In this White House pool report: So much for pounding the President over Rove's employment future, at least a direct pounding. (Insert Jeff Gannon joke here.) Bush took two questions at his press availability this morning: "[O]ne on the U.S.-Singapore agreement and the other on the Supreme Court vacancy." As Bush was leaving, someone apparently remembered something about some leak deal and shouted a "question about whether he intended to dismiss Karl Rove," which Bush did not answer.
Next time, guys, try putting a string around your finger.
We imagine they'll be tougher on Scott McClellan at today's afternoon briefing. He's smaller than they are.
Full report after the jump.
From: White House Press Releases
Date: July 12, 2005 11:02:51 AM EDT
Subject: POOL REPORT #1, 7/12/05
Reply-To: White House Press Releases
Pool Report #1, 7/12/05
Press Availability with Singapore Prime Minister
Summary: Leaders hail security agreement, Bush welcomes Supreme Court suggestions but stays mum on Karl Rove.
We were escorted into the Oval Office at 9:50 a.m. President Bush and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong were seated a few feet apart in matching blue and beige striped armchairs, in front of the white marble fireplace and portrait of George Washington. Both wore dark navy suits and light blue shirts; Bush's tie was light blue, Lee's red. Both kept their legs straight and feet planted on the floor during the 10-minute press availability. On an end table next to Bush was a sheet of white paper with notes that appeared to have been written with a black Sharpie pen. After Bush made his introductory remarks, he reached over from his seat and shook Lee's hand energetically.
Bush and Lee praised the "strategic framework" document they had just signed, and said it went beyond previous U.S.-Singapore accords that emphasized economic relations. Among other things, they said the new agreement would allow Singapore to increase its participation in the war on terrorism. "The prime minister and I share a clear vision of the world in which we live when it comes to terrorism," Bush said.
Only two questions were taken, one on the U.S.-Singapore agreement and the other on the Supreme Court vacancy.
Bush said he was "closer today than I was yesterday" to choosing a Supreme Court nominee. He said he asked Sens. Frist, Reid, Specter and Leahy during their breakfast session at the White House for advice on the timing of the confirmation process, and potential nominees. "They've got strong opinions, and I wanted to hear them," Bush said. "...We're actively seeking recommendations."
Bush said judicial "philosophy" would be one of the criteria used to make his choice, along with character, integrity, and the ability to do the job.
Asked about First Lady Laura's Bush suggestion that he appoint another woman to the court, Bush seemed somewhat surprised she had apparently discussed the issue with reporters covering her Africa trip.
"I get her advice all the time," the president said "I didn't realize she had put this advice in the press....We're definitely considering people from all walks of life. I can't wait to hear her advice in person when she gets back."
At the end of the session, Bush ignored a reporter's shouted question about whether he intended to dismiss Karl Rove. We were escorted out of the Oval Office at 10 a.m.