White House Loses Confidence in Rove

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, 7/12/05:

Q Well, he has spoken about these questions that have come up as part of a leak investigation. So does he retain confidence in Karl Rove, specifically?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes. Any individual who works here at the White House has the President’s confidence. They wouldn’t be working here if they didn’t have the President’s confidence.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Today:

JESSICAL YELLIN: Does the president still have full confidence in Karl Rove?

MCCLELLAN: Yeah, Jessica, this is asking questions all in the context of an ongoing investigation and —

YELLIN: He is one of the the president’s chief advisors. Does he have confidence is his —

MCCLELLAN: Karl continues to do his duties as deputy chief and staff and chief advisor to the president, and you’re trying to ask a question in the context of an ongoing investigation. The president has made it very clear that we’re not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. What we’re going to do is support the efforts of the special prosecutor.

Of course, on July 12, the investigation was ongoing as well. The question remains the same. The situation remains the same. It’s the White House’s attitude about Karl Rove that’s changed.

UPDATE: The Washington Post’s Jim VandeHei calls McClellan on it —

VANDEHEI: Are you saying that — CIA leak aside — you can’t say that the president has full confidence in Karl Rove?

MCCLELLAN: Uh, maybe you didn’t hear what I was saying earlier, I said what I said previously still —

VANDEHEI: What did you say previously?

MCCLELLAN: You can go back and look at it. I’ll be glad to share with you the transcript when that question came up last time.

VANDEHEI: So he does have full confidence?

MCCLELLAN: I’ve already addressed that Jim.

VANDEHEI: If you’ve already addressed that, why cant you repeat it for me?

MCCLELLAN: Why do you keep asking a question I’ve already answered when —

VANDEHEI: Because I don’t know the answer —

MCCLELLAN: No, because you’re asking the question in the context of an ongoing investigation, and it’s really easy to go look at the transcripts and pull that information.

VANDEHEI: That’s why I said set the leak aside. Just in general, are you refusing to say —

MCCLELLAN: Yes, I stand by that answer.

VANDEHEI: Number two, since you won’t answer that question —

MCCLELLAN: I did answer that question.

McClellan points out what we already know, that he previously said Bush had full confidence in Rove. What he won’t do is repeat it. That’s what’s significant.