QUESTION: I’m sure President Ford was aware of those. In every speech he gives, President Bush invokes the atrocities of 9/11 and he talks about how that event has impressed on him a determination to always honor the victims of those atrocities in his daily conduct of his office. And I wonder if you could explain with some serious Texan straight talk here, Scott, how it is honoring the victims of 9/11 to restrict the questioning of the President on this subject to one hour?
McCLELLAN: I hope you’ll talk about the unprecedented cooperation that we’re providing to the commission when you report this, James. Because if you look back at what we’ve done, it is unprecedented. We have provided more than 2 million pages of documents. We provided more than 60 compact discs of radar, flight and other information; more than 800 audio cassette tapes of interviews and other materials; more than 100 briefings, including at the head-of-agency level; more than 560 interviews. So this administration is cooperating closely and in an unprecedented way with the 9/11 Commission, because their work is very important.
Yes their work is very important - but not important enough for the President to do more than “visit with them for an hour”.
I was raised on a very simple premise: “If you’ve nothing to hide, then you’ve nothing to fear”. I can’t get over the feeling that there’s something being hidden here.
McCLELLAN: And the President is pleased to sit down with the chairman and vice chairman to provide them with the information they need to do their job. And we believe …
QUESTION: Why only one hour? Why only one hour?
McCLELLAN: – we believe that he can provide them the necessary information in this private meeting.
Yes I suppose precedent is important, we can’t have Congress dragging the President into inquisitions all the time. But on the other hand, why not? If the President has nothing to hide, he should be more than willing to spend a few hours answering questions. Oh, what’s that? He doesn’t have time? He’s a busy man? Well he has time to travel the country giving stump speeches and raising campaign fundage - seems he’d have a few hours to “visit” with Congress, especially on a subject that’s “very important”.
McCLELLAN: Keep in mind there are separation of powers issues involved when you’re talking about a legislatively created body.
It’s Congress’ job to oversee the Executive branch, therefore it’s the President’s job to be overseen. Where does a President get off defining the rules whereby he can or cannot be interviewed by his overseers? Has the Presidency really become a monarchy with the Congress simply serving as lackeys?
Something really stinks here. There’s more than the usual stonewalling going on - either the GOP is just flat out paranoid or they’re guilty of something truly heinous.