Scott McClellan: the president on leaks, taxes and gas

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 at 03:44 PM

Proving that you don't stop being a shill just because your time on the job is getting very short, Scott McClellan parried several questions on leaks in today's press briefing at the White House.

Secondly, I'd like to talk a little bit about the President's remarks tomorrow here in Washington. The President, tomorrow, will be making remarks here in Washington on taxes and spending restraint. He will clearly outline the choice in the debate in Washington over taxes and what it means for our economy and for the American people. Our economy is strong and growing. We saw strong growth in the first quarter at 4.8 percent. That followed a 3.5 percent growth in 2005. We have the fastest growing economy of any industrialized nation. We've added jobs for 31 straight months, more than 5.1 million new jobs. Productivity is high, which leads to higher wages. Consumer confidence is at a four-year high. Business confidence is strong and business investment is growing, and home ownership is at record levels.

Upon coming into office, the President cut taxes for all Americans who pay income taxes. We doubled the child tax credit and reduced the marriage penalty. We cut taxes on capital gains and dividends, which is encouraging more business investment. We passed incentives for small businesses to purchase new equipment and hire more workers. The tax relief that the President advocated and passed is working to do exactly what it was intended to do, get the economy growing and help create jobs. To keep our economy strong and growing, the tax relief needs to be made permanent.

Congress is on the verge of taking an important step on tax relief, by completing legislation that would extend cuts on capital gains and dividends, and extend incentives for small businesses to expand. Particularly at a time when Americans are paying more at the pump, the President believes the last thing they need is for Washington to take more of their hard-earned dollars out of their pockets. Many Democrats opposed the tax relief we passed. Most voted against the tax cuts. Now many are in favor of letting the tax cuts expire. The President is determined not to let them take the tax relief we passed away.

[Editor's note: Isn't it nice to know that they've already figured out how to make the price of a gas a reason we need more tax cuts?]
MR. McCLELLAN: The leaking of classified information is a very serious matter, and the President has spoken about that repeatedly. It is of particular concern when information is being leaked that could harm our nation's security.

Q (By Helen Thomas)  By finding out we have secret prisons for torture?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there are laws on the book, and I will let our law enforcement officials talk about the enforcement actions that they are taking.

Q (By Helen Thomas)  But my question is, does the President support the use of these espionage laws against reporters who find out what's going on?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President believes laws should be enforced, and he believes that the leaking of classified information that would be harmful to our nation's security is a very serious matter.

Apparently, if you take McClellan at his word (and why wouldn't you?), the president is of particular concern to the president, because it's becoming clearer all the time that he was involved in okaying the leak of certain information--the pre-war intel excerpts, possibly the decision to release the Zarqawi letter that pissed off the Israelis, possibly the Plame leak.

He's also apparently particularly concerned with his Vice President and his closest adviser, Rove, since they pretty clearly were involved in leaking info about Valerie Plame and it's now pretty clear that she was working on Iran & WMDs at the time that her outing took her off that project.

With all that concern, it shouldn't be any time at all before firings and resignations and hell freezings come flying down the pike.