Q Why has it been so difficult to catch bin Laden and Zarqawi? And can you really say that you are making progress in the war on terrorism when these people have been, you know, able to stay free for so long?By the way, who the hell is Bianca? Must be some kind of press pool insiders joke? I don't know, but W sure does give a fair amount of attention to Bianca at the expense of tax payer dollars:
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I can say we're making progress in the war on terror. If you look at the organizational structure of al Qaeda right after September the 11th and look at it today, you'll see a lot of people have been brought to justice -- Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, al Libbi. I mean, there's a series of these folks that had been plotting and planning and ordering attacks. And we have found them -- we being a coalition. So step one is there is a coalition. A lot of people around the world understand the stakes, that this is global war against people who've got a dark vision and a strategy to achieve that vision. Look, let me take a step back. People have got to understand that there is a global network of terrorists who desire to dominate a part of the world. They would like to see a Taliban-type relationships in countries around the world. They want to be in a position to impose their philosophy. The best way for me to describe what life would be like is to remind people what life was like for those poor Afghan citizens under the Taliban. That's what -- in other words, they have a strategy. We understand that. And we have a strategy. And part of the strategy is to call free nations together to form a coalition, to share information and to find people before they hurt. Now, look, they've been successful on attacks. They were successful here. They've been successful in London and Madrid. In other words, they have had attacks. On the other hand, we've been successful at bringing them to justice and finding some of the killers before they were able to strike again. And so there has been success at bringing awareness to the international community about what we need to do. There's been success about bringing people to justice. No question that some of their leaders are still at large, isolated, however, kind of in remote parts the world. But make no mistake about it, we're doing everything we can to find them. And when we do, we'll bring them to justice. We're now -- a part of that global war on terror is in Iraq. And the reason why is because these killers and these terrorists understand that the spread of democracy is their worst nightmare. See, democracy trumps their view of the world. Democracy trumps Taliban-type regimes, because it's free. Because when you live in a free world, you have hope. And so that's why you're seeing him -- a guy like Zarqawi, who has become a top al Qaeda fighter -- using every tool at his disposal, primarily the ability to get on TV screens with a massive suicide bombing, the killing of innocent people. And he does so because they want us to retreat. I mean, the strategy is clear. And we're not going to let him get away with it. We will work for democracy in Iraq, we'll hunt them down, we will train Iraqi forces so they can deal with those who are disgruntled with the march to democracy. But the war is beyond Iraq, that's what I'm trying to say to you. This is a global war. Afghanistan is a good example of progress being made. You might remember Afghanistan was the home base for the Taliban, as well as al Qaeda. And now we've got a democracy in Afghanistan and the world is better for it and safer for it. You bet we're making progress. We've got a lot of work. And this is a long struggle. To defeat this enemy, the United States of America must understand that it's going to take -- it's going to take time, just like it took time to defeat other struggles we had, other -- to succeed in other struggles we've had, like communism, and it's going to take a while. But what will accelerate the ability for the enemy to succeed is for the United States to lose its nerve, that's what I'm telling you. You got a question, sir?
Q Yes, sir, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: What might it be?
Q There is concern about the country's ability to pay for these hurricanes in the time ahead. Have you prioritized what may need to be cut?
THE PRESIDENT: I'm going to work with Congress to prioritize what may need to be cut. The other day I said that we're open-minded about offsets. What's a priority for me is to win this war on terror and secure the country, and to help the people down there to the extent that the law allows.
Q Mr. President, could we talk more about --
THE PRESIDENT: Are you Bianca?
Q No, I'm not. Anita -- Fox News.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay.
Q Just a quick question --
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry.
Incidentially, Scotty seems pre-occupied with Bianca as well:
Q The observation is I've heard you say several times that the Judiciary Committee has acted in a civil and dignified way. Did you expect otherwise? Isn't that pretty condescending? And also, who makes up the list of reporters that the President can call on, or is allowed to? MR.
McCLELLAN: I think it's what the American people expect. I mean, we have seen at times where --
Q Why do you keep saying it?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- where things -- well, because, I think we all recognize here in Washington sometimes things tend to get down into the bitter, partisan debates. And the Supreme Court is our highest court in the land. The President has an obligation to nominate someone for the bench when a vacancy occurs, and it's the role of the Senate to move forward on confirming that nomination.
Q It's a free country where people can express themselves.
MR. McCLELLAN: And the American people -- and there -- that's absolutely right. But there's no reason why we cannot move forward in a civil and dignified way as we conduct the confirmation hearings. And the Senate, I think, has largely done that --
Q What hasn't moved forward in --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- they have largely done that on Judge Roberts, and we hope they will do that going forward. There are a lot of media reports talking about how there's going to be a very contentious hearing for the next nominee. We haven't even -- the President hasn't even made a decision on who will be his nominee for the vacancy on the Supreme Court. And so that's why. I think I'm speaking for a lot of Americans who want to see a civil and dignified process going forward.
Q -- be contentious and civil and dignified in a democracy --
MR. McCLELLAN: And I can also express my -- I can also express the President's appreciation to the Senate for moving forward in a timely manner and moving forward in a civil and dignified way. We commend this --
Q It's condescending.
MR. McCLELLAN: No. It's complimenting them on the process.
Q Who makes up the list of reporters that he is allowed to call on?
Q Yes, where's Bianca? (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: Who makes up the list? It depends on the reporters that show up. I don't think she had a question. But the President --
Q Who is Bianca, anyway?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think the President had his most recent press conference this afternoon just a short time before I was out here, took questions from I think everyone who was there. Q -- you count that as a press conference?