Q Let me just follow up on an aspect of this and try it again here. On October 7, 2003, you were asked about a couple of the key players here, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, as well as another administration official who has not figured in the investigation, so far as we know. And you said the following, "There are unsubstantiated accusations that are made, and that's exactly what happened in the case of these three individuals," including Rove and Libby. "They're good individuals, they're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved." You were wrong then, weren't you?
MR. McCLELLAN: David, it's not a question of whether or not I'd like to talk more about this. I think I've indicated to you all that I'd be glad to talk about this once this process is complete, and I look forward to that opportunity. But, again, we have been directed by the White House Counsel's Office not to discuss this matter or respond to questions about it.
Q That was a public representation that was made to the American people.
MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. We can have this conversation, but let me respond.
Q No, no, no, because it's such an artful dodge. Whether there's a question of legality --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree with you.
Q Whether there's a question of legality, we know for a fact that there was involvement. We know that Karl Rove, based on what he and his lawyer have said, did have a conversation about somebody who Patrick Fitzgerald said was a covert officer of the Central Intelligence Agency. We know that Scooter Libby also had conversations.
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's accurate.
Q So aside from the question of legality here, you were wrong, weren't you?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, David, if I were to get into commenting from this podium while this legal proceeding continues, I might be prejudicing the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial. And I'm just not going to do that. I know very --
Q You speak for the President. Your credibility and his credibility is not on criminal trial. But it may very well be on trial with the American public, don't you agree?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I'm very confident in the relationship that we have in this room, and the trust that has been established between us. This relationship --
Q See those cameras? It's not about us. It's about what the American people --
MR. McCLELLAN: This relationship is built on trust, and you know very well that I have worked hard to earn the trust of the people in this room, and I think I've earned it --
Q Is the President -- let me just follow up on one more thing.
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and I think I've earned it with the American people.
Q Does the President think that Karl Rove did anything wrong?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it would be good for you to allow me the opportunity to respond to your questions without jumping in. I'm glad to do that. I look forward to the opportunity --
Q I haven't heard a response.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, I have been responding to you, David, and there's no need -- you're a good reporter, there's no need to be rude or disrespectful. We can have a conversation and respond to these questions, if you'll just give me the opportunity to respond. I'm glad to do that.
We need to let this legal process continue. The special counsel indicated the other day that it is ongoing. And that's what we're going to do from this White House. That's the policy that we have set for quite some time now.
Q In the year 2000, the President said the following: "In my administration, we will ask not only what is legal, but what is right; not just what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves." Doesn't the American public deserve some answers from this President about the role of his Vice President in this story and what he knew and when he knew it, and how he feels about the conduct of his administration?
MR. McCLELLAN: The American people deserve a White House that is committed to doing their work. We are focused on the priorities of the American people. As the President indicated Friday, we've got a job to do, and we're going to do it. We're going to continue to focus on our efforts to protect the American people and to spread prosperity here at home. We're going to move forward on the Supreme Court nomination.
People in this White House fully understand what's expected of them. We are expected to focus on the people's business, first and foremost, and that's what we always do. We're also expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards. People understand that in this White House. That's what the President expects, and that's what the American people expect. And we've got a great team here, and we'll continue to adhere to those standards.
Perhaps this is why the Veep, yes, the Big Dick Cheney, appointed his legal counsel to replace Libby! He's going to need all the legal help he can muster (which many shares of his Halliburton stock aught supply a large legal team).