Reporters Jump on Scotty about Cheney Shooting

Raw Story has the transcript of this morning's press conference which is not up yet on the White House website. Crooks and Liars has the video.

As to how the report of the shooting became public:

MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, I think you can always look at -- you can always look back at these issues and look at how to do a better job.

Q Well, but let's not -- it's not really a hindsight issue here. I mean, the vice president made a decision about how the public should be notified. It basically is at odds with the standard practice of how the president's own press operation in this White House notifies the public, isn't that right?

MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, again, this was handled by the vice president's office. The vice president thought that Mrs. Armstrong should be the first one to give that information out since she was an eye-witness --

Q Let's just be clear here. The vice president of the United States accidentally shoots a man, and he feels that it's appropriate for a ranch owner who witnessed this to tell the local Corpus Christi newspaper and not the White House press corps at large, or notify the public in a national way?

MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, I think we all know that once it is made public, then it's going to be news and all of you are going to be seeking that information. And the Vice President's Office was ready to provide additional information to reporters. There was no traveling White House press corps with the vice president, as there is with the president in a situation like this.

On Cheney's refusal to be interviewed by the Texas Sheriff:

Q Scott? Scott, there's a report coming out of a sheriff's deputy there who said that he was prevented from interviewing the vice president by the Secret Service. Do you know anything about that? And is that appropriate?

MR. MCCLELLAN: No, I don't know anything about that. You ought to direct that to the Secret Service. My understanding was the Secret Service took the appropriate steps to inform law enforcement.

On when Scotty learned of it:

MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, in terms of my involvement, first of all, Saturday night I found out that there was a hunting accident. It was late Saturday night. But it was a member in his party. But I did not know who was involved in that hunting accident. It wasn't until very early Sunday morning that I found out that the vice president was involved in this accident. And of course, in a position like mine, I was urging that that information be made available as quickly as possible, and the Vice President's Office was working to get that information out.

Q So as of Saturday night, you didn't know, the White House did not know that Vice President Cheney --

MR. MCCLELLAN: No, there were details coming in throughout that night and into the morning. I mean, there was additional information coming in at 3:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the morning and even after that. So.

Q But again, Saturday night you did not know the vice president was involved; you just thought someone from his hunting party?

MR. MCCLELLAN: I personally was informed by the Situation Room that there had been a hunting accident and that it was a member of the vice president's hunting party, but I didn't have additional information than that at this point. Obviously, I asked questions about was -- is he okay and who was involved, and they didn't have those facts at that point.

Q So it was Sunday morning you first learned that it was the vice president.

MR. MCCLELLAN: Early Sunday morning, that's correct.

There's lots more on the very shaky timeline, it's well worth reading the whole thing.

Atrios points out this part:

Why was the White House relying on a Texas rancher to get the word of Cheney's hunting accident out over the weekend, asked Gregory, accusing McClellan of "ducking and weaving.''

""David, hold on... the cameras aren't on right now,'' McClellan replied. "You can do this later.''

"Don't accuse me of trying to pose to the cameras,'' the newsman said, his voice rising somewhat. "Don't be a jerk to me personally when I'm asking you a serious question.''

"You don't have to yell,'' McClellan said.

"I will yell,'' said Gregory, pointing a finger at McCellan at his dais. "If you want to use that podium to try to take shots at me personally, which I don't appreciate, then I will raise my voice, because that's wrong.''

''Calm down, Dave, calm down,'' said McClellan, remaining calm throughout the exchange.

"I'll calm down when I feel like calming down,'' Greogry said. "You answer the question.'

"I have answered the question,'' said McClellan, who had maintained that the vice president's office was in charge of getting the information out and worked with the ranch owner to do that. "I'm sorry you're getting all riled up about.''

"I am riled up,'' Gregory said, "because you're not answering the question,''

McClellan insisted he understood that reporters deserve an answer.

"I think you have legitimate questions to ask,'' the press secretary said. "The vice president's office was the one that took the lead to get this information out... I don't know what else to tell you... That's my answer.''

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    Re: Reporters Jump on Scotty about Cheney Shooting (none / 0) (#1)
    by aw on Mon Feb 13, 2006 at 01:41:52 PM EST
    Are David Gregory and Helen Thomas the only ones left who won't take BS for an answer from this administration?