It’s getting hot in herre…
NBC’s David Gregory has been making a strong run at the title of Most Aggressive White House Correspondent, and apparently his peskiness has only been emboldened by Katrina’s Memo to the Media: Antagonism is SO hot right now.
ABC’s The Note offers its take on recent White House press briefings:
“The White House press corps, having valiantly tried for days, is finding that getting Scott McClellan to actually brief the nation in the public interest is no more possible on this story than on the Iraq war, the CIA leak investigation, or anything else of public concern–and they are, understandably, losing some of their zeal to try to break through. From ‘I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees’ to, well, everything else–it is clear that answers and explanations from 1600 will not be forthcoming. And that has always worked for this White House before.”
Here’s one particularly choice exchange between McClellan and Gregory:
Q Scott, does the President retain confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security?
MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, see, this is where some people want to look at the blame game issue, and finger-point. We’re focused on solving problems, and we’re doing everything we can —
Q What about the question?
MR. McCLELLAN: We’re doing everything we can in support —
Q We know all that.
MR. McCLELLAN: — of the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA.
Q Does he retain complete confidence —
MR. McCLELLAN: We’re going to continue. We appreciate the great effort that all of those at FEMA, including the head of FEMA, are doing to help the people in the region. And I’m just not going to engage in the blame game or finger-pointing that you’re trying to get me to engage.
Q Okay, but that’s not at all what I was asking.
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure it is. It’s exactly what you’re trying to play.
Q You have your same point you want to make about the blame game, which you’ve said enough now. I’m asking you a direct question, which you’re dodging.
MR. McCLELLAN: No —
Q Does the President retain complete confidence in his Director of FEMA and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just answered the question.
Q Is the answer “yes” on both?
MR. McCLELLAN: And what you’re doing is trying to engage in a game of finger-pointing.
Q There’s a lot of criticism. I’m just wondering if he still has confidence.
MR. McCLELLAN: — and blame-gaming. What we’re trying to do is solve problems, David. And that’s where we’re going to keep our focus.
Q So you’re not — you won’t answer that question directly?
MR. McCLELLAN: I did. I just did.
Q No, you didn’t. Yes or no? Does he have complete confidence or doesn’t he?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, if you want to continue to engage in finger-pointing and blame-gaming, that’s fine —
Q Scott, that’s ridiculous. I’m not engaging in any of that.
MR. McCLELLAN: It’s not ridiculous.
Q Don’t try to accuse me of that. I’m asking you a direct question and you should answer it. Does he retain complete confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?