Exercising the right to say foolish things

By Les Kinsolving

Editor’s note: Each week, WorldNetDaily White House correspondent Les Kinsolving asks the tough questions no one else will ask. And each week, WorldNetDaily brings you the transcripts of those dialogues with the president and his spokesman. If you’d like to suggest a question for the White House, submit it to WorldNetDaily’s exclusive interactive forum MR. PRESIDENT!

Despite the fact that President Bush travels to Baltimore tomorrow afternoon to speak at a reception for Maryland Republican gubernatorial nominee Rep. Bob Ehrlich, presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer was noncommittal today when WND asked him about a debate attack on Ehrlich by Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

WND: Last week, while she was debating Congressman Bob Ehrlich who, as you know, the president is visiting this month, Maryland’s Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend charged that Ehrlich, in her words, “opposes affirmative action based on race. Lynching was based on race. Discrimination is based on race. Jim Crowe was based on race. And affirmative action should be based on race.” End of quote. Question: Does the president agree with Mrs. Townsend, or does he believe it’s wrong to replace Jim Crowe with Crowe Jim – among other reasons, because the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. pleaded that his children could someday be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin?

FLEISCHER: Les, I have not talked directly to the president about any of the issues that you just presented from the Maryland debate, so I really can’t go beyond that.

WND then asked Fleischer about the comments of Rep. James McDermott, D-Wash., in Baghdad over the weekend:

WND: Sen. Torricelli said yesterday, “I’ve done my duty to my country,” even though Mr. Chang, who gave him those illegal gifts, is in prison for doing so, and this year the New Jersey Democrats still nominated Torricelli for re-election to the Senate. Question: The president does not disagree with New Jersey Republicans going to court to keep Torricelli’s name on that ballot, nor does the president disagree with George Will’s comparison of Congressman McDermott in Baghdad to Adolf Hitler’s “Lord Haw Haw,” does he? (Laughter.) …

FLEISCHER: I think it was rather remarkable to see a member of the United States Congress travel to Baghdad, Iraq, to say that Saddam Hussein needs to be believed, while the president of the United States will mislead the American people. And I think it just shows it is certainly the good Congressman’s right to say anything he wants, no matter how foolish. And he exercised that right.


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