Q Scott, can you tell us about this morning's senior staff meeting? Were you surprised that Josh Bolten immediately signaled there will be more staff changes? And do you get the impression it's going to be a shake-up or cosmetic changes? What's your impression --From the look of it, the scapegoats are about to wander off to the slaughter.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, look, I mean, there are a lot of rumors that go around at this time, whenever there is a change in Chief of Staff at the White House, and I think that's what those are -- just rumors and speculation. I think what Josh was saying this morning -- well, first, let me back up.
I mean, Josh has hit the ground running as Chief of Staff. Last week he shadowed Andy Card in a lot of his meetings that he regularly participates in. And Josh, this morning, when he came into senior staff, talked about how this is a challenging time period that he is coming into as Chief of Staff. We remain engaged in an ongoing global war on terrorism. There are a number of important priorities we're working to pursue on the behalf of the American people. The President outlined a number of those in his State of the Union Address this year. So we have a very active and full agenda ahead of us for the remaining two-and-a-half years or so of this administration.
And Josh, this morning, talked about how over the next seven to 10 days, he would -- he's continuing to look at some of the process of the White House, meaning the meetings that take place. There are a lot of regularly scheduled meetings that take place, and for the next seven or 10 days or so, he's going to pretty much leave that structure in place as it has been operating.
But any time you have a new Chief of Staff coming in, you can expect that there will be some changes in some of the structure and personnel and other issues.
Now, what he said at the end of his remarks at senior staff was simply talking about, look, we're in a transitional period, and I want to make sure I have a team in place that is with us for a minimum the remainder of this year and, to some extent, beyond that. And as you know, any White House goes through change. People decide to leave after they've served here for a while. It's hard work serving here at the White House.
And so he said to the senior staff -- and I think this will be passed on to others, as well -- is that if you're thinking about leaving sometime in the near future, now would be a good time to do it, because this is this transitional period. And so that's the way I would look at it.
Q And was this also affecting Cabinet posts, as well? Did you get the impression it was just White House staff? Or when you say --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, this morning he was talking to the White House staff. I think you would expect that. This is his first full day -- first full weekday as Chief of Staff. Obviously, when you're Chief of Staff, you're 24/7, and he took over late Friday afternoon from Andy Card, when Andy departed the White House and Josh was sworn in.
Q Can I clarify that point, though? When you say -- you've said repeatedly, Josh has full authority, the President's authority --
MR. McCLELLAN: Absolutely.
Q -- does that just cover staff? Does that cover Cabinet posts, the entire administration, or --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President is going to be looking to Josh for his advice and counsel. And the President has given him the full authority to do what he needs to do and what he believes is in the best interest of this White House and this President. We are all here to help the President advance his agenda. We have accomplished much over the last few years and there's much that we want to get done in the years ahead as we -- two-and-a-half years is a relatively short period of time left for this President to get some things done. And there's a lot that he wants to get done in that remaining two-and-a-half years.
Q Scott, you're one of those visible members of the President's senior staff. Do you plan to stay on?
MR. McCLELLAN: Are you trying to tempt me here?
Q Not at all.
MR. McCLELLAN: Look, I never speculate about personnel matters.
Q "Personnel" or "personal" or both?
MR. McCLELLAN: Two years in this position is a long time, I'm very mindful of that. But, look, I never get into any of that speculation.
Go ahead, Martha.
Monday, April 17, 2006
More Heads About To Roll In The Whitehouse
Looks like the President's new Chief of Staff, Josh Bolten, is going to be letting the guillotine fall some time soon. Moreover, we may be seeing a new presidential spokes-model emerge from the rubble: