Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Q Are you satisfied with Senator Kerry's explanation that he would have voted
for the war?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll tell you, I think it is an intriguing
new nuance. First, the Senator voted for the war in Iraq. Then during the
Democratic primary, he switches positions and declares he is the anti-war
candidate. Then, just yesterday, with less than 90 days to go before the
election, the Senator now says -- or now agrees it was the right decision to go
So, you know, I think we appreciate him finally clearing
things up with less than 90 days before the election to go. This is after all
this time, and after months of questioning the President's motives, the Senator
now agrees with the President that knowing what we know now, it was right to go
into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein's regime from power -- even though we
haven't found the stockpiles of weapons that we all believed were there.
Q That's not what he said. He said he would have voted to give the
President the authority.
MR. McCLELLAN: He said, I'll answer the
President's question directly: yes. And so now he has finally come up and
cleared things up with a new nuance, with less than 90 days to go before the
election and he now agrees that it was the right decision to go into Iraq.
Q That's not what he said, though.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, knowing
what we know now, that it was the right decision to go into Iraq.
What he said be damned -- this is how I'm spinning it. Write it down. Thanks.
Of course, his diddy on Goss is just as interesting.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, make hay in what sense? I think Chairman Goss is someone
who enjoys broad bipartisan respect. He is someone who enjoys respect on both
sides of the aisle, and I think that his nomination will be warmly received by
bipartisan leaders in Congress.
Q Well, the 9/11 report, though, said
that congressional oversight was dysfunctional. He's been responsible for
congressional oversight for a considerable period of time. I mean, won't that be
a problem for him?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, he is someone -- like I said --
like the President said, he is someone that is a reformer and someone who has
been dedicated to positive change within the intelligence community. He's
someone who is committed to expanding our human intelligence capacity. He's
someone committed to investing in the kinds of technologies we need to stay
ahead of the terrorists and continue to -- so we can continue to defeat them and
disrupt their plans.
So I think he is someone that has the kind of
experience and expertise needed to do an outstanding job in this position, and
so does the President.
Q Jay Rockefeller had already raised some
questions about him earlier, before this happened. Do you think that's going to
be a problem?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think, as I said, he's someone who has
broad bipartisan respect and is someone who brings unique and broad experience
to the position. And so we expect he will be well-received within Congress.
Bipartisan in that "fuck everyone who disagrees with me" way.