

Scott McClellan:
Thanks, oh ah..wait.. uh...holidays? Uh... Mainstream. Not uhhh sure, ahh if that's uhh. Look, let's just take it slow, ahh - hafta get back to you on that. The President, uhhh...ahh...uhhh, wants all Americans..uhh...

Les:
Ha! You're afraid to disagree Scott. What ever happened to Merry Christmas? Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Scott McClellan:
Les, you had your say. Come on everyone. Let's just slow down a bit. This press event must come to a close now. Harm's way. Soldiers. NineEleven. Trust. NineEleven. Ongoing. NineEleven.Thanks.



Scott McClellan leaves the podium. He is sweating from the grilling he just endured. The hands of a free press are hot hands indeed. In his worst nightmares, he never anticipated such a hostile media environment. Sometimes he wonders if it was all worth it. But the day is not over. Now he has to debrief the President. He whispers a modest prayer to himself, hoping the President is in a good mood. Did the President see the grilling? On the one hand he hopes he did. On the other hand, he is not sure. Much depends on the President's mood.

As he walks into the Oval Office, Scott notices the President is lying on the floor with his favorite pillow near the fireplace. He is playing the Strat-O-Matic baseball boardgame with Barney, his dog. At first the President does not notice Scott, so he continues chatting with Barney. The President calls these chats barkversations. Barney barks, then the President barks back. Both seem to understand and respect each other on a very deep level . Scott envies the level of communication Barney has with the President. Sometimes Scott thinks to himself that Barney should be the Press Secretary, if that would help to communicate the President's vital message during this time of terror. Barney is the President's best friend. Scott's just staff. Valued staff indeed, but staff nonetheless.



Scott McClellan:
Mr. President, I just briefed the press. I want to review...


President Bush:
Briefed the press? Where? In the Gulf of Mexico? What's that smell? Ew, Scott The Stinkbomb. Did you soil yourself? You smell like Hell.


Scott McClellan:
Uhhhh.....ahhhhh......

President Bush:

No excuses Scott. Never let 'em see you sweat or smell your smell. Next time just take some salt tablets and beta blockers. Maybe some B12 too. Might be a good idea to wear "Depends" adult diapers for briefs too, especially if you expect to de-brief me afterwards. When I said I want "the poop," I meant I want the news of the day. I do not want the actual poop in your pants. Anyway, that was one tough grilling you got. Helen was viscous. Viscous. Viscous. Vicious. Abu Grillen', almost.

Scott McClellan:
Uh...ah..Yes, it appears Helen does not trust you. I'm sorry sir.

President Bush:
Nice try Scott. Don't shift blame. I saw the exchange. Helen never mentioned me. She did mention you. A couple of times she said you were wrong. She asked whether or not you can be trusted. She did not mention me once. Personally, I get along with Helen. Leave me out of your dust up. I have enough to worry about without getting involved with one of your little spats with reporters - this pesky press stuff.

Scott McClellan:
Sorry sir. Accountability. My fault. Standards.

President Bush:
Those media jackals went after you just like Barney goes after a buried bone. Sometimes when Barney's asleep, I move the buried bone, just for a friendly tease. Barney starts looking for the bone again in the morning at the old spot, because some of the bone scent remains. Eventually Barney realizes that the bone is not there, but only after he makes a funny waste of valuable potential dogbone-time. I feel a little guilty, but I always apologize to Barney. He forgives me. Scott, word to the wise, think of yourself as a human dogbone, a Scottbone, who can hide himself anew after each press conference. Maybe Reburiedscottbone should be your new nickname. We'll see. Has a ring to it. Maybe I'll adjust it. Maybe I'll shorten it. So long as it illustrates my Scottbone reburial theory. Tomorrow morning, the press dogs will start digging for you again, in all your Scottbone-osity, in all those old Scottbone burial locations. Make sure to move the Scottbone, but leave some Scottbone-scent for trick bait. By the time those press dog reporters realize the Scottbone went missing, the news-cycle will have changed.

Scott McClellan:
Excellent advice, Mr. President.

President Bush:
I see they singled you out for some grief on the Holiday/Christmas issue too. That's just wrong. These so-called liberals are not very tolerant, huh? No manners. Sorry to see them put you in that position.

