White House Gaggle 15 December, 2006

Originally appearing at Talk Radio News Service

White House Gaggle 15 December, 2006

By Dheeraj Chand

Special Notes

Today was Deputy Press Secretary Tony Frattow’s first gaggle. He was formerly press spokesman at the Department of Treasury. Chatter in the press room said that it was comparable to Scott McClellan’s.

The President’s Schedule

President Bush had a foreign leader call with Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah. They discussed the general political climate and circumstances in the Middle East, their mutual hopes for a two-state, peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Bush expressed his regret that outside actors are interfering with the Iranian nuclear proliferation issue. He had his daily briefings at 7.30 a.m. After his briefings, he’ll be recording his weekly radio address. The topic is the economy, and we can expect that there will be a strong message to Congress on the subject of earmarks. At 8 am, there will be an hour long ceremony for recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Frattow joked that Tony Snow was excited about the ceremony, as it would give him a chance to discuss “guitar pickin’ and slingin” with B.B. King.

After the ceremony, the President will be at the Pentagon for a full armed services review.

Week Ahead

On Tuesday, December 18, there are no public events. On Wednesday, Bush will sign the tax extenders package, which also has all kinds of other legislation attached to it. He will also sign HR 6407: The Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. On Thursday, there are no public events. On Friday, President and Mrs. Bush will attend a holiday service project at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He will then leave for Camp David, where they will spend Christmas. They will leave for Crawford, TX, on the 26th of December, returning to D.C. on the New Year.

The Pentagon Ceremony

During the Q&A, Frattow informed us that Bush was expected to praise Rumsfeld at the ceremony, and to thank him for his six years of service and vision in restructuring and modernizing the military.

The Iraq Body Count

Helen Thomas wanted to know if the President was made aware with any regularity of the number of Iraqis who were injured or killed. Frattow had no answer.

Secretary of State Rice’s Statements about Syria

Frattow clarified that Secretary of State Rice said nothing new about the United States’ diplomatic position towards Syria and Iran, and that furthermore, the White House was not going to comment on specific recommendations of the ISG.

The Iraq Study Group

When asked about Bush’s plans to learn more before the Iraq policy speech, Frattow told us that there were no public events, but that Bush met with his military and diplomatic advisors with great frequency. The White House had no information on what other allied governments think of the Iraq Study Group’s report, but Bush and Blair have discussed it.

Saddam Hussein’s Nephew

Saddam Hussein’s favorite nephew escaped from prison this summer, and now wants to lead the Baathist rejectionists in Iraq. The White House had no comment on this.

Governor Bill Richardson

Frattow didn’t know that Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) was meeting with North Korean officials, and as such, had no comment.

Same-sex parenting

When asked whether or not Bush had flip-flopped on the issue of same-sex parenting, Frattow said that he had no idea on previous statements, but that the entire White House was happy for the Cheneys. He then tried to avoid the question by saying that the President believed in marriage being a unique institution between a man and a woman.

When asked whether or not Bush had flip-flopped on the issue of same-sex parenting, Frattow said that he had no idea on previous statements, but that the entire White House was happy for the Cheneys. He then tried to avoid the question by saying that the President believed in marriage being a unique institution between a man and a woman.

Congrats to Selectah vanBrackle!

My dear, dear friend Greta gave birth to her son Oliver last night! Congrats, GMV!

-dx

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