Q You have your same point you want to make about the blame game, which you've said enough now. I'm asking you a direct question, which you're dodging.
MR. McCLELLAN: No --
Q Does the President retain complete confidence in his Director of FEMA and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: I just answered the question. Q Is the answer "yes" on both?
MR. McCLELLAN: And what you're doing is trying to engage in a game of finger-pointing.
Q There's a lot of criticism. I'm just wondering if he still has confidence.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and blame-gaming. What we're trying to do is solve problems, David. And that's where we're going to keep our focus.
Q So you're not -- you won't answer that question directly?
MR. McCLELLAN: I did. I just did.
Q No, you didn't. Yes or no? Does he have complete confidence or doesn't he? MR.
McCLELLAN: No, if you want to continue to engage in finger-pointing and blame-gaming, that's fine --
Q Scott, that's ridiculous. I'm not engaging in any of that.
MR. McCLELLAN: It's not ridiculous.
Q Don't try to accuse me of that. I'm asking you a direct question and you should answer it. Does he retain complete confidence in his FEMA Director and Secretary of Homeland Security, yes or no?
MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said -- that's exactly what you're engaging in.
Q I'm not engaging in anything. I'm asking you a question about what the President's views are --
MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely -- absolutely --
Q -- under pretty substantial criticism of members of his administration. Okay? And you know that, and everybody watching knows that, as well
Mr. McCLELLAN: No, everybody watching this knows, David, that you're trying to engage in a blame game.
Q I'm trying to engage?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes.
Q I am trying to engage?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's correct.
Q That's a dodge. I have a follow-up question since you dodged that one. Does the White House feel like it missed opportunities to alleviate or head off some of the damage in the New Orleans area, flood damage? Did it miss an opportunity to head any of that off?
MR. McCLELLAN: In what way?
- Skip to Close of the Press Conference -
Q Scott, you declined in this news conference to express the President's explicit confidence in Secretary Chertoff or Director Brown --
MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely not.
Q In the past you've said anyone who serves in this administration does so at the pleasure of the President and with his full confidence.
MR. McCLELLAN: This is an attempt by some in this room to engage in finger-pointing and blame game and I'm just not going to do that. I've made it very clear --
Q Can you say the President has full confidence?
MR. McCLELLAN: I've made it very clear -- and the President spoke about them last week, and his comments stand, in terms of what he has said about the great work that they have been doing round-the-clock, 24 hours a day, to help people on the ground. There are some in this room that want to continue to engage in that. We're going to continue to focus on solving problems and getting help to people on the ground.
If you all want to continue to engage in that, that's fine. But we appreciate the efforts of Secretary Chertoff, Undersecretary Brown, and all the others at FEMA and at the state and local level that are working round-the-clock to help the people in the region.
It is impossible to make this shit up. It's astonishing, no? Just wondering how much we taxpayers are paying Scotty to do this kind of bad-dance?
Oh, and by the way, we should all demand a conclusion to the question of Rove's involvement in the Plame scandal. It's about right on track to finish in October and perhaps then, they will actually comment on something besides providing more spin.