Scott McClellan feels the heat

As I correctly predicted yesterday, the White House Press Secretary was beseiged today by a question that may end up rocking the administration later this week:

Q Scott, two quick questions. Remembering Miss Rosa Parks. Then in 1955 it was like Mahatma Ghandi in South Africa, same thing happened to him. And during her time, there was very little or not many immigrants in the U.S., but today we have millions of immigrants from all over the globe. What message do you think President will have today as far as civil rights moments

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, the President just spoke about her passing a short time ago in his remarks to the spouses of our military officers from all the branches of our military. And the President talked about what a remarkable women she was, and how courageous she was. She is someone who changed America for the better. She is an inspiration to generations, and we mourn her passing.

Q Second question is on the — now again, most of Indian-American community thankful to the President for initiating — or did initiate the Diwali Festival of Lights at the White House. Now it will be next Wednesday, November 1st, when millions across India and America will — Indians will be celebrating the festival around the globe, including at the White House here. What they are saying in the Indian American community, really, just like President initiates prayers with other groups here in the White House, like Muslims and Jews, and all that, that they are requesting him, please, to the President, this time, that if he can take a few moments and be there at part of the White House Festival of Lights on Wednesday, November 1st.

MR. McCLELLAN: On Wednesday, November 1st? Well, we’ll update you on the President’s schedule later this week.

How much do you want to bet that Goyal was the one who asked that question?  I wonder if he reads us?  Keep it locked onto SM for minute by minute news and analysis of this growing scandal.  I am considering launching my own “Special Counsel website” focusing on just this issue.  The truth is that I don’t care one way or the other whether Bush celebrates Diwali.  I just like raging against the machine. I’m good at it.

16 thoughts on “Scott McClellan feels the heat

  1. I actually REALLY HATE how White House Press conference transcripts don’t show who’s asking the question when it’s clearly often important, and even often part of the conversation–McLellan is very obviously sometimes addressing specific people, but you have no idea who they are. It’s a pain to try and find video and also know who people are, and since they all have badges (or they wouldn’t be there) it doesn’t seem like it would be THAT hard for someone–either in the press office or from the pool–to label the transcript. I think this helps the press get away with softball questions longer. It’s only when the Daily Show decides to highlight this or that absurdity does the press gaggle get any real person-specific scrutiny. Wonkette does a decent job, considering, but it should all just be there in the transcript.

    /end of inside baseball media criticism rant. 🙂

  2. FYI, so ppl don’t think that was a gratuitous link for free republic, they be talkin’ about diwali. didn’t read more than a few comments. seemz mostly unawarz.

  3. hahaha… okay so i started reading the post… about 1/2 through the 2nd question i’m like… who in the White House Press corps would ask such a weird question [only b/c i feel like ppl would be asking things about the 2000th soldier who died today in Iraq or something]… and my guess was Goyal… i keep reading and apparently i’m not a moron b/c Abhi did too!


  4. Once again Goyal uncle, rises to the task and wrests with the real issues and dilemmas plaguing Indians and Indian-Americans. Will the Prez play with the little patakhas? Or will he light the sparklers instead? Will the First Lady sing Om Jaya Jagadeesha Hare? Or merely clap in tune to it, her head swaying side to side in unison with other married, saree-clad, White House women? Or what if the President decides not to attend the White House Diwali Dhamaka Party (special guests Falguni Pathak and PennMasala)? Can we call it Diwaligate already? Or perhaps Patakhagate? Is Deepavaligate too formal? Festivaloflightsgate is a bit too long…na?

  5. just a quick comment about your commentary. when rosa parks first refused to get up, there were tons of immigrants in this country. the year is 1955, remember? you have tens of thousands of children who fought in wwII that are first generation italian-americans, irish-americans, polish-americans and many others, which means that their parents just recently moved to the u.s. i know i’m nitpicking, but to forget that the giant working class that basically built this country in the early 1900’s were all immigrants, while the old established white gentry of the 1800’s made their pockets fatter (much like they still do) would be a shame. while our struggle is different, the asian-american experience in this country can benefit greatly from close study of the immigrant experience in the early 1900’s.

