Wednesday, March 21, 2007

On Attorneys, Tony Snow Sounds... Exasperated

The White House press briefing transcript from today is brutal. The lowlight:

MR. SNOW: The answer is if they issue -- yes, if they issue subpoenas, the offer is withdrawn, because it means that they will not have responded to the offer, they will have rejected the offer.

Q Okay. So, basically, if they issue subpoenas there will be no interviews, they can't --

MR. SNOW: I'm just telling you that the moment subpoenas are issued it means that they have rejected the offer...

Q Did the President specifically authorize you to say that the offer would be withdrawn if subpoenas --

MR. SNOW: No, what I just said is, if subpoenas are issued it means that they will have rejected the offer.

Q That's not the same as the President withdrawing his offer.

MR. SNOW: Well, again, the offer then becomes moot. They've knocked it off the table.

Q Is there still room for some good-faith negotiation? The President's tone was this was reasonable, this is unprecedented, and that he wants to work with Congress --

MR. SNOW: We have -- in other words, are we going to change our conditions? No. But we also think that it probably is worth giving members in Congress a little bit of time to think this through, because, look, we have offered everything that gets them the access to all the facts and the truth. If they don't accept the offer, it lifts the veil on some of the motivations, which means that people are less interested in the truth than creating a political spectacle. And we think the American people looking at this are going to say, well, wait a minute, the White House is making everything available to them; they're going to have all the facts; why isn't that good enough?

And so this is one of those calculations, as members of Congress look at it, they ought to think carefully, because we do have an opportunity to enable them to exercise their oversight thoroughly and with the level of access that is highly unusual in any White House. We're reaching out. What we're trying to do is we have made not only a good-faith offer, but one that is going to give Democrats and Republicans, House and Senate, a full opportunity to do their jobs and do it thoroughly...

Q Tony, Congress has held hearings from time immemorial. Presidents have even gone to testify there. What would make this a political circus?

MR. SNOW: Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?

Q These are your terms.

MR. SNOW: You do not believe that there would be a political circus?

Q -- more so, or less, than any other time in its history?

It's amazing how quickly this 'scandal' hit rock bottom. After a relatively few days, the press corps wants to know why the White House is resisting a 'political circus' that probably wouldn't be any worse than any other we've seen.

If they would just provide the bread to go with our circuses, we could all be fat, dumb and happy.

Hat Tip: Joe

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