Scott McClellan:
Uh, no problem sir. Politics.

President Bush:
Taking one for the team? Good for you. If you had a jib, I'd like the cut of it.

Scott McClellan:
Thank you sir. Much appreciated. I replied to ...

President Bush:
Scotso, you know this "War on Christmas" stuff is not exactly my bag. I don't really see it. Really. You don't see me pushing it, do you? If some wanna play that tune, maybe that's ok, but not me. Maybe Karl wants it to fester a bit - breed some anxiety stink for later on? Me? Bambozzzle !!! I already got lots of wars going on. I'm not prejudiced either Scott. No siree, not a bit. I think I've been pretty inclusive. You catch?

Scott McClellan:
Yes sir. Might be a distraction sir.

President Bush:
Ha, you catch my drift and I catch yours. Catch as catch can. Right Ho, Paleepoo! Incidentally Scotty, not to toot my own horn, but I think you'll have to agree, I've been very inclusive. I've been a pretty good friend to Israel too. Some say better than my Dad. Agree?

Scott McClellan:
Uhhh, I guess, I er ah, Agree? Yes. Nothing against your Dad, sir. Not sure what ...

President Bush:
Thanks Scott. I'll let you go and wash up. You've had a tough day and all. I'm no Bush to beat around the bush. Look, I just want to wish you and your whole family a happy Hanukkah. Think of me and Laura when you light those candles. If you have a Hanukkah bush, think of this Bush. Right buddy?

Scott McClellan:
Um...ahh.. um...ahh...Hanukkah?

President Bush:
Something wrong Scotso? Any prejudice 'bout your heritage? Any problem, you just come and tell me. Don't believe anyone in the eliteliberalmedia who thinks I'm prejudiced. You know that ain't so.Is he the right man for the job? Is she the right woman for the job? Do they serve my interests as well as I serve America's interests? Do they serve my interests as well as I serve the interests of the world? That's all I ask. Ask Colin. Ask Karen. Ask Condi. Ask Norm. Ask Alberto. Ask all the others. Look, I'm proud to have you work here, playing pin cushion for the press and all that. I tell everyone. Same went for Ari. Incidentally, Ari was good. Sometimes he even stuck them back. Ari's a good man. He's a better man than Paul O'Neil; that's for sure. Ari knew when to speak and now, dammit, he knows when to keep his trap shut, on key issues.

Scott McClellan:
Um...ahh..oh...um...ahh..Mr. President...um.. ahh

President Bush:
Don't be defensive. Gotta demand 'spect Scotso? Don't let them make you feel self-conscious? Be proud of who you are and you do. By your fruits and stuff. Think about it: God's chosen people, God's chosen President, President's chosen Press Secretary. Do the math, for Chrissakes! It all adds up in your favor, right? Kemosabe kemotherapy! Be firm! Be solid! Be Texas! Happy Hanukkah!

Scott McClellan:
Um...ahh,..oh..I'm not..ahh,um..ah..umm, Mr. President, thanks, but I'm, ah.. not,..ahh..um.ahh

President Bush:
Don't be defensive. Just relax. If you can't chill around me, where can you chill? You're among friends. Go and wash up Scott. Get ready to hide that Scottbone of yours anew. Tomorrow's a new day.

Scott McClellan:
Thank you sir, but I'm not, ahh, uh,..(gulp)...uhh.ahh,..I'm actually not, ah.. uh, oh..Thanks..ah..oh.hmm..uh.I'll have to,..uh... talk to you tomorrow. Clarify some stuff.

President Bush:
Hey Scott, (The President stands to face Scott and raises his glass of chocolate milk with its bits of floating graham cracker high above his head, in a toast.) ... L'Chaim !!!! (After bellowing this to Scott, the President chugs downs the whole chocolate milk-graham cracker mix, then he turns around and smashes the empty milk glass into the Oval Office fireplace.)

Scott McClellan:
Huh?

