PRIME MINISTER MALIKI: (via interpreter) In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate; my meeting with the Vice President of the United States, Mr. Dick Cheney, was positive and serious.Do you think Cheney winced when Maliki used the word Allah as he referred to his god?
This trip should raise two questions for the American people: 1) What's the purpose of this "visit?" And 2) Who's in charge of the Iraq conflagration, Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney?
Q Cheney's visit to Baghdad today, what's the purpose of it?This makes me wonder, if we can't fix NOLA, how can we fix Iraq?
MR. SNOW: Well -- what's the purpose of it? He's there -- he's meeting with General Petraeus, he's meeting with the Prime Minister, he's meeting with key officials in Baghdad. And one of the things he's doing is not only reiterating support, but also saying something that I think a lot of Americans realize, which is it really is time for action; we're here to help, let's get going.
Q Is there going to be kind of warnings about the political situation in the United States, how political support over here is waning?
MR. SNOW: You know, I think what you -- you've got to be careful what you try -- because you're dealing with a sovereign government that has it's own political concerns, but on the other hand, I'm sure the Vice President -- look, when the President talks to the Prime Minister, they're candid with each other. They're also practical. The point here is not to engage in stagecraft, it's to engage in statesmanship. It is to find ways to work with this government so they can do things that are going to build confidence with the Iraqi people in terms of developing national unity and national capability, and certainly also developing confidence with the American people, as well.
Meanwhile, the President proves once again that he doesn't know how to negotiate as his spokesmodel threatens another Veto. Such is the challenge for a man who had his way with Congress for so long. When they no longer bend over and take it up the ass for the American people, the President proves that he is as adroit a politician as he is at insulting the Queen of England.
Q A quick question on Iraq. It seems like the House Democrats' plan is taking shape to fund the war in the short-term for a few months and then require a progress report before releasing more money. What's the administration's position on that?Shouldn't the president be practicing some powerful diplomacy or does he have to always go to extremes to get anything political accomplished. With out his "majority" in Congress, he's lost. He may not think it's healthy for "America," but when he suggest that, he really means it's not healthy for the W, Rove and Co.
MR. SNOW: The bill that was at least being whipped yesterday contains elements of the bill the President vetoed already, and if it were to come to his desk, it would be vetoed.
We continue to have conversations with members of the House and Senate, trying to put together something that's acceptable. But again, you take a look, there are a number of spending items, there are also some of the restrictions. Again, this is what we saw yesterday at the end of the day, at any rate. And certainly conditions that were a part of a veto message the first time are still going to be vetoed if they were to come back.
Q Make sure I'm clear on that. As you understand the bill as it's working through the process, the President would veto it?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Disagreement and powerful diplomacy is what built this country, and I don't want ideas that can stand that test executed on my behalf, thank you very much. The fact that W and his host of GOP supporters can't craft an amenable solution is very telling.