In today’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was particularly noncommittal and vague about President Bush’s “friendship” with the scandal scalded House Majority Leader Tom DeLay:
QUESTION: You said a couple days ago that, as the president said, he considers Tom DeLay a friend. I actually went back and I never saw the president saying that anywhere. He said he had confidence in Tom DeLay. And I also noticed that Tom DeLay said, when the president was running for the president in 2000 or 1999, that Bush was not a social friend of his. So does Bush consider…
MCCLELLAN: There are a number of congressional leaders that he works closely with on the Hill and he considers a friend. Sure.
QUESTION: And he considers Tom DeLay a friend.
MCCLELLAN: I think there are different levels of friendship with anybody…
No, you referred to social friends. But, no, he certainly is a friend.
QUESTION: What level of friendship are you referring to here…
MCCLELLAN: A friend: The president considers him such. And we support his efforts, along with the efforts of other congressional leaders to move forward on the agenda that the American people want us to enact.