President Bush:
Consider yourself bucked up! (The President smiles and Barney barks in assent. Drops of chocolate milk cluster in the corners of the President's mouth, while crums of graham cracker pepper his left shoulder.) Scotso, you did ok. You're gonna be okay. Go on home now, rest and wash up. Now I gotta wash up before the First Lady gets back. (The President straightens up into a severe mock-soldierly posture, then he gives Scott a paternalistic wink.) I'll See Ya' Later, Escalator!

37 Comments:

At 7:35 AM, Blogger enigma4ever said...

too funny...you should send in to John Stewart...We need a laugh at this point...things are out of balance

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Richard said...

Ha! What enigma just said.

Keep 'em comin'. We do need a laugh. Otherwise we'd all be weeping, most of [if not all]the time.

As the old saying goes: Smile, and the world smiles with you; Weep, and you weep alone.

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger Renegade Eye said...

The press conference was missing the ACLU and Hollywood elite, in attendance.

 
At 4:26 PM, Blogger Alicia said...

GI, my hat is off to you! Mighty fine, son, mighty fine. Keep up the hilarity - like Richard said, if I didn't laugh, I'd be curled up in a fetal ball, bawling. All the g-d time.

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger Kate said...

LOL! I agree, this could def. be on Jon Stewart. :-)

 
At 11:09 PM, Blogger Bebe said...

That was well done. I will visit again.

 
At 11:44 PM, Blogger enigma4ever said...

I am having a bad week, I have been back twice this week, just to laugh, so thank you so much....stop by http://watergatesummer.blogspot.com/,
new post- short-
The Enemy Within......

 
At 11:55 PM, Blogger Global Paradigms said...

Hi, Guys:

Thanks for your kind comments and advice. The press conference was great!

Leon

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger Eric2 said...

Jeez, that was funny. I wish someone would bury the "scottbone."

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger Stacy said...

omg- too funny! I love the part with Helen Thomas- the thing is, if you look at how Scotty really talks to her, its pretty much the same as you've depicted it here!

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Tara said...

You know I read this post yesterday and forgot to comment until I saw your comment on mine...ooops...thanks for the reminder.

Wonderful piece. Quite humorous and well put :)

 
At 6:44 PM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Love this...

What is scary is exactly that the President says what he means, and means what he says...This is why I worry about our country so much!

 
At 9:15 AM, Blogger echrai said...

I have only one comment. Happy holidays! Not merry christmas damnit, happy freaking terrorist holidays!

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger D.F. Facti said...

Yes. If one asks a question, one is siding with the terrorists.

Santa should bring Scottie a carload of coal.

 
At 4:24 PM, Blogger Dem Soldier said...

ahhhhhh Just classic.....U did it again......Liberal-media my arse.......Where's the liberal media?

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Newsguy said...

looked like a a real Scotty press conference. Which is always good for a big laff. Stephanie Miller calls him "Puffy McMoon Face.

Funny stuff. I'll be back.

 
At 12:12 PM, Blogger enigma4ever said...

e3e hhere, YES, you skit had me REALLY laughing, I laughed just as hard as at you skit as I did at John Stewart that night...and my son said you have Monty Python Potential.....you can not get a higher compliment ( well from a 14 yr old!!!) Keep it up....

 
At 4:48 PM, Blogger Tina said...

Now we know how dear Scotty has packed on those pounds in the last yr... matzah ball soup and chugging the Manischevitz.

 
At 7:39 PM, Blogger Gothamimage said...

Thanks all for the kind words - one slight point of departure, on our part, from Dem Soldier though. There is a Liberalmedia, but it is basically ineffectual, underwhelming, self-centered, defensive, and lacking in a coherent world view. So we tried to illustrate that right off the bat. They are, in many cases, beside the point - they and their adversaries only see them as giants. Besides, they work for coporations, which are owned by shareholders and the shareholders are, by and large, large insitutional investors, like mutual funds and insurance companies. When it comes time to check the balance sheet, they soon learn who the boss is. They no more control the media than professional athletes control the teams and leagues in which they work. The only difference is that pro athletes are more easily graded and don't delude themselves into thinking they run things, even if some fans and fans of rival teams sometimes act as if they do. People who are media watch dogs, whether on the left or right, are often like face painting fans. Meanwhile Dubya and his pals are in the skybox, noshing and laughing at everyone. Sometimes it seems, all of us on the outside, on all sides of the spectrum, are at the mercy of the scalpers, even if sometimes seems like we got the ticket.

