The Lady Speaks

Today’s WH Press Briefing

A couple reporters called “bullshit” – though in ways ever so polite. Helen Thomas of the AP got in a couple good shots.

Q On Iran — well, they were follow-up, the other was follow-up — when will the U.S. give up on diplomacy on Iran, and what other options are there? Are these threats to be —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think I just touched on it. Iran needs to abide by the agreements that it has made and needs to fully comply with its international obligations. The actions and statements that the regime is making only serve to further isolate the regime in Iran from the rest of the international community. We have serious concerns about their pursuit of nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear program. They have a long history of concealment and a long history of failing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency. And Secretary Rice talked earlier today about this very matter, as well, and she made it clear that if it becomes clear the negotiations have run their course, then we have the votes at the International Atomic Energy Agency to go to the Security Council, to refer the matter to the Security Council. There is a resolution that is sitting there, and the votes are there to refer the matter.

Remember, the last meeting they had, they called on Iran again to come back to negotiations and act in good faith. We continue to support the efforts of the European-3 to resolve this diplomatically, but Iran’s most recent actions and statements only show that they are continuing to pursue a course that isolates it from the rest of the world.

This is a matter of trust. They have shown in the past they cannot be trusted, and that’s why these negotiations are so important.

Q You said that threats need to be confronted. If Iran doesn’t listen to the Security Council, what options are left?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President has talked about this in the past, and we’ve talked about it in the past. We continue to support the efforts of the European-3 to resolve this in a diplomatic way. But if the negotiations come to an end and it becomes clear, then the Security Council is something that the international community is prepared to refer the matter to.

Q Scott, some of what you’re saying sounds an awful lot like the preamble to Iraq.


Q So how long do they have?


Q (Helen Thomas-AP) Does the President think that 120 people dying in Iraq, after we’re nearly three years into this war, is tolerable?

MR. McCLELLAN: The Iraqi people, Helen, have shown time and time again that they want to live in freedom. I think it’s important to look at what took place in December. There are terrorists and Saddam loyalists —

Q Why are we there? Why are we killing people there?

MR. McCLELLAN: — there are terrorists and Saddam loyalists — because we’re transforming the Middle East, and that will help us lay the foundations of peace for generations to come.

Q — didn’t ask you to do that, their country.

MR. McCLELLAN: We were attacked on September 11th and —

Q We were not attacked by Iraqis.

MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t think we ever said we were. But what we learned on that day was that this is not a law enforcement war we’re engaged in. This is a war about the safety and security of the American people. It’s not a law enforcement matter. It’s a war. We are a nation at war. And this is a comprehensive effort that we’re taking. We’re not ignoring threats. We are confronting threats before it’s too late. And that’s what this President will —

Q You had none from Iraq.

MR. McCLELLAN: — that’s what this President will continue to do because he knows his most important responsibility is protecting the American people. And spreading democracy in the broader Middle East is vital to our own nation’s —

Q Don’t do it by attacking an innocent country.

MR. McCLELLAN: — vital to our own nation’s security. And the Iraqi people have shown they are deeply appreciative of the efforts that we have undertaken to remove a regime that was a threat and a destabilizing force in a dangerous region of the world. And we are going to change a troubled region for the better, and it will help lay the foundations of peace for generations to come.


This is one of those “repeat the same words over and over in different ways to cover the fact that you’re saying nothing of substance” quotes of Scotty’s:

Q Scott, you said some of the members of the Cabinet Hall of Fame who met with the President this morning had suggestions on how to go forward. Did any of them challenge the President or have any questions about the wisdom of the overall strategy to date?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think there’s a common commitment within that room to succeed in Iraq. Everybody in that room understands the importance of succeeding. And I think everybody in that room would say the same publicly. It’s important that we succeed in Iraq. Sure, there are differences of opinions. The President talked about that in his remarks. There were some that didn’t support the decision that he made to go into Iraq. Presidents have to make tough decisions and he’s fully aware of the decisions that he makes and the consequences of those decisions —


January 5, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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