Q Has the Vice President been seen by a physician or had any medical follow up himself, again, given the stress of the circumstances?No we don't Scott! No we don't. Stop speaking as if you know the heart of all Americans becuase you don't. Even you know it:
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, Kelly, I think that we have heard from the Vice President. I think that there is a tendency in this town to over-analyze things. And I think that falls into that category. If there's additional information the Vice President's Office thinks is appropriate to share, I'm sure they will.
Q Scott, one of the top priorities for the American people, no doubt, is their confidence in their leaders. And this has been an administration that has made it very clear that credibility and just telling the facts was important, that it's clear that that's what you guys do. And I asked you about this in the morning gaggle, you said that you thought I'd taken it out of context, or misunderstood, so I've gone back and re-read the transcript. After the Vice President went through the entire course of events why he asked Mrs. Armstrong to do the talking, he was asked, "Does it raise the question whether you could have headed off the firestorm if you had put out the word to the national media," and the Vice President's response was, "Well, who was going to do that? Are they going to take my word for what happened?" Does the Vice President believe that his word is not credible with the American people?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think that the Vice President feels like I do, that sometimes in situations like this there is a tendency to over-interpret what was said. I think what the Vice President was referring to was the fact that he was involved in this hunting accident. He was the one who accidentally shot his friend, and he feels horrible about it. He wants to see his friend fully recover. He felt that Mrs. Armstrong, who was an eyewitness, could provide the most credible account of what occurred. She was not someone that was involved in this accident. And that's all he was saying...
...Q Scott, back to the reaction to Mr. Cheney's statements yesterday. The House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi, says that this is analogous or comparable to the administration's inability to come clean, and suggested that the delay of it and the administration's unwillingness to come clean is analogous to a lack of cooperation with the Abramoff investigation and even the response to Katrina. Can you react to that?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think that just shows that the only ones who are making such allegations like that are the most partisan of people or the conspiracy theorists that live out there, and they try to take this matter and paint with a broader brush. I think most Americans reject that wholeheartedly.
Go ahead, Elaine.But not spokesmodel or spokesperson for the American people. That too is a fact.
Q Scott, going back to the Vice President, you said yesterday on Air Force One that you speak for the White House, on behalf of the White House and the President, and you also reiterated --
MR. McCLELLAN: I am the White House Spokesman. I believe that statement is fact.
Incidnetially, why wasn't the BAC level of the Veep's blood taken as a part of the investigation? Becuase he was the Veep that's why. Note, we still get no answer for the Presiden't spokesmodel:
Q Scott, the Vice President spoke yesterday to Brit Hume, but everything is still not in a nice, neat package that the White House wants to make it look like it is. Some are still concerned with the fact that the Vice President was not interviewed by local police until the day after. And now we're hearing that there was alcohol at lunch, a couple of hours prior to, and the investigators did not get a chance to talk to the Vice President or find out the level -- the blood level -- or what alcohol level at that time. That is not a nice, neat package. And there's still a concern about --Incidentially, if you think this incident would cause the Veep, or anyone else in the W, Rove and Co to grow a bit in the empathy department, forgedabodit.
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think you characterized the full picture there, April. I think you ought to look at what law enforcement officials have said on that very matter. And I think most Americans believe that this issue has been covered thoroughly, and most Americans recognize that the Vice President is first and foremost concerned about his friend. So I reject this characterization. I think this room and this town sometimes gets overly caught up in this. But the American people appreciate the answers to the questions that have already been asked.
Q But the Vice President himself addressed the issue that he had alcohol prior to -- hours prior to. And no one tested --
MR. McCLELLAN: I'll refer to --
Q -- no one tested in the hours prior to. And no one tested --
MR. McCLELLAN: April, if you want to continue to pursue this, you can do that. I think most Americans recognize this is what it is, which is a hunting accident, a terrible hunting accident, where someone was injured --
Q If an average person --
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Whittington. We want to see him recover fully.
Q That is very true.
MR. McCLELLAN: If you want to over interpret things, that's your business. The American people have heard the answers.
Q But Scott, what the average American -- if that situation were to be the case, they would be investigated, and a blood alcohol level tested and taken that day.
MR. McCLELLAN: Maybe you ought to look at what the sheriff's department put out about that very matter. And they interviewed people, April. Because you are not giving people a full picture when you characterize it that way. It's already been provided by law enforcement officials, by eyewitnesses. And the Vice President has provided those answers, too. He was very thorough in his responses to the questions that were asked yesterday.
Again, if you want to continue to pursue this, that's your business. We're going to continue to focus on the priorities of the American people.
Q Scott, you said the U.N. team that didn't go to Guantanamo was offered the same kind of access as congressional leaders. U.N. team says that the reason it didn't go was because it was not going to be given access to the prisoners themselves, and that it saw no point in going, although it mentioned that it had good cooperation with the U.S. military. Why was it not possible to give the U.N. team direct access to the prisoners --And what about the lopsided interview conducted by Bret yesterday?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know that that's accurate characterization. I think they were going to be provided good access to the facilities there, and I don't know that's an accurate description. I think you ought to direct that to the Department of Defense, as well as maybe our U.S. office at the United Nations. I don't think -- I don't know that that's an -- I don't know that's accurate, Victoria.
Q One other quick one. Vice President Cheney talked yesterday about the trauma of seeing his friend fall to the ground when he shot him, and I was wondering whether this has caused Mr. Cheney to reflect on the kind of trauma that's experienced daily by the men and women in the military who have to shoot people?
MR. McCLELLAN: Again, here's another example of where I think this town sometimes gets into taking an incident like this and trying to draw broader conclusions or over interpret or overanalyze things and get into all sorts of other issues. We are all deeply concerned about our men and women in uniform who have been injured. We are deeply concerned for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. And their families remain in our thoughts and prayers.
And I think you've seen that by what the President and Vice President have done, Victoria. They have visited the wounded, they have visited the families of the fallen, and they will continue to do so. But I think that it's just absurd to try to get into looking at it in the way that you just suggested.
Q The Vice President did one interview with one news organization. Will he be available to the rest of us to talk about this accident?There you go again, Scott. Talking for the American people when you have absolutely no clue what we think. Get out of your beltway office and in the face of people who disagree with you and your chronies and then you will have a better understanding. But even then, you won't be able to speak for the American people. Or does he?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think he pretty thoroughly addressed the questions that were raised.
Q To one news organization. Would he be available --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I don't know what you're suggesting.
Q Well, no, no, just a general press briefing about --
MR. McCLELLAN: I think it was a pretty lengthy interview that covered all the major topics related to this subject, and I think the Vice President went through it pretty thoroughly. Of course, he has public appearances on a frequent basis, and if you all want to ask him questions down the road, then that's your business. But I think the American people look at this and appreciate the fact that the Vice President went out there and thoroughly responded to all the questions relating to this issue.