 
At 12:20 AM, Blogger Dem Soldier said...

Keep it up.......Happy Holidays to U and yours.

 
At 9:47 PM, Blogger Unadulterated Underdog said...

Merry Christmas GothamImage!

 
At 8:11 AM, Blogger mikevotes said...

Pretty funny. I'm a bit of a McClellan junkie. I just love it when the press puts a stick in him like a pin a bug and he twists this way and that trying to find a way off.

Sorry, That's not a real "Christmas day" kinda simile, but I just woke up to a dog getting sick all over the place so it's gonna take a little work to get back to Christmas..

And I gotta say, the DoD vietnam "news" chart on Dec. 1 is brilliant. Brilliant.

From your posting frequency looks like I need to check you about once a week.

I'll come back.

Mike

 
At 11:40 AM, Blogger Blogenfreude said...

you sound like a Rejectionist to me ... I'm sending the NSA right over ...

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger enigma4ever said...

came back for a laugh..and yes you are LOL good, Monty Python good..John Stewart good...and about the Scotty Session above- the sad thing is - about 50% of this could easily be TRUE ....have a merry christmas...Blogatopia is lucky to have you...

 
At 5:09 PM, Blogger Blogenfreude said...

BTW - the tags you asked about over at my site are best explained at http://technorati.com ... sort of a way of letting a bit o' the blogosphere know you're alive. Merry Everything - b-freude

 
At 4:36 AM, Blogger Alice said...

Satire, but only just

 
At 1:24 PM, Blogger Comandante Agí said...

Poor Scottie. He doesn't come close to the lie-ability that was Ari Fleischer.

 
At 8:34 AM, Blogger Robot Buddha said...

I see Andy Richter--no--I got it! Philip Seymore Hoffman!!!!!!!! as Scottie. Genius casting. I thank you in advance.

 
At 7:56 PM, Blogger Lizzy said...

Better late than never. Thanks Gotham!

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger Gothamimage said...

Just came accross this article, which seems relevant, since it was printed 'bout a week after we posted on Scott. Some of this supports our characterization. Here some excepts.
--------------------------
Unanswer Man
Scott McClellan Is the President's Spokesman, Which Doesn't Leave Him Much to Say
By Mark Leibovich
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 22, 2005; C01

On the Thursday morning after his reelection in November 2004, President Bush bounded unexpectedly into the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where about 15 members of his communications team were celebrating. He just wanted to thank everyone for their hard work on the campaign, he said, before singling someone out.

"Is Scotty here? Where's Scotty?" Bush asked, half-grinning, according to two people who were in the meeting but asked not to be quoted by name because they were discussing a private event. Bush scanned the room for Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary.

"I want to especially thank Scotty," the president said, looking at his aide. "I want to thank Scotty for saying" -- and he paused for effect. . . .

" Nothing ."

At which point everyone laughed and the president left the room.
---------
Note: The Media is laughing at, not with, themselves. Notice how that let Bush mock them. Below, notice the rationalizion. He blames, not the reporters, but in so many words, the overall decline of the Republic into an Empire. Yet, he obscures the truth by saying "evolve," instead of decline. Thus, he indicates he is either ignorant of the Const. (unlikely), or he has been co-opted into decline (more likely)
--------------------

This is one of those quips that distill a certain essence of the game. In this era of on-message orthodoxy, the republic has evolved to where the leader of the free world can praise his most visible spokesman for saying nothing.

Those were considerably less embattled days for the Bush administration, which has since endured a difficult year.
----- Cut-----
The press secretary delivers an administration's daily boilerplate and also serves as a storm wall, or "human piñata" in the words of Ari Fleischer, whom McClellan succeeded on July 15, 2003, the day after Robert Novak outed CIA analyst Valerie Plame in a column.

"It may not look like it," McClellan, 37, said from the podium after an especially tough week recently. "But there's a little flesh that's been taken out of me the last few days."
---Cut---
Last Friday reporters battered McClellan over a New York Times report that the president had authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without warrants on people in the United States. Over several minutes, McClellan emphasized that:

The president is doing all he can to protect the American people from terrorists (10 times);

The administration is committed to protecting civil liberties and upholding the Constitution (seven times);

Congress has an important oversight role, and the administration is committed to working with it on these difficult matters (five times); and

He would not discuss ongoing intelligence activities (five times).

