Sympathy For Scott?

Would you rather be Mike McCurry during the Monica Lewinsky scandal? Or Scott McClellan right now? Tough call, but here’s a great example of the daily back-and-forth taking place during the White House press briefings. (thanks to TPMCafe for flagging this)

    QUESTION: Scott, is it true that the President —
    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Welcome back.
    QUESTION: Thanks. Is it true that the President slapped Karl Rove upside the head a couple of years ago over the CIA leak?
    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Are you referring to, what, a New York Daily News report? Two things: One, we’re not commenting on an ongoing investigation; two, and I would challenge the overall accuracy of that news account.
    QUESTION: That’s a comment.
    QUESTION: Which part of it?
    QUESTION: Yes, that is.
    QUESTION: Which facts —
    SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I’m just saying — no, I’m just trying to help you all.
    QUESTION: So what facts are you challenging?
    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Again, I’m not going to comment on an ongoing investigation.
    QUESTION: You can’t say you’re challenging the facts and then not say which ones you’re challenging.
    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Yes, I can. I just did. (Laughter.)

more after the jump



    QUESTION: Scott, let me come back to — so you say you’re challenging the accuracy, but you won’t tell us why. Why would it be irresponsible for us to report that?

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Report what?

    QUESTION: What you said —

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: It’s up to you what you want to report. I’m just trying to —

    QUESTION: Well, if you want us to say it’s inaccurate, you need to give us a reason why, or it wouldn’t be responsible to report it.

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, there’s an ongoing investigation, and as you know, our policy is not to comment on it. So that’s where we are.

    QUESTION: You just did.

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Go ahead.

    QUESTION: Based on your personal knowledge, based on your opinion, based on your frustration with the story — what caused you to say that?

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I mean, I read the story and I didn’t view it as an accurate story.

    QUESTION: Why not?

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Again, I’m not going to go any further than that. There’s an ongoing investigation. This is bringing up matters related to an ongoing investigation.

    QUESTION: After you read the story, Scott, did you check with either the two people mentioned, the President or Rove, to ask them? Is that what you base —

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: I don’t have any further comment, Peter.

    QUESTION: Well, is that what you base your guidance on, or is it just — you know, is it just you’re feeling that this couldn’t have happened?

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: I stand by what I just said and I’m going to leave it at that.

    QUESTION: No, just some details on why you’re challenging the facts of this case by the briefing would be great.

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Because you asked the question.

    QUESTION: No, I think we’re all interested to know on what basis you’re challenging it.

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Like I said, I’ll be glad to talk about the investigation once it has come to a conclusion, but until that time —

    QUESTION: You’re on the record now. We expect you to really talk about it.

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: I’m on the record every day.

    QUESTION: Well, I mean, this is really — you have said you really are going to go into a deep, profiled explanation —

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I said I’d be glad to talk about it. I don’t know all the facts, Helen.

    QUESTION: Didn’t you say you were going to write a book about it? (Laughter.)

    QUESTION: I mean when it’s all over, you said you were going to give us a total explanation —

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Exclusive interview for John Roberts.

    QUESTION: A PowerPoint presentation, the whole thing. (Laughter.)

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I’m not committing to that. Welcome back. I’m glad your gloves are left back there. (Laughter.)

    QUESTION: Was that particular story part of what you shared with the President today from highlights of the news?

    SCOTT McCLELLAN: Again, you have my comment on it and I’ll leave it there.