Q What do you hear or your staff hear about releasing of photographs of Jack Abramoff with you, Mr. President? If you say you don't fear anything, tell us why you won't release them?I see, and it's only okay for you to use photographs for political purposes? And, if the prez doesn't know how many pics there are, how does he know for sure that they are irrelevant to the investigation. My curiosity is peaked - I'd like to see those pics now. How about you?
THE PRESIDENT: She's asking about a person who admitted to wrongdoing and who needs to be prosecuted for that. There is a serious investigation going on, as there should be. The American people have got to have confidence in the -- in the ethics of all branches of government. You're asking about pictures -- I had my picture taken with him, evidently. I've had my picture taken with a lot of people. Having my picture taken with someone doesn't mean that I'm a friend with them or know them very well. I've had my picture taken with you -- (laughter) -- at holiday parties. My point is, I mean, there's thousands of people that come through and get their pictures taken. I'm also mindful that we live in a world in which those pictures will be used for pure political purposes, and they're not relevant to the investigation.
Q Do you know how many?
THE PRESIDENT: I don't have any idea.
Q Mr. President, you talked about Jack Abramoff in the context of pictures, but it may not necessarily just be about pictures. He also had some meetings with some of your staff. So you remember, you ran on the idea of restoring honesty and integrity to the White House. So why are you letting your critics perhaps attack you and paint you with maybe a guilt by association? Why not just throw open your books and say, look, here is --Ah, now I see - the Shrub is using the classic Rovian ploy to suggest that because others did it, it's okay for him to do it. And, of course, he doesn't answer the question now does he? Okay everyone, all together, let's piss on our own legs. 1..2...3...Pee! Now, doen't that feel good? If we do it all together, it must be the right thing to do.
THE PRESIDENT: There is a serious investigation going on by federal prosecutors, and that's their job. And they will -- if they believe something was done inappropriately in the White House, they'll come and look, and they're welcome to do so. There's a serious investigation that's going on.
Q But, sir, don't you want to tell the American people look, as I promised, this White House isn't for sale and I'm not for sale?
THE PRESIDENT: It's hard for me to say I didn't have pictures with the guy when I did. But I have also had pictures with thousands and thousands of people. I mean, people -- it's part of the job of the President to shake hands and -- with people and smile. (Laughter.) And I do. And the man contributed to my campaigns, but he contributed, either directly or through his clients, to a lot of people in Washington. And this needs to be cleared up so the people have confidence in the system. Yes, Peter.
Okay, let's try asking the prez about this one more time:
Q Can I ask you again, why won't you release the photos of yourself with Jack Abramoff?Aha! You are the one who taught Scotty how to answer a question by saying you already answered the question when in actually you never really did or do. Or was it Scotty that taught you how to do that?
THE PRESIDENT: I just answered the question.
Well, don't leave this post just yet. The president gets all screwy on the last question of the PR Propaganda tourney. Have a gander at this last bit. While you are reading, mull over this question in your head: Is the President Lying?
Q Can you say, sir, whether you were lobbied by Jack Abramoff or other lobbyists, and what your policy is about lobbyists meeting with senior staff?Bingo! We caught ya, Shrubmiester. Blog on all.
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I, frankly, don't even remember having my picture taken with the guy. I don't know him. And this investigation will -- needs to look into all aspects of his influence on Capitol Hill, and if there's some in the White House, I'm sure they're going to come and knock on the door. But I -- I can't say I didn't ever meet him, but I meet a lot of people. And evidently, he was just like you were the other day, at a holiday party -- came in, put -- the grip-and-grin, they click the picture and off he goes. And that's just -- I take thousands of -- I mean, somebody told me I maybe take over 9,000 pictures this holiday season. And he obviously went to fundraisers, but I've never sat down with him and had a discussion with the guy.
Q Do you meet with lobbyists?
THE PRESIDENT: I try not to. Have I ever met with one? Never having met with one is a -- if I ever say that, sure enough, you'll go find somebody. But, no, I don't have them come in. Now, when, for example, people are helping on issues -- like on promoting trade -- you bet, we bring them in and I say, thank you for promoting CAFTA; or, thanks for working on the vote; or, thanks for helping on tax relief. That may be -- if you consider that a meeting, the answer is, yes, I'm sure I have, in a roomful of people as we either thank people for success in policy or thank people for going out of their way to get a piece of legislation passed on the Hill.
Listen, thank you all very much. Looking forward to Tuesday evening -- I hope you are, as well.
END 11:01 A.M. EST