-----cut------

"I would urge you not to confuse clarity with rigidity," says Nicolle Wallace, the White House communications director, who works closely with McClellan. "There is great clarity in the way the president wants us to communicate, and Scott embodies that."

When briefings get tense, McClellan's voice can become robotic, as if he's a hostage reading a statement. His body language can betray unease: He starts blinking rapidly and he clenches his shoulders as an interrogator unfurls a question.
-----cut ----

Colleagues (on-message) say McClellan has held up well in these difficult months. Others (off-message) say he's had a tough time, has lost hair, gained jowls and looks stressed, especially over the Plame case, which made a return to the briefing room Thursday after an absence of a few weeks.

It started when the president told Fox News's Brit Hume last week that he believed that Rep. Tom DeLay was not guilty of money-laundering charges in Texas. This undercut McClellan's vow that he would not comment on the Plame matter because it is an "ongoing investigation," something he has repeated hundreds of times in recent months. We join Thursday's episode in progress:

Reporter: "Why would that not apply to the same type of prosecution involving Congressman DeLay?"

McClellan: "I just told you we had a policy in place regarding this investigation, and you've heard me say before that we're not going to talk about it further while it's ongoing."

In a flurry of follow-ups, McClellan repeated that the White House had a policy on the Plame case (four times) and that the policy was not to comment (three times).

NBC's David Gregory broke in, declaring the administration to be "inconsistent," then "hypocritical."

"You have a policy for some investigations and not others, when it's a political ally who you need to get work done?" Gregory asked.

McClellan: "Call it presidential prerogative; he responded to that question. But the White House established a policy." He mentioned that the DeLay case is a "legal proceeding."

Gregory: "As is the Fitzgerald investigation. . . . As you've told us ad nauseam from the podium."

After more back-and-forth, McClellan said, "You can get all dramatic about it, but you know what our policy is."

Which ended that exchange.

"We've come to understand that no matter how we slice and dice something, Scott's going to stick to the recipe," says Ken Herman, White House correspondent for Cox News Service. "I can't think of any topic where on the sixth or seventh iteration of a question we get something different from the original answer. By somebody's measure, that's the definition of doing the job well. Certainly not ours."

As with most people who do regular televised battle with McClellan, Herman says McClellan is a nice guy, polite and friendly off-camera. "He seems to have the right temperament to be a punching bag," Herman says.

"Who knows, maybe he goes home at night and kicks his dog?"

The Thing

It should surprise no one that McClellan is an unexpansive interview subject. He toggles on and off the record, although the latter offerings are only slightly more revealing than the former.
----
Note: Imagine sommeone you know in real life thinking and talking this way below. Almost entirely falsehood and cliche. Impossible?
---------

Over lunch at the Occidental at the Willard Hotel, McClellan says that he is "honored" to serve George W. Bush, that he will "vigorously defend the president and his agenda," that "Washington can be an all-consuming town if you allow it to be," that there are "a lot of bright people working in the White House," that he has "great trust in the American people to make the right judgments" and that he's merely "part of a team."

And that: "It's a good team."

And that: "At the end of the day, this is about the president and his agenda."

The maitre d' addresses McClellan as "Mr. Secretary," which means he is either mistaking him for a Cabinet member or believes this is the appropriate way to address a press secretary.

"Sometimes the nature of this job will put you in a tough spot," McClellan says. He is speaking about the Plame investigation, which has been a source of great strain, according to people he has confided in privately, including several reporters.

He has anguished that his credibility has been harmed by his statements in 2003 that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby "have assured me they were not involved in this," this being the outing of Plame as a covert CIA agent.

Today Libby is under indictment, Rove's involvement has become apparent and McClellan's public statements haunt him. "His credibility is shot," the San Francisco Chronicle said in an editorial calling for McClellan's resignation.

