Fleischer queried on protest against him

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!

When presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer returned to speak and be honored at his alma mater, Middlebury College in a small town in Vermont, he was greeting by hundreds of protesters – a story that received virtually no national media coverage.

At today’s White House news briefing, WorldNetDaily asked Fleisher:

WND: The Associated Press reports that on Sunday in Middlebury, Vt., where you gave a speech and were given an alumni achievement award, there were more than 500 protesters.

FLEISCHER: Oh, it was more than that. (Laughter.)

WND: WVMT in Burlington reports that you thoughtfully pointed out that their protest banner was posted backwards, and you also told them, “The hardest part of my job is knowing what not to say.” And my question: How could you tell them this when you so often “do not say” with such evident skill?

FLEISCHER: (Laughter.) Well, in keeping with the spirit of not saying anything, Les, let’s go to Dave. (Laughter.)

WND: No, wait a minute –

FLEISCHER: And on the poster, I was just trying to be helpful.

WND: When the chairman of The New York Times, Pinch Sulzberger, was asked at a shareholders’ meeting –


FLEISCHER: That’s Punch.

WND: No, it’s Pinch. Punch was the father. I’m a shareholder of The New York Times. He was asked, could you explain to us why you fired a renowned editor named Abe Rosenthal? And Sulzberger replied, “That is a personnel matter on which I will not comment.” And my question is, since the Times refused to report this Sulzberger refusal to provide information, do you believe it was fair of this newspaper to report of you: “White House keeps a grip on its news”?

FLEISCHER: Well, given the fact that The New York Times is the next person I was about to call on for a question, we’ll go right to The New York Times for a question.

WND: A dodge. That’s an evasion, Ari.

TIMES REPORTER: No, the evasion will be me. (Laughter.)

FLEISCHER: Do you have a question I can evade? (Laughter.)

Fleisher and a number of White House reporters tried to correct WND on Sulzberger’s nickname, which they claim is “Punch,” not “Pinch.”

But Punch was this present young New York Times chairman’s father. The current one has been nicknamed “Pinch” – a nickname he reportedly does not appreciate any more than he appreciates embarrassing questions about why Abe Rosenthal was fired.

WND was seated at this White House news briefing right next to David Sanger of the New York Times, who apparently has a better sense of humor than Pinch.

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