Q Let me ask you a question about elevating the tone, because, obviously, a lot of Americans are familiar with this talk from the President, even though it didn't really come to pass after he was elected in 2000. The President has talked a lot recently about, in essence, trying to set the terms for how his critics should disagree with him on Iraq, what the responsible way is to do it and what the irresponsible way is to do it. So could you be a little bit more specific about what he thinks he can do to elevate the tone?If you are expecting the discourse to be elevated by Shrub in the SOTU tomorrow, and you are holding your breath, I hope you have your estate in order and funeral plans at the ready.
MR. McCLELLAN: Just exactly what he's been doing throughout his administration. This President has always worked, whether it was when he was governor of Texas or since he's been President of the United States, has always worked to reach out and elevate the discourse. If you look at his tone, this President has focused on how we can work together to get things done, and focused on what the American people expect us to do. And that's what -- and that's what he will continue to do.
Q And then also equated Congressman Murtha to Michael Moore, when he questioned whether troops should be withdrawn, is that the sort of elevation in tone you're talking about?
MR. McCLELLAN: First of all, we said that we have great respect for his service to the country.
Q You later said that.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, we said that at the time. I correct you.
Go ahead, Goyal.
Here's more in Scotty's stumping for the SOTU about what they mean by "elevate the discourse." It looks a lot like, "there's trouble in town and so you need to change so we can fix this. I've done all I'm going to do"
Q You said the President is going to continue doing what he's doing in terms of elevating the tone in Washington. So to whom, exactly, is he referring?
MR. McCLELLAN: To elevating the tone?
MR. McCLELLAN: All of us. Both parties, to work together to get things done for the American people. Q So everybody is kicking in the gutter, except him? (Laughter.)
MR. McCLELLAN: No, that's not what he said. That's what you said.
Q But he doesn't need to elevate his tone, so are there some who don't need to elevate their tone?
MR. McCLELLAN: He's going to continue to. I think we've seen that -- and it's one of the things he's talked about, Victoria. Maybe it's a surprise to you, but this town has become pretty bitter over the course of the last several years, not just when this President has been in office, but even before that. And this President, when he -- go back to his days as governor; he was able to reach out and work with Democrats and Republicans, alike, to get things done, and he was hoping we could have made more progress to elevate the tone in this city. But it requires both parties reaching out to one another.
The President has reached out. It requires others to reach back. And there are many people here in this town that would like to see that happen, many leaders that would like to see that happen. Unfortunately, the focus sometimes is too much on the partisan attacks and the bitter, negative tone. The President is going to continue to say, even though it's an election year, we've got to work together and elevate the tone and get things done.