Q Is the White House -- anyone in the White House helping Gonzales prepare for his testimony next week?The press secretary using the plausible deniability ploy first identified by republican icon Ronald Reagan? Go figure! Let's see, how many times does a reporter have to ask a questions before they get an straight answer...
MS. PERINO: Not the I'm aware. You mean somebody being over there at the department?
Q Yes. Sure.Hmmm...what's the difference between close contact, assisting the AG and not being aware?
MS. PERINO: Of course, we're in close contact with the Justice Department, but I don't know of any White House official who's been at the Justice Department in preparation for testimony.
Q No White House involvement?
MS. PERINO: Not that I'm aware of.
Care to try again?
Q There have been all these stories about the so-called "murder boards" that he's undergone in preparation for the testimony --Well, okay, that's still not a completely forthcoming answer, now is it? Just because Dana doesn't know about it doesn't mean that Uncle Karl isn't grilling the AG as we type...
MS. PERINO: That's not unusual.
Q I know, of course not. But has the White House taken no part in this?
MS. PERINO: I know that we are aware of it. I'm just saying that I don't know of any one person, individually, at the White House who has attended any of those. It's not unusual for an agency to set up sessions like that prior to a hearing.
Care to ask again? In case you are counting, this is going to be the fourth time asking essentially the same question...
Q I know, but I'm curious --Past practice is no indicator of current action. How about a straight answer, Dana? Lets see, can we ask this question differently? Sure:
MS. PERINO: But the White House doesn't always send somebody to handle those. Maybe one thing that you're thinking about is when we're heading for a confirmation for an individual, we often hold those here at the White House in order to prepare, but that's because that person is not yet at an agency where they have a staff.
Q So there has been no White House involvement?
MS. PERINO: Well, again, we're working closely -- I'm just aware of no individual who is there helping prepare for the testimony.
Q Has direction been given to the Attorney General to prepare for this?I love that little "that I know of" qualifier. There is an ethical slippery line that she crosses here. Of course, the Whitehouse is preping the AG for this because they don't want him to expose the naked emperor W for what he is.
MS. PERINO: Not specifically, that I know of. I know that it's an important hearing. I think that they have been as responsive as possible, leading up to next Tuesday. And, of course, the Attorney General is a person of incredible integrity, and as long as he can go up there and have his day and talk to the members of Congress -- and he asked for this day to come earlier; that wasn't able to work out, so we'll wait until Tuesday.
Why Dana would obfuscate about this particular issue is beyond me. What are they hiding? What's the bottom line?
Q So he still has his job?Still pleasuring the president, I suppose...
MS. PERINO: He certainly does.