Saturday, October 29, 2005

What Helen Thomas Said

Bill Maher has referred to Helen Thomas's famous question for the past two weeks because of its incredible reasonableness, but in case you don't know, here's the transcript.

Remember the background:

On September 30, 2003, in Chicago:, Bush told reporters:

THE PRESIDENT: There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is.... I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business...

Q Yesterday we were told that Karl Rove had no role in it --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q -- have you talked to Karl and do you have confidence in him --

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action.

On June 10, 2004, after the G8 summit:

Q Given -- given recent developments in the CIA leak case, particularly Vice President Cheney's discussions with the investigators, do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name?

THE PRESIDENT: That's up to --

Q And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

But... on July 18, 2005, in a press conference with the Prime Minister of India:

THE PRESIDENT: ...If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration.

Clearly, the needle on the President's moral compass was spinning wildly.

That same day, the press hammered Scott McClellan at the press briefing. McClellan had been hiding behind a refusal to comment until the investigation was complete, but the reporters correctly pointed out that Scott had been talking a blue streak before, and wondered, as they had for weeks, why the shift.

And then McClellan called on the great Helen Thomas, who said it beautifully:

Q What is his problem? Two years, and he can't call Rove in and find out what the hell is going on? I mean, why is it so difficult to find out the facts? It costs thousands, millions of dollars, two years, it tied up how many lawyers? All he's got to do is call him in.

MR. McCLELLAN: You just heard from the President. He said he doesn't know all the facts. I don't know all the facts.

Q Why?

MR. McCLELLAN: We want to know what the facts are. Because --

Q Why doesn't he ask him?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'll tell you why, because there's an investigation that is continuing at this point, and the appropriate people to handle these issues are the ones who are overseeing that investigation. There is a special prosecutor that has been appointed. And it's important that we let all the facts come out. And then at that point, we'll be glad to talk about it, but we shouldn't be getting into --

Q You talked about it to reporters.

MR. McCLELLAN: We shouldn't be getting into prejudging the outcome. [to another reporter] Go ahead.

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