Outed former CIA operative Valerie Plame, along with husband Joseph Wilson, will be guests of ABC News at this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner, to be held April 29 at the Washington Hilton. “It is unlikely she will be seated next to [Robert] Novak, but perhaps [President] Bush may have a good view of her from the dais.”
Just another opportunity for the Bush administration to score some meaningless political points.
Appearing this afternoon on MSNBC’s Hardball, White House Counselor Dan Barlett adamantly denied that anyone in the administration claimed that the Iraq war would lead to lower gas prices. The transcript:
MATTHEWS: [W]e’ve been struck by higher gas prices. That was another promise made, that this war would help us get cheaper gas —
BARTLETT: I don’t think —
MATTHEWS: None of these promises come through.
BARTLETT: That’s not correct, Chris. The president or no one else ever said that this war was going to result in cheaper gas prices…
MATTHEWS: Ok, so just to make it official, Dan, no one in the administration has ever said that we would have cheaper gas because of war in Iraq, just to make it official?
BARTLETT: I don’t recall anybody ever saying that, Chris.
As Matthews noted later in the broadcast, Laurence Lindsey – President Bush’s senior economic advisor at the time — argued in 2002 that the Iraq war would increase oil supplies and lower prices. From the Washington Times, 9/19/02:
As for the impact of a war with Iraq, “It depends how the war goes.” But he quickly adds that that “Under every plausible scenario, the negative effect will be quite small relative to the economic benefits that would come from a successful prosecution of the war.”
“The key issue is oil, and a regime change in Iraq would facilitate an increase in world oil,” which would drive down oil prices, giving the U.S. economy an added boost.
Bartlett is a talented spinmeister but facts are stubborn things.
“Like Bolten’s predecessor, Andrew H. Card Jr., McClellan did not want to go. Although he had talked to colleagues sporadically about departing as long as a year ago, he had planned to stay until after the midterm election. Friends said he had gotten the internal signal and wanted to get it over with.”
UPDATE: AP on Rove’s shift: “Technically, it is a demotion. But in terms of real power and influence, Rove remains virtually unmatched at the White House.”
John Podesta asked today whether Karl Rove would keep his security clearance despite stepping down from his policy post. At today’s press briefing, Scott McClellan provided the answer: “Oh, absolutely, yes.“
Russert: A Source “Close to the President” Told Me Bush “Won’t Fire Rumsfeld Because It Would Be The Equivalent Of Firing Himself.”
Tim Russert revealed two very interesting pieces of information this morning on Don Imus regarding the future of Donald Rumsfeld and his standing in the Pentagon:
1. After Rep. Jack Murtha appeared on Meet the Press and advocated troop withdrawal several officials in the Pentagon called Russert to tell him “Murtha is right.”
2. A source “close to the President” told Russert that Bush “won’t fire Rumsfeld because it would be the equivalent of firing himself.”
Transcript: Read more
Bush’s former deputy press secretary: “Pick me! Pick me!“
The price of a gallon of regular self-serve gas in Brooklyn.
Fox News Anchor Tony Snow is being considered as a replacement for White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Looks like he would fit right in. Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, Snow said that “people complaining about Donald Rumsfeld” were partially to blame for high gas prices. Watch it:
Transcript: Read more
This morning, the White House announced that Karl Rove will step down from his policy post and resume his focus on the midterm elections. An important question has not been asked: Will Rove also give up his security clearance?
To this day, Rove has maintained his security clearance in spite of evidence that he mishandled classified information regarding Valerie Wilson’s position at the CIA. Rove was named as in the indictment of Scooter Libby as “Official A.”
An Executive Order 12958, signed by President Clinton in 1995, states disclosure of an undercover agent is grounds for, at a minimum, losing access to classified information:
Section 5.1: Violation means: any knowing, willful, or negligent action that could reasonably be expected to result in an unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
Section 5.7.d: The agency head, senior agency official, or other supervisory official shall, at a minimum, promptly remove the classification authority of any individual who demonstrates reckless disregard or a pattern of error in applying the classification standards of this order.
In November, Newsweek wrote, “Having his security clearance yanked would not require Rove to resign as deputy chief of staff to President Bush. But it would prevent him from taking part in policymaking that relates to national-security issues, which would mean a much-reduced role in the Bush White House.”
Rove has now resigned his policy-making post and is focusing primarily on politics. Given Rove’s public intentions to make national security the focus of the 2006 elections, the White House should reveal whether Rove will be doing his political job while holding a security clearance.