Spokesman deflects
query on 2004 race

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!

Principal deputy presidential press secretary Scott McClellan, in conducting the White House daily news briefing during presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer’s one-week honeymoon, would neither confirm nor deny the following assertion made by WorldNetDaily:

WND: The Denver Post reports that former Sen. Gary Hart has announced he is seriously considering running for the presidency in 2004. And my question is, in the event that Sen. Hart’s kindred spirit, President Clinton, were to campaign for Hart, along with DNC Chairman “Jeb Is Gone” McAuliffe, you would not contend that President Bush would be unhappy, would you, Scott?

MCCLELLAN: That’s two or three hypotheticals within a hypothetical. Look, there’s going to be a lot of jockeying for the Democratic nomination. The president’s focus is on moving his agenda. The president’s focus is on the unfinished business that Congress still needs to complete, particularly creating the department of homeland security.

WorldNetDaily also asked a reader’s question posted on the MR. PRESIDENT! interactive forum:

WND: After the U.S. government mint’s Susan B. Anthony coin failed to win any acceptance and was discontinued, the mint spent more than $60 million promoting another coin failure called the Sacagawea, while the U.S. Postal Service has been paying huge sums to primetime television to advertise the fact that they have stamps for sale. And my question is, doesn’t the president care about such outrageous waste? And will he or will he not order it stopped?

MCCLELLAN: I’m really not familiar with all that, Les. That was a lot of information. I’m not sure I even followed it all.

WND: He certainly is opposed to waste.

MCCLELLAN: I’m not sure I even followed it all. He’s for fiscal discipline.

WND: Right, then will he discipline –

MCCLELLAN: And controlling wasteful government spending. He’s made that clear. But I’m not familiar with all the details you got into there.

Later in the briefing, another reporter asked McClellan about recently approved U.N. Resolution 1441 dealing with Iraq. WND’s spontaneous question near the end of the exchange caused McClellan to change the subject.

Q: Can you just be clear on one point? If Saddam does not accept the terms for Resolution 1441 by midnight on Friday, what happens then?

MCCLELLAN: John, I think it’s very clear to Saddam Hussein, very clear to the world what he needs to do. Clearly, that would go against the resolution. This is – and the president indicated earlier – this is a final opportunity for Saddam Hussein to disarm. But again, we’re getting into all sorts of “ifs” and all sorts of hypotheticals, and it’s clear that there are – no more room for games, there’s no more room for cat and mouse, there’s no more room for cheat and retreat, no more deny and deceive. I mean, this is the time for Saddam Hussein to disarm. … There are several deadlines within the resolution. There is this first seven-day deadline, then there’s a 30-day deadline when he has to report what chemical and biological weapons he may possess.

Q: But if he misses the first deadline, what’s the use of the second deadline?

MCCLELLAN: Well, like I said, this is a final opportunity, and he should not be playing any games and not play cat and mouse – not play cat and mouse with the international community.

WND: That’s like a resurrection from the dead, isn’t it?

MCCLELLAN: Let me go back to Ken. …

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