At today’s White House news briefing, WorldNetDaily asked presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer about two people under considerable scrutiny of late: Sen. Trent Lott and Cardinal Bernard Law.

The transcript begins with a question by a correspondent from CBS News about Bush’s comments yesterday in response to Lott’s words about Sen. Strom Thurmond:


CBS: Ari, I’m looking for a clarification here. In saying that what president – that what Sen. Lott said was wrong and didn’t reflect the spirit of the country, but that he shouldn’t resign, the president has made a judgment call here. Now, the clarification that I’m looking for is, what is the judgment call that he made? Was the judgment call that Sen. Lott has changed his attitudes and he has apologized and that’s good enough, or is he comfortable having somebody who holds those attitudes representing his agenda in the United States Senate?

FLEISCHER: The president’s judgment call is that what Sen. Lott said was offensive and that was wrong, that Sen. Lott has, rightly, apologized for it. And that’s what the president shared yesterday. And I think these are some of the issues that will come up later today.

CBS: And that’s good enough for him to put the issue to bed?

FLEISCHER: This is what the president has said.

WND: Ari, on that one, the Democrats in the Senate have never denied chairmanships to a one-time Klan member who just recently used the N-word on TV, nor have they denied it to the senator from Chapaquiddick; and they still honor President Clinton, who in October, strongly praised his mentor, Sen. Fullbright, one of the Senate’s strongest segregationists. And my question, isn’t this double standard one of the reasons that the president did not ask Sen. Lott to step down?

FLEISCHER: Lester, my answer to you is identical to my answers here. The president addressed this yesterday and I’ve answered that question.

WND: OK. In his dedication to law and order, as the nation’s leading law-enforcement officer, you would never deny that the president was grateful that the resignation of Cardinal Law was accepted by Pope John Paul, would you, Ari?

FLEISCHER: Just as I indicated earlier … it’s just not a topic – I haven’t had the chance to talk to the president about it, so I don’t think I can weigh in on it.



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