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Reporters hound Scott McClellan with same question 23 times, still no answer


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Reporters hound Scott McClellan with same question 23 times, still no answer
by up2date
Wed Oct 12, 2005 at 06:22:39 PM PDT

From It Affects You

Today's press gaggle lasted 32 minutes. For Scotty, it must have felt much longer. You see, in that 32 minutes, reporters repeated essentially the same question twenty three times. For those wishing to calculate such things, that's once every 83 seconds.

Reporters wanted to know why the administration is peddling Miers' religious beliefs, and when he refused to answer, they asked again. And then they asked again. And then again. They kept this up practically from start to finish, 23 times, once every 83 seconds. They had to repeat the question 23 times, and still they received no straight answer.

That's quite pathetic, and it brings avoidance to new levels. But that's not really the interesting part, of course, because avoidance is why he's there. What's really interesting is reporters actually followed up. Rather than just letting it go, or worse dutifully reprinting the administration's talking points, they hounded him 23 times.

Below the jump read the 23 questions Scotty refused to answer:

"Scott, the President has said that religion was part of Harriet Miers' life, and the White House's outreaching has mentioned the fact that she does go to this conservative Christian church ... No such efforts were made, not to this extent, anyway, in terms of Chief Justice Roberts. No one in the White House even mentioned his religion, as best we can tell. Why is this case"
"I know, but it was never -- it never was brought up at this podium, and the President never mentioned it."
"Do you think Harriet Miers' religion is being emphasized more by this administration than Chief Justice Roberts' was?"
"what relevance does it play in a conversation between Karl Rove and James Dobson? Why would he bring it up, even?"
"Also that she's a member of a very conservative church."
"But in the context of the conversation between the President's Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor and the head of a very conservative Christian organization, it sounds like code."
"Back to Miers for a moment. When you say that Ms. Miers understands that religion has no role in the business of the Court, at the same time the President has said he knows her heart, her beliefs, her character; he talked today about people wanting to know about her life and, therefore, her religion. How are we not to interpret that her religion was one of the factors in his selection?"
"So her religion played no role in her making it to the final group and then, ultimately -- "
"All right. So there was no -- no role at all in the President's decision-making of Harriet Miers' religion?"
"Why is Karl Rove calling up religious leaders telling them it's okay, she belongs to an ultra evangelical church?"
"Wait, wait, wait. What relevance does how a person prays have to the judicial philosophy?"
"So why are you peddling it?"
"But you just said it was relevant to judicial philosophy."
"It seems that what you're doing is trying to calm a revolt on the right concerned that Harriet Miers isn't conservative enough, by saying, it's okay, she is conservative enough, because she goes to this church."
"Why is his top aide going around and telling people how she prays?"
"Scott, isn't -- the bleed-over here, though, is that if we understood the account correctly -- and it doesn't sound like you're disputing it -- that Karl was making an argument that her religious faith and her membership in the evangelical church was evidence of what her judicial philosophy -- conservative judicial philosophy would be. He was using it to buttress the question of how she would rule -- am I misunderstanding that?"
"Scott, if that's the case, then, wouldn't Karl's statement to Mr. Dobson have been, "you know, what church she belongs to is completely irrelevant to how she would serve on the Supreme Court; I'm not even going to tell you what church she went to because it doesn't have anything to do with her philosophy." Wouldn't that be the consistent statement?"
"So there was no effort, to your mind, that it was not Mr. Rove's desire here to use her church background as evidence of how she may approach cases from the bench?"
"If personal views don't have a role to play, then why would anybody from the White House talk about what church she goes to and what the beliefs are of the people in the church?"
"I'll try to ask an earlier question a bit more directly. Did Rove talk to Dobson about Miers' religious beliefs to signal in any way how he thought she would vote on an issue before the Court?"
"Okay, but part of the discussion -- you talked earlier about it -- part of the discussions was about her religious beliefs."
"Did he -- I haven't heard an answer. Did he bring that up to signal -- "
"I don't feel I have an answer. Can you just say yes or no, did he try to signal -- was he trying to signal how she might vote on any particular -- "
(Note: In the first question I edited out Scotty's interruption. Other questions seem to end abruptly - that marks the point Scotty cut them off.)

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