Q Scott, the departure of David Safavian from the Office of Management and Budget would seem to indicate that this administration has no tolerance for employees who face indictments. Is that an accurate assumption?
MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate your question and I think you're asking that in the context of some of the current events, and I'm not going to even jump in to try to speculate on those matters.
Q Given the time that Karl Rove would need to spend preparing for the testimony he delivered today and the hours that he spent at the courthouse today, how does that kind of absence and that kind of additional assignment for him affect the work that's going on here?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there are a lot of important priorities that we're focused on here at the White House. We are a nation at war. The President is continuing to lead the effort to win the war on terrorism. We are focused on the priorities of the American people. The White House has a lot of work going on, and we remain focused on that work...blah, blah, blah...
Q And of course there are many people who work here beyond Mr. Rove, but you have always suggested that he is enormously important to this White House and that the President has full confidence in him. And, clearly, Karl Rove would have to spend some time working with his counsel on this matter, and has spent some time away from the White House, and so he would not be available to give the President advice in those moments. Has there been any impact?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President has a great team, and the President is the one who is leading our efforts to address these important priorities. And that's where we're focused and that's what we will continue to do, is carry out the work of the American people, because that's what they expect. And while there are other things going on, the White House doesn't have time to let those things distract from the important work at hand. And that's why we remain focused on what the American people want us to do. That's why we remain focused on keeping our economy growing. That's why we remain focused on addressing high energy prices. That's why we remain focused on winning the war on terrorism and helping the Iraqi people build a strong and lasting democracy, so that our troops can come home. And that's why we remain focused on addressing other important priorities that I just mentioned.
Q Has he been released from the grand jury now? We understand he left the building. Is his testimony completed? MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know. You all are covering that.
Q Will he be back here today to work?
MR. McCLELLAN: I will try to keep you posted...
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Jessica.
Q Does the President still have full confidence in Karl Rove?
MR. McCLELLAN: Jessica, this is asking questions all in the context of an ongoing investigation. And --
Q He's one of the President's chief advisors. Does he have confidence in his ability to perform the job?
MR. McCLELLAN: Karl continues to do his duties as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President, and you're trying to ask a question in the context of an ongoing investigation. The President has made it very clear, we're not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. What we're going to do is support the efforts of the special prosecutor --
Q But, Scott, there's a difference between commenting in a way that would interfere with an investigation and conveying the sense and the clear idea that the President is engaged and concerned --
MR. McCLELLAN: And I've already answered that question, and what I said previously still stands. So I would encourage you to go back and look at what I said previously. But you're asking this question today in the context of some grand jury testimony that's going on. So that's asking a question in the context of an ongoing investigation. The President has made it clear that he wants to get to the bottom of this investigation. It is ongoing. The best way we can help the investigation proceed forward is not to comment on it here from this podium. We'll be glad to talk about it once the investigation has come to a conclusion. And we look forward to that time, once it does.
Q But going to the workings of the White House, you said that there is an extensive White House staff that can take up the issues. Is the suggestion that Karl Rove is less and less engaged and less able to perform his duties?
MR. McCLELLAN: I didn't say that at all, did I? Q What are you saying, then? Is Karl Rove fully engaged, and is this White House -- MR. McCLELLAN: I just said he's continuing to do his duties. Go ahead...
...Q Scott, I just have two quick follows to some questions that were asked earlier. One, are you trying -- are you saying that, CIA leak aside, you can't say that the President has full confidence in Karl Rove?
MR. McCLELLAN: Maybe you didn't hear what I was saying earlier. I said, what I said previously still stands.
Q What did you say previously? You say that all the time.
MR. McCLELLAN: You can go back and look at it. I'll be glad to share the transcript of when that question came up last time.
Q Either he does or he does not. So he does have full confidence?
MR. McCLELLAN: We've already addressed that, Jim.
Q Why can't you repeat it?
Q But why can't -- if you've addressed it, why can't you repeat it for me? Clearly --
MR. McCLELLAN: Why do you have to keep asking a question that I've already answered when --
Q Because I don't know the answer.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, because you're asking in the context of an ongoing investigation. And it's very easy to go and look at our transcripts and pull that information --
Q That's why I said -- that's why I said, "set the leak aside," just in general are you refusing to --
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. And I said I stand by what I said previously.
Q Okay, topic two, since you won't answer that question.
MR. McCLELLAN: I did answer that question.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Kicking it Up a Knotch on Uncle Karl
Uncle Karl continues to work hard defending himself. Menwhile, I'm wonding how long the president can stand by his man. Some good questions got pat answers at today's briefing from Scotty McMessage McClellan: