Tuesday, July 12, 2005

That Bites, Scott

It’s been a while — more that five years now — but it looks like the White House press corps is getting its bite back.

The White House went on the defensive today amid a barrage of questions from Democrats and reporters about the presidential adviser Karl Rove and whether he had disclosed the name of a covert intelligence operative in retaliation for criticism of the administration’s Iraq policy.

President Bush’s chief spokesman, Scott McClellan, declined to repeat his earlier assertions that Mr. Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff, had nothing to do with leaking the name of the operative, Valerie Plame of the Central Intelligence Agency, to get back at her husband, a former United States ambassador who had publicly challenged Bush administration policy.

Nor would Mr. McClellan repeat his earlier statements that any White House staff person who had leaked the name should be fired.

“The president directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren’t going to comment on it while it is ongoing,” Mr. McClellan said at a news briefing.


Mr. McClellan declined repeatedly, in response to hostile questions, to go beyond his statements that he could not discuss the Plame affair while the investigation into the disclosure of her name was continuing. Mr. McClellan would not budge even as he was reminded of his, and the president’s, previous expressions of confidence in Mr. Rove.

Scott McClellan is finding out it’s a dog-eat-dog world and he’s wearing Milkbone underwear.