Q Tony, on immigration, the President spoke to the Chamber of Commerce today, obviously. A couple of weeks ago, he spoke to a restaurant trade group, as well, and these are people who already support him on the guest worker program. When do you think he'll start talking to conservative audiences that don't want a guest worker program? When will he talk to them to try to convert them to his position?Oops, I don't think so Tony. You are not paid to speak for me...and my bet is that there a substantial number of Americans who would disagree with you. Any one else think so?
MR. SNOW: I think the President -- when you speak to the entire nation, you speak to liberals and conservatives, you speak to everybody. And furthermore, even when you speak to the Chamber of Commerce, as you know, Ed, thanks to your good offices and others, that message does get broadcast around the country. What the President did today is something that you hear from a lot of conservatives, which he said businesses also have to be held to account if and when they knowingly hire illegals. And they have to do their part to help with interior security.
The President also feels deeply about this issue. He has real-life experience. He lived it as governor of Texas. He understands the problem. And I expect him to be dealing vigorously, sometimes in front of cameras, sometimes not, with people of all views. But I think as President of the United States, the most important thing to do right now is, A, to educate -- things -- is, A, to educate the American people about the plan, but also try to explain how, in fact, it reflects the widely shared views and attitudes of a lot of American people.
Oh, and here's another - in case you are a bit troubled about how the administration lets the American people know about bad things happening in Iraq - you know that Tony's going to use the "it's an on going investigation..." gambit as well - another time honored evasive maneuver that Scotty used:
Q One question on the time line. The President was briefed the 11th of March, Time Magazine published the 19th of March -- why did it take until yesterday for the President to say he was troubled by this?But here's a new twist to the "repeat your talking points ad nauseum" gambit:
MR. SNOW: Because I'm not aware that any of you asked him about it before. Here's the problem -- it's a very fine line, and actually very good question.
Q He could have issued a written statement, though, Tony.
MR. SNOW: No, he couldn't have, and I'll tell you why. You've got ongoing criminal inquiries on two tracks: facts on the ground, and the reporting. The President is Commander-in-Chief. If the Commander-in-Chief says anything that might be regarded as prejudicial to the proceedings, those who are conducting the inquiries and those who might be called upon to conduct trials are, therefore, going to be hamstrung. And so it's very important -- and he's done this -- he's been very specific about it -- staying out of the chain of command. What you don't want is something that, should these alleged incidents rise to the level of a criminal proceeding, somebody saying, well, here's what the President had to say -- because that suddenly -- here's the President, all these people answer to him, you've got to be very careful.
Q Isn't that also an issue today, though?
MR. SNOW: It remains an issue. The President said he was troubled by the allegations. I'm not sure that it helps to issue statements every time there's an allegation to say you're troubled by it.
Q Was he disturbed by the misinformation?
MR. SNOW: Again, Helen, what you're asking me to do is to leap to conclusions --
Q No, I'm not.
MR. SNOW: Yes, you are.
Q I'm asking you if he's disturbed by the different stories.
MR. SNOW: The President is disturbed, as he said, by the allegations. And I will leave it at that. You can draw the conclusions.
Q To come back to Iran. When you say you want Iran to suspend enrichment, is there any margin of -- so you mean that every single centrifuge has to be --Hmmm, "stock language?" Where do you get that? From your gigantic stockpile of amunition for the "presidential propaganda catapult?"
MR. SNOW: We're going to leave that, again -- we will leave that for the ongoing conversations. We have said that they must suspend enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. I'm going to leave it with the stock language we're using and not go any further.