Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Wednesday, April 28, 2004  

A little dodgeball by Bush and Scott McClellan today. First, a reporter managed to get in a question to the President about his 9/11 Commission hearing tomorrow. The President was meeting with Swedish PM Goeran Persson.

Q Yes, thank you, Mr. President. What does Vice President Cheney bring to your 9/11 testimony that you couldn't provide alone? And don't you owe history and the 9/11 families a transcript or a recording?

PRESIDENT BUSH: What he's asking about is a meeting I'm going to have tomorrow morning, talking with this 9/11 Commission about -- my attitude and the attitude of the Vice President about our country, our security, what happened on that particular date, what happened leading up to that. And I look forward to the discussion. I look forward to giving the commissioners a chance to question both of us. And it's a -- it will be an ample -- it will be a good opportunity for people to help write a report that hopefully will help future Presidents deal with terrorist threats to the country.

Then it was McClellan's turn:

Q Scott, just on the 9/11 -- I'm trying to -- I'm still trying to understand the argument behind insisting that the Vice President and the President appear together, and why a transcript -- why you all feel a transcript should not be provided. And I guess I just don't understand why the President wouldn't answer that directly, when it was asked of him today. He completely dodged the question.

MR. McCLELLAN: The President is focused on helping the commission complete its important work. That's where the President's focus is. And I think I've been through --

[Some back and forth]

MR. McCLELLAN: You're talking about a transcript?

Q Well, I'm talking about transcripts and also them appearing together. Is the argument that, look, this is -- we're going to make this an informal meeting and we're going to put them together, you're not going to be able to treat them like witnesses, they're not under oath --

MR. McCLELLAN: No, let's be -- let's be very clear here. This isn't -- this isn't something where it's a game of gotcha. This is very important work that the commission is doing. And the President and the Vice President want to do everything they can to help the commission piece together all the information we've provided them access to. This is -- this is not an adversarial process. We're all working together to learn the lessons of September 11th. I can't reiterate that enough. And that's very important work.

And now, in terms of -- this is a private meeting. This is -- this is not public testimony. The two are sitting down to answer the -- any questions and whatever questions that they may have.

[Later in the press conference.]

Q Yesterday you said the President's Counsel, Al Gonzales, will be present, and you mentioned the possibility of somebody else from the legal office.

MR. McCLELLAN: That's right.

Q How many people are going to --

MR. McCLELLAN: I expect at least one other additional member of the Counsel's staff to be present. And I'll keep you posted on other people that will be present tomorrow. All those details I think are still being finalized. But Judge Gonzales will be present.

[And much later still.]

Q Is the note-taker for the White House a lawyer in the Counsel's Office? Is that person --

MR. McCLELLAN: It will be a member of the Counsel's Office that is a lawyer.

I'm not sure why I find this so endlessly fascinating. And yet I do.

posted by Jeff | 3:45 PM |
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