Saturday, April 17, 2004

Funny as Scottie Mac's gaffes on the 15th were, they can't compare to this mind-boggling series of exchanges:

Q So he did ask him to draw up invasion plans in November of 2001?

MR. McCLELLAN: You're talking about the late period of November, when things were winding down in Afghanistan. He did talk to Secretary Rumsfeld about planning related to Iraq.

Q And that would include an invasion?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, let me walk back, let's talk about planning versus the actual decision, because as I said, there is a difference there.

Remember that when we came into office, the President was talking about Iraq very early on. He talked about the threat posed by Iraq from the very early period in this administration. In fact, the very first time that the President and Prime Minister Blair met, they talked about how the sanctions on Iraq were not effective and how they weren't working. And they talked about the importance of Iraq complying with all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. That was back in February of 2001.


Q Can I ask you one other question about this Woodward book? And I'm just curious if, with this book now, and then the similar -- there was the allegation by Richard Clarke that there was an obsession with Iraq. I wonder if there's a danger that there becomes an impression that you guys were obsessed with Iraq?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's just not the case.

Thinking about Iraq constantly from the moment they took office, and ignoring any evidence that they were no longer worth worrying about? Sure. But obsessed? That's just crazy talk.

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