Some recent comedic gems from the Bush administration:

(1) Asked about the idea that our soldiers would be ‘welcomed as liberators’ in Iraq, President Bush said:

“I think we are welcomed. But it was not a peaceful welcome.”

Ah, yes: just another one of those non-peaceful welcomes, like the Russian welcome of Napoleon, or the Lakota welcome of Custer at Little Big Horn.

(2) A few days ago, Condoleeza Rice said that “the United States prohibits “cruel and inhumane and degrading treatment” of suspects, “whether they are in the United States or outside of the United States.”” Asked whether this represents a policy shift, a senior State Department official said:

“Do not read this in a tortured, convoluted and contrived way.”

Yes, but can we read it in a way that, while undoubtedly painful, does not make Dr. Rice’s remarks feel a degree of suffering equivalent to organ failure or the loss of a limb? What if a CIA agent, in an undisclosed location outside the US, gives the reading in question? What if we just shut her remarks up in an unheated room on the middle of the Afghan winter, or waterboard them? Would that be OK? Would feeding her remarks lemon chicken make it all better?

(3) As we know, Bush has refused to answer any questions at all about the leak of Valerie Plame’s name on the grounds that it might compromise an ongoing investigation. Does he know who leaked her name? No comment. Does he still have confidence in Karl Rove? No comment. What does the President think of Karl Rove’s taste in suits? No comment. Does Karl Rove even exist, or is he some sort of collective nightmare? No comment. Anything Bush or any member of the administration says — anything at all — might compromise Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation; and, as we all know, George W. Bush is too deeply concerned with letting justice take its course, and with the integrity of judicial investigations, to say a word.

So this was a surprise:

“President Bush said on Wednesday that he thought Representative Tom DeLay, under indictment in Texas, was innocent and that he hoped Mr. DeLay could return to the post of House majority leader.

In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Bush broke with his usual practice of avoiding direct comment on pending criminal investigations to express his faith in Mr. DeLay, who was forced by party rules to step aside as majority leader after being indicted in September on charges of funneling corporate campaign contributions to Republican candidates for the Texas Legislature.”

I’m with Reddhedd on this one:

“Um, hello??!?? The President of the United States and former Governor of the State of Texas says he thinks that Tom Delay is innocent to a national news outlet after a presiding judge has just ruled that the charge stands as proper to be tried by a jury of Delay’s peers. Did he or his staff even stop to think about the consequences of this public display of affection for Delay? Has anyone explained to the Preznit the meaning of the words “jury tampering?””

But here comes the funny part: Scott McClellan was asked about this in today’s press briefing, and guess what? He refused to answer, on the grounds that that would constitute commenting on the Plame investigation:

“Q Scott, the President told Brit Hume that he thought that Tom DeLay is not guilty, even though the prosecution is obviously ongoing. What does the President feel about Scooter Libby? Does he feel that Mr. Libby —

MR. McCLELLAN: A couple of things. First of all, the President was asked a question and he responded to that question in the interview yesterday, and made very clear what his views were. We don’t typically tend to get into discussing legal matters of that nature, but in this instance, the President chose to respond to it. Our policy regarding the Fitzgerald investigation and ongoing legal proceeding is well-known and it remains unchanged. And so I’m just not going to have anything further to say. But we’ve had a policy in place for a long time regarding the Fitzgerald investigation.

Q Why would that not apply to the same type of prosecution involving Congressman DeLay?

MR. McCLELLAN: I just told you we had a policy in place regarding this investigation, and you’ve heard me say before that we’re not going to talk about it further while it’s ongoing.

Q Well, if it’s prejudging the Fitzgerald investigation, isn’t it prejudging the Texas investigation with regard to Congressman DeLay?

MR. McCLELLAN: Again, I think I’ve answered your question.”

Gotta love those guys in the White House — they’re such kidders.

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