In another case of, "you can't make this shit up," Tony admits that any one suggesting (including members of the extreme "fright wing") the Dems are more interested in protecting the terrorists over America would be wrong.
Have a look. It starts with a very interesting question:
Q As you well know, this is not a campaign season about whether America is a great place or not, right? I mean, it's a lot more substantive than that, and it has to do with the path that this President took the country after 9/11.Nice deflection Tony, but that isn't going to work.
Now, when a Republican leader of Congress says, "I wonder if Democrats are more interested in protecting terrorists than they are in protecting the American people," as a spokesman for the President, do you think that it's your duty to say that that's out of bounds or not?
MR. SNOW: Frankly, again, this is one of these things -- I haven't even seen the Boehner statement. But let me make a larger point. When people call the President a liar or a loser, that happens. There have been all sorts of names and smears aimed at the President. And he understands and he's a big enough boy to deal with that.
The other thing is that in this present political season, unfortunately there will be a lot of -- there's going to be some name-calling. You know what? I think you and I agree. Let's figure out what the substantive issues are, let's get past the name-calling, and let's get down to it and let's talk about it.
Q But this is important, because, as a matter of fact, the Vice President said over the weekend to Tim Russert that the sort of debate we're having in this country, about withdrawing troops from Iraq, emboldens the terrorists. Now you have a Republican leader of Congress saying the Democrats may be more interested in protecting terrorists than the American people. Does the President agree with that?Certainly, there is a bit of a double standard going on here. Let's see if we can drag a decent answer out of Tony:
MR. SNOW: What you've done is you've taken two things. Let's focus on what the Vice President said, which is that withdrawal from Iraq would embolden the terrorists. I think it's true. Osama bin Laden has made it clear. And one of the things he says is if the United States is pushed from Iraq, it will be to the eternal humiliation of the United States.
So it is clear from the standpoint of bin Laden, who, in the past -- and you quite kindly corrected me on a misstatement back in August, when I got it wrong -- bin Laden drew the conclusion when we left Somalia that the Americans didn't have what it took to stick it out. See, that's the way that the enemy is looking at this. So as an objective statement about the way in which bin Laden views the United States, that is a true statement. I'm not going to get into trying to characterize what John Boehner said.
Q Because you certainly would get into it if somebody accused the President of being a liar. I mean, do you want to let a statement like this stand from a Republican leader of Congress?Let's cut the crap and get to the heart of the matter:
MR. SNOW: Like I said, you're presenting me with a statement I haven't seen. I'll tell you what, I'll get back to you on it.
Q It's been out there for a couple of hours. I think you had ample time to see it.
MR. SNOW: Well, actually, no --
Q Let me ask you this final point. Can you describe how it's possible to oppose the President on the war on Iraq without emboldening the terrorists?So, what you are saying Tony, is that any one who disagrees with you is suggesting we turn over Iraq to the terrorists? Isn't that the same thing as saying Dems are more for terrorists than they are for America? Let's ask him straight up:
MR. SNOW: Yes. Yes, absolutely. There are ways to do it. But also, if you say we need to leave right now, without preconditions -- and I'm not sure anybody says that, but I'll give you a hypothetical -- that would embolden the terrorists. If the end result was that we left Iraq and we did not have an Iraq that was able to sustain itself, govern itself and defend itself, that would embolden the terrorists.
If the terrorists have the ability, if the terrorists draw the conclusion that they can use political means -- because they can't defeat us militarily, so it has to be a political battle -- if they can use political means to drive us from Iraq and make Iraq a place from which -- like Afghanistan before -- that could mount terrorist attacks and set up their own headquarters, and this time have, in addition, oil as a weapon -- then that, in fact, is the kind of situation that we can't let stand.
But there are ways of -- you can disagree over a lot of things. If you share the objective of having an Iraq -- and this is what's kind of interesting about the debate last night, because if you look at the President's speech, he talks about an Iraq that's going to be able to be democratic -- I don't know that that's controversial with anybody -- an Iraq where Iraqi forces are going to be able to defend Iraqi ground. I don't know that that's controversial. I think those are the things -- to answer your question, and I'll let you get back to this, to answer your question, it is possible to disagree. But on the other hand, if you are proposing a position that says to bin Laden, in effect, Iraq is yours, then that is not the kind of thing that I think is going to lead to victory.
Q Do Democrats want to protect terrorists more than the American people? What do you think?Ah, there you have it...after several minutes of rhetorical spin, you have an correct answer out of the mouth of the presidential spokesmodel. Thank you.
MR. SNOW: Again, I know you think that in the last hour -- I had an hour to prepare, because we had long meetings --
Q I'm asking you that question -- forget about what John Boehner said, I'm putting the proposition to you. Do you have an opinion on that topic?
MR. SNOW: Do I think -- no, I think --
Q That Democrats are more interested in protecting terrorists than the American people?
MR. SNOW: No.