Over lunch, McClellan will refer to the leak investigation as "the thing I can't talk about," "the thing that's put me in a tough spot," "the investigation" and simply "it." You can see McClellan's spine stiffen when the case is raised, his normally fast speaking style slowing to a grind.

He says, repeatedly, that he would like to say more about the investigation, and in time he will, "hopefully sooner rather than later."

Asked if he's spoken to Rove about Rove's assurances that he was not involved, McClellan says: "That's asking me to talk about it and I'm not gonna do it."

Asked if he was wrong in a 2003 briefing to characterize suggestions that Rove and Libby were involved as "ridiculous," McClellan says: "That's not something I can get into."

Asked why he himself has not hired a lawyer, McClellan says: "I'm not going to talk about it."

In the course of researching this story, the following Scotty fun facts were extracted:

McClellan's wife, the former Jill Martinez, volunteers part time in the White House. They were married in November 2003, live in Arlington, have no kids, no iPods, two cars, two dogs and three cats -- all of them rescued strays and none of which McClellan has ever kicked.

McClellan, a Methodist, is reading Rick Warren's bestseller, "The Purpose-Driven Life."

He was a varsity tennis player at the University of Texas, often wakes -- at 5 a.m. -- to a BBC radio broadcast, then switches to NPR, then alternates between news radio and country music for the 15-minute commute to work in his Chevy Tahoe.

From the podium, McClellan will often bring up his "close relationship" with the reporters who cover the White House. He keeps talking about the "trust" he's established and how they know each other "very well."

"I think this is an example of Scott talking in code," Gregory says.

Saying that Rove and Libby "assured me they were not involved" is different from saying "Rove and Libby were not involved," says Fitzwater. "Assured me" is a classic construction among spokesmen, he says.

"That's a signal that most press members can get. The press secretary vouches for the president every day. He does not vouch for the staff."
----cut-----

[White House] has diminished the daily briefing to a playacting spectacle in which he recites lines while reporters play the part of exasperated inquisitors.

"He's a hostage to the message they put out," says Julie Mason, the White House reporter for the Houston Chronicle.

"The fate of a press secretary is always tied to events," says Mary Matalin, a White House adviser. "They're not good or bad on their own. By definition they are constrained to what the message is. It's such a limited lane, you can't strut your stuff there. But in such a limited lane, Scott is perfect."

McClellan was cautious from an early age. His mother, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, was a three-term mayor of Austin whose youngest son "went from diapers to shaving working on my campaigns," she says. As free-speaking as her son is tight-lipped, Strayhorn instilled in her four boys a sense that their transgressions could easily become public. "I remember my mom saying to me that what your friends do is one thing, but what you do could be on the front page of the paper," McClellan says.

Strayhorn says that her son required stitches many times as a child -- tree-climbing accidents, falls onto concrete and whatnot. And not once did she see him cry.

"I think he had eight stitch jobs before 2," Strayhorn says. "In this day and age, they'd probably call me an abusive mom," she continues, adding -- for the record -- that she is "not an abusive mom."

Strayhorn, now the Texas comptroller and a candidate for governor, describes her son as "one of the most focused people on Earth" and tells this story: McClellan once returned home after playing tennis and started telling her about his match when a fuse blew and the house went dark. But he kept talking, on-message, as if nothing had happened. "We were like, 'Uh, Scott, haven't you noticed that every light in the house just went off?' "
-----
Note: The Karen Hughes angle. Hughes favors banality and cliche, judging by her books and statements.
-----
After graduating from UT, McClellan immersed himself in the family realm, Texas politics. (His brother Mark McClellan also works in the Bush administration, as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.) He ran three of his mother's campaigns for statewide office. Karen Hughes, who was communications director for Bush when he was governor, took notice of McClellan and made him a deputy communications director. He would eventually go to work as the traveling press secretary for Bush's presidential campaign in 2000.

McClellan's parents divorced when Scott was 10. His father, Barr McClellan -- who now resides in Buffalo and whom Scott says he speaks to infrequently -- published a book in 2003 claiming that Lyndon Johnson was behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

"I'm wondering if you agree with your father," McClellan was asked during one briefing in 2003.

"Thank you for the opportunity," McClellan replied. "But I'm not going to have any comment on it. Thanks."

