Medal of Freedom Spin
Q: The President awarded the Medal of Freedom to George Tenet, among others, just a short time ago. It was Mr. Tenet who told the President that it was a slam-dunk case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq . Has the President simply forgiven Mr. Tenet, or how does that —
MR. McCLELLAN: I appreciate your question, John. This is a day to honor these three individuals for the many contributions they have made to our nation. Each of these individuals have served their country with distinction. These are three individuals who have answered the call to serve. They have worked to liberate some 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq from oppression and tyranny. And they have worked to help transform a very dangerous region in the world that has been a breeding ground for terrorism, a breeding ground for where people hijack planes and flew them into buildings. And we appreciate their great service. And this is a day to pay tribute to them for their service.
A little later on:
Q Scott, does the President consider the intelligence that George Tenet provided him on weapons of mass destruction prior to going into Iraq to have been good intelligence, or to have been faulty intelligence?
MR. McCLELLAN: I stand by what I said earlier — this is a day to pay tribute to all three of these individuals for the great record of accomplishment that each of them have achieved in public service.
Q So was it good —
MR. McCLELLAN: We've answered those questions. Today is a day to pay tribute to these men for the great work that they've done to make America more secure and to make the world a safer and better place. As I pointed out, these individuals have helped transform a very dangerous region of the world that was ignored for some two decades and it became a breeding ground for terrorism —
Q — what part of the record are we supposed to look at?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you get to report what you want, David. But this is a day to pay tribute to these individuals.
Q He has a legitimate question. You can't just whitewash it and say we're not going to talk about that today.
MR. McCLELLAN: But I can say that we've already addressed that issue, and we have.
Q You didn't answer the question, though.
MR. McCLELLAN: We've already addressed the question. Today is a day to pay tribute to these individuals, and we're going to stay focused —
Q I asked a question about something else, about whether the intelligence was good, or whether it was faulty.
MR. McCLELLAN: And we're going to stay focused on honoring these individuals on this day. That's where our focus will be.
Okay then. Spin, spin, spin, spin…