An Afternoon With Rummy, Continued: Liveblogging the Pentagon Briefing (Part 2)

secretary donald rumsfeld.jpgWe've already shared with you the best part of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon briefing: his slap at the saucy Maureen Dowd. But there were some other interesting or amusing moments in today's press conference.

Today's conference didn't seem like a fun one for Secretary Rumsfeld. He stood at the podium looking constipated and squinty, like someone driving on a sunny day without shades. He spent much of the briefing on the defensive, responding to largely hostile questions from the pool (except for that softball about the hostage release -- which he didn't make very much of, strangely enough).

Several of Secretary Rumsfeld's lines cry out for rejoinders (again, these are paraphrased, but they should be pretty close):

"Iraq needs a good government, a competent government, a government that governs from the center."

And what about America?

More choice quotes appear after the jump.

In response to a question about calls for his resignation:

"Those kinds of calls have been going on for five-plus years."

Is that a good thing?

Then there was this exchange:

Reporter: "Secretary Rumsfeld, you're not exactly a spring chicken. But you are in good health, wealthy by many standards..."

Rumsfeld: "What is this about? I thought we were having a press conference!"

Reporter: "Well, have you thought about maybe taking some time off, to stop and smell the roses..."

This struck us as a bit ridiculous -- a reporter trying to cajole the Secretary of State into resigning.

If this were a Hollywood movie, perhaps Rumsfeld might say, "You know, you're right! Today is the first day of the rest of my life!" He would then sprint away from podium and rush off to the airport, to join Condi in the Bahamas. But this isn't the movies. Rumsfeld expressed no interest in retiring:

"No, I'm working hard, getting up every day, thinking what we can do for the troops."

He just needs to get around to actually doing it.

In response to a question about the Administration's dismal poll numbers, Rumsfeld observed:

"Polls do tend to go up and down over time. You can't change your policy every time a poll changes."

Polls: they're just like hemlines!

Finally, in a comment that could be viewed as directed at MoDo, Rumsfeld quipped:

"I'm kind of old-fashioned, I like to engage my brain before I engage my mouth."

We can write MoDo's rejoinder for her: "Rummy should have engaged his brain before he engaged our troops."

See? Being a New York Times columnist isn't that hard!


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