As McClellan is leaving the Occidental, the maitre d' urges "Mr. Secretary" to tell "Mr. Bush" that he's doing a great job. Bush is in Minneapolis on this day, and McClellan is heading back to his office, assuring the reporter he just ate with that he said more than he usually does. It's not clear what exactly.

"I think I talked about how badly I wanted to talk about it," McClellan says by phone a few days later, referring to the thing he can't talk about.© 2005 The Washington Post Company

 
At 9:00 PM, Blogger Gothamimage said...

Note this one quote from above, from Nicole Wallace, the WH Comm. Director:

"I would urge you not to confuse clarity with rigidity,There is great clarity in the way the president wants us to communicate, and Scott embodies that."
----

I just think it's worth dwelling on that comment, since she seems sincere. Many people think Scott is bad, but it could be that Scott is good, because he is bad, accoring to most people. In the same way, the President was not lying last year when he said his intelligence was good. He just defines good intelligence differently than you. He likes his facts to be wrong, so long as they have footnotes, to deflect blame. Whereas most poeple want their facts to be right, their intelligence to accurate, regardless of sources, since they are not worried about breaking laws and going to war illegally.
--

Also -it's worth noting the Karen Hughes angle - Hughes speaks (and thinks?) entirely in cliche and falsehood. Yet, it works. That's what is so sad.

 
At 9:04 PM, Blogger Gothamimage said...

Isn't it ironic that this is what happens when we are governed by elitists and snobs?

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Rick said...

You're right. Thanks for turning me onto it. I like your site and am adding a link at http://jesuswasaliberal.blogspot.com Peace.

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger Gothamimage said...

Here's an excerpt from Scotso's 1-3-06, Press briefing.

It's interesting because McClellan speaks effortless, the material below. Yet, almost everything he says is wrong, beginning with his denial of playing lawyer, since he has been making pronouncements of a legal nature, with an unqualified confidence, for a good portion of his briefing.

Also, he implies that we should have the same rules of operating as Qaeda. Not only that, but he gets Qaeda wrong. The one thing Qaeda does, the we know for sure, is announce all its plans, long in advance, in a series of relgious declamations. Then they recorde their demented activities.

Interesting, though, that McClellan without any irony detectable, suggests that the press should not report on what many Americans regard as illegal activity, because Qaeda does not do likewise.

There is no way, Republicans would put up with this with Clinton. That's why you suspect, correctly, that they are not sincere when they defend Bush on principle.

There is much else in this except, but you can see.
------
1-3-06
Q Scott, you said that the President will continue to do everything within his lawful power. What does the President view is the extent or the limit to that lawful power? I mean, for example, would he consider it within his lawful power --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not going to try to play lawyer from this podium. I think --

Q Neither am I.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- I'll leave it to the legal experts to talk about that. But the President is committed to doing everything within our Constitution and our laws to prevent attacks from happening and save lives. That's what he has made very clear, and he will continue to do that. We are fortunate that we have not been attacked again since September 11th here at home. We know that the enemy wants to strike us again. And that's why we must continue to stay on the offensive abroad; that's why we must continue to seek to gather important intelligence so that we can connect the dots and disrupt their efforts. And that's what we have done, and that's what we will continue to do.

It's because of the actions of our law enforcement and intelligence community, because of the tools we have in place, that we are stopping them from attacking us again. And we must continue to act. We know that they changed tactics. They are sophisticated, they're deadly. When they see our play book on page one, we know that they take that into account and they adapt and change, and we must be mindful of that. When our intelligence activities are talked about openly and publicly, particularly in a time of war, it is harmful to our nation's security. You don't see al Qaeda talking about their tactics and activities in public.

 
At 9:19 PM, Blogger B. Muse said...

Hilarious! I enjoyed the laugh. I do think you make Dubya sound just a bit too smart, though. I look forward to checking back.

 
At 2:01 AM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

we have been nuked. come see the ground-0

Sincerely,
The Staff of the Ignoble Experiment

 
At 4:30 PM, Blogger Bradley Egel said...

Gotham -

This is outstanding...

I love the Helen Thomas and Les lines...lol

so perfect!

Absolutely outstanding!


Bradley
The Egel Nest

 

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