We join today's White House press briefing, currently in progress:

Scott McClellan: "...the letter that Zawahiri sent to Zarqawi. They said this is the central front in the war on terrorism. The terrorists recognize that; so do we. That's why it's so important we succeed there. Does that answer your question, Helen?"

Ms. Thomas: "No it doesn't, Scott. You're just..."

SM: "Ms. Schaeffer."

Ms. Schaeffer: "Yes, Scott. I was very concerned about the joke that the president made last night while lighting the national Christmas tree. He was talking about the season of hope and joy, and he admonished the American people to 'remember the story of one humble life that lifted the sights of humanity'. And we all thought that he was talking about Jesus, of course, but then he went on to thank Santa Clause. How can the president justify this sort of statement in the middle of the war on Christmas?"

SM: "Well, Donna, the president mentions Jesus quite frequently, but this was not one of those times. I assure you that he did not mean any disrespect, and that he was just aiming for a little levity."

Ms. Schaeffer: "That wasn't the right thing..."

SM: "Mr. Blackwell."

Mr. Blackwell: "Where on earth did you dredge up such a hideous tree?"

SM: "Beg your pardon?"

Mister Blackwell: "That dreadful Christmas tree, Scott. I was shocked, almost speechless. Not quite, mind you, but I was most appalled to be seeing something that in a better world I should not have been seeing. Doesn't anybody around here know how to decorate? Why, that thing looked more like a huge golden condom than it looked like a tree."

SM: "Really? I mean, you're the fashion expert here, but I... The first lady said she thought it was stunning."

Mister Blackwell: Oh my God, stunning would be the correct word for it. That tree would make Paris Hilton look glamorous by comparison. Take a message to Laura, Scott. You don't have to cover every square inch with baubles and lights. Sometimes it's what you don't see that's important.

SM: ".................................................Mr. Legrand."

Mr. Legrand: "Scott, I'm sure that I am not alone in being very grateful for the invitation to what used to be the Christmas party for the media, but which now reads, 'A Holiday Reception'. Given the recent statement by Speaker Hastert emphasizing Christmas..."


2005, Mark Hoback