  6. krishna, strictly speaking your facts are correct, but let’s be clear here, in 1924 the USA put a stop to most immigration, and what was left was skewed toward northwest europeans. between 1924 and 1965 there was the ‘great pause,’ and the period after world war ii was when ‘ethnic’ GIs, whose parents as you note correctly might have been immigrants (or the children of immigrants, the irish catholic waves stretched between 1850 and 1900 for example) became ‘white’ and like the ‘rest of us.’ this was the era when catholic priests were lionized in movies and jews became part of the religious establishment. this was, in short, a question of becoming american, and moving past the immigrant experience and life (ethnic parish churches, yiddish culture clubs, etc.). also, i am not one who thinks it prudent to neglect the founding population of this country, who were here before 1776, and shaped region cultures which immigrants slotted themselves into (i.e., john kerry is a half-jewish roman catholic boston brahmin, g.w. bush might be mostly yankee puritan by ancestry, but he expresses the sensibilities of the southern scotch-irish). they still formed the majority, and they still led this country and fought in its wars and helped define its culture (you might be curious for example that in some ways secular jews allied with the WASP elite against roman catholic religious philosophy and public policy, but with the roman catholics against the WASPs when it came to the klan, again, a question of tactics and not idealized strategy). to some extent i believe the cultural elite does emphasize the 1900ish great wave because of the influential russian jewish origin intelligensia which can trace its genesis to this period. this graph shows absolute numbers of immigrants, note that population was far smaller initially for this nation so the earlier waves needed to be weighted accordingly.

  7. Then in 1955 it was like Mahatma Ghandi in South Africa, same thing happened to him

    Gandhi died in 1948 – or is the sentence referring to something else?

  8. Oh no…you didn’t mispell “Gandhi.”

    Oh nooooooo.

    Well, “Masale wallah” clearly don’t know yer brain enough to know you know better. A heartfelt “duh” on your behalf.

    Now, a tiny bird (ok, it was Mona) tells me that there will be an SM gathering in North Beach on Sunday?

    Details, please. Your favorite DC transplant needs brown surround sound.

  9. incidentally, Diwali is on TUESDAY November 1st.

    Hey DesiDancer, looks like Goyal heard you. From today:

    Go ahead, Goyal. Q First, quick correction — the Festival of Lights in the White House will be on Tuesday, not Wednesday. Now, my question is — MR. McCLELLAN: Let’s go to quick question because we’ve got the President’s remarks coming up so I can get to a few others. Q — quick question is that the President spoke on Iraq now the 2,000 died and all. I’m sure that no President wants to see that any one of its citizens will be or should be killed anywhere on this earth, including in Iraq. And this President doing his best to free — Q — quick question. Q Question. Q The question is that, who are those people who are killing in Iraq? Where they are coming from, those terrorists that — they are killing Americans and Iraqis? MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I actually just talked about that in response to Carl’s question at the beginning of my question period. So I think I’d refer you back to that. The President talked about it at length yesterday, and talked about the nature of the enemy that we’re facing there. And in terms of the sacrifice that is being made, there is tremendous sacrifice that is being made to lay the foundation of peace for our children and grandchildren. We mourn the loss of every one of our men and women in uniform who have lost their life in Afghanistan and in Iraq as they carry out the global war on terrorism. Our men and women in uniform are doing an outstanding job, and they understand the importance of the mission that they’re working to complete. And we will be forever grateful, particularly for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedoms and lay the foundation of peace for generations to come. Sarah, go ahead.
  10. Well Scott does have the toughest job in the White House. I mean, everyone goes screws up and its upto the press secretary to convince the journalists that “it was” for a good case.

  11. Now while Goyal will always be Goyal, my quick question to y’all is – are there any decent and articulate reporters out there representing the Indian media at the White House? I hope he is not all we have to show for.

    On a side note: I am not sure if anyone here watches BBC World, but it was doing an India exclusive report this whole last week. And in the BBC Hard Talk segment (which I think is absolutely amazing) this guy Stephen Sackur (real hard ass interviewer) interviewed a bunch of ppl including Varun Gandhi. And I tell you that this Gandhi lad has got potential. There were times in the interview where the questions were so pressing, and at times personal, that most people would have lost it, but not this chap!

  12. Who hired this goyal guy? He’s a nut. The administration must pay him to be around. I would love to hear some peer opinions on him.

    To continue on the side note, OYBBB, thanks for turning me onto hardtalk. I just saw the interview – I’m gonna hunt for other interviews by Stephen Sackur. They really ask pointed questions across the pond, no couching crap in crapola! For some reason I had not come across this news of Menaka’s son joining BJP at all. At 25, I thought he handled himself quite well. Politics is indeed in his genes.