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White House Press Secretary Clears Everything Up
Any doubts as to what the President thought he was supposed to be saying last week about what he believed he was doing two years ago should be cleared right up by this explanation.
WHITE HOUSE REGULAR NEWS BRIEFING
JUNE 13, 2005
SPEAKER: SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
QUESTION: Could we go back to the press availability with Prime Minister Blair last week?
In response to a question, the president said about the Downing Street memo, "My conversation with the prime minister was how can we do this peacefully," and then later on he said, "And so we worked hard to see if we could figure out how to do this peacefully."
How to do "this" -- that refers to regime change or just to weapons inspection?
MCCLELLAN: Well, regime change was the policy of the previous administration. Remember, that goes back to the previous administration.
QUESTION: But the policy of the previous administration was...
MCCLELLAN: How to address the threat posed by Iraq.
QUESTION: Right, but not to do it using military force at that time. The decision by this administration was to use military force.
So when talking about...
MCCLELLAN: Not at that time.
QUESTION: When talking about this in this response, is the president referring to regime change or referring to inspection of weapons?
MCCLELLAN: The threat posed by the regime in Iraq.
[So, by "do this" the President meant "the threat posed by the regime in Iraq." Perhaps McClellan meant to say "fabricate the threat posed by the regime in Iraq." It makes more sense with a verb, I think - at least for those who haven't already gone cross-eyed trying to squeeze something meaningful out of this exchange.]