Press Briefing 12/13/05

Scott McClellan: ...and even though it's getting a lot of praise from the critics - most of whom, I hasten to point out, are quite liberal - the president thinks that there is something inherently icky about the whole topic of gay cowboys. And I hasten to agree. So no, Karen, I don't think the president will be watching 'Brokeback Mountain' any time soon.

Reporter: Follow up, Scott. How about 'King Kong'?

SM: Oh, yes. The president is very anxious to see that. All he's wanted to talk about this week is that 'big gorilla'. The studio is sending a print over later today, and he's as excited as a kid at Christmas. As you know, Prime Minister Berlusconi is scheduled to meet with him later today for talks, and the president hopes to make short shrift of it, then head straight to the screening room. Mr. Lanihan?

Q: Speaking of Italy, The Pope has...

SM: Good transition there, Philip.

Q: Thanks. Pope Benedict, as well as a host of other foreign leaders, have issued statements highly critical of the execution of Tookie Williams which took place last night, some going as far as to call it barbaric. I wonder if you know whether the president was at any time tempted to intervene.

SM: You're kidding, right?

Q: No.

SM: Well, I don't think the Pope, or any of these other self-styled experts, have ever overseen the execution of anyone, so they're really speaking from a void. Let me just remind you that President Bush oversaw 150 executions while he was governor. That's fifteen percent of all the executions from the past thirty years by one man in only a six years span. A remarkable feat. So I guess we know who the real expert is. Stretch?

Q: Yes, Scott. In his speech yesterday, the president compared the war in Iraq to the American Revolutionary War. Can you explain in what way that makes any sense at all?

SM: I think that what the president was getting at was, uh, that both events are wars, and a lot of people die in wars, and America was and is involved in both of them, so yes, in many ways they are quite similar. Ms. Thomas?

Q: Scott, a lot of the experts believe that after we begin removing our troops from Iraq, the country will quickly descend into an all out civil war. Would you care to comment?

SM: That's why we are going to keep our troops right in there. Helen, you're just reinforcing what I said a minute ago to Stretch about the similarity between the war in Iraq and the Revolutionary War. If you remember your history, after this country achieved it's independence, it ended up fighting the Civil War. And perhaps if we had had somebody occupying us at the time, that never would have happened. Mr. Carlyle?

Q: Scott, the president told NBC yesterday that, quote, 'I don't feel in a bubble'. Isn't that a rather disingenuous statement? As well as being grammatically incorrect?

SM: Ed, I think you're trying to second guess the president about the bubble that he may or may not be in. He also said that everyday he looked at a newspaper. And it's not just the comics, either. He doesn't even look at those until he's finished with the sports section. Ms. Everett?

Q: Scott, getting back to the holiday movies for a second...


2005, Mark Hoback