:: 2.11.2004 ::
Blood in the water
From yesterday's press briefing:
Q Scott, a couple of questions I have -- the records that you handed out today, and other records that exist, indicate that the President did not perform any Guard duty during the months of December 1972, February or March of 1973. I'm wondering if you can tell us where he was during that period. And also, how is it that he managed to not make the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status?
Yep, never answered that question, did he?
MR. McCLELLAN: John, the records that you're pointing to, these records are the payroll records; they're the point summaries. These records verify that he met the requirements necessary to fulfill his duties. These records --
Q That wasn't my question, Scott.
MR. McCLELLAN: These payroll records --
Q Scott, that wasn't my question, and you know it wasn't my question. Where was he in December of '72, February and March of '73? And why did he not fulfill the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status?
MR. McCLELLAN: These records -- these records I'm holding here clearly document the President fulfilling his duties in the National Guard. The President was proud of his service. The President --
Q I asked a simple question; how about a simple answer?
MR. McCLELLAN: John, if you'll let me address the question, I'm coming to your answer, and I'd like --
Q Well, if you would address it -- maybe you could.
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry, John. But this is an important issue that some chose to raise in the context of an election year, and the facts are important for people to know. And if you don't want to know the facts, that's fine. But I want to share the facts with you.
Q I do want to know the facts, which is why I keep asking the question. And I'll ask it one more time. Where was he in December of '72, February and March of '73? Why didn't he fulfill the medical requirements to remain on active flight duty status in 1972?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President recalls serving both when he was in Texas and when he was in Alabama. And that is what I can tell you. And we have provided you these documents that show clearly that the President of the United States fulfilled his duties. And that is the reason that he was honorably discharged from the National Guard. The President was proud of his service.
The President spent some of that time in Texas. He was a member of the Texas Air National Guard, and he was given permission, on a temporary basis, to perform equivalent duty while he was in Alabama. And he performed that duty. And the payroll records, that I think are very important for the public to have, clearly reflect that he served.
A note: Scott McLellan said the phrase "fulfilled his duties" exactly 20 times during the briefing; he used the phrases "met his requirements" and "meet his requirements" 16 times total. Hoping that if you say it often enough, people will start believeing it, Scott?
Q Scott, may I re-ask Dana's question? You keep saying he served -- he fulfilled his duty, he met his requirements. You're not saying, he drilled, he showed up, he attended. Is that intentional?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, he recalls performing his duties, both in Alabama and Texas. I said that in response to Elisabeth's question.
Q Define that.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I don't have a minute-by-minute breakdown of every single thing he did throughout that time period.
Q What did he do?
Q You keep saying the word, "serve." Define "serve."
MR. McCLELLAN: He met -- he served both in Alabama, and he served both in Texas.
Q Doing what? Did that period -- can you at least tell us the difference between inactive -- because it's not clear in these documents.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think that I'll leave it to those who can explain these documents to do the explaining. That's why we put the statement from Mr. Lloyd, who was in the National Guard at the time; he was someone that had the expertise to explain to you what these points mean. And that's why we provided that statement. Obviously, the Personnel Center can tell you more about what everything means on these documents. We just received these late yesterday.
But the one thing that these documents clearly show is that the President of the United States fulfilled his duties when he was in the National Guard. He met his requirements and he was honorably discharged because he fulfilled his duties.
Q Just so I can be sure that I'm interpreting this crystal-clearly -- you're not making any claim here that the President attended, showed up, drilled on these days?
MR. McCLELLAN: I'm telling you that he did -- he does recall showing up and performing his duties. And you're paid for the days on which you serve. And that's what these documents reflect.
Q Scott, is it your --
MR. McCLELLAN: We're going to stay on this topic, and then we'll jump to other topics.
Q It's your position that these documents specifically show that he served in Alabama during the period 1972, when he was supposed to be there. Do they specifically show that?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think if you look at the documents, what they show are the days on which he was paid, the payroll records. And we previously said that the President recalls serving both in Alabama and in Texas.
Q I'm not interested in what he recalls. I'm interested in whether these documents specifically show that he was in Alabama and served on the days during the latter part of 1972 --
MR. McCLELLAN: And I just answered that question.
Q You have not answered that question. You --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I said -- no, I said, no, in response to your question, Keith.
Q No, so the answer is, "no"?
MR. McCLELLAN: I said these documents show the days on which he was paid. That's what they show. So they show -- they show that he was paid on these days.
Q Okay, but they do not show that he was in Alabama when he was supposed to be --
MR. McCLELLAN: These are payroll records, and they reflect the fact that he was paid on the days on which he served.
Q Do any of them show that he was paid on days that he served in the latter part of 1972 when he was in Alabama? I don't see any dates for that.
MR. McCLELLAN: It just kind of amazes me that some will now say they want more information, after the payroll records and the point summaries have all been released to show that he met his requirements and to show that he fulfilled his duties.
Q But these documents do not show that. They do not show that he was in Alabama and served at that time. I don't even see any pay dates during that period.
MR. McCLELLAN: They show payments. No, they show pay dates during that fall of 1972 period.
Q They do?
MR. McCLELLAN: There's October on there, there's November on there, and then there's January on there, as well, in '73. There's some pay dates on there.
Q Okay, so then, do they specifically show that he served in Alabama during that time?
MR. McCLELLAN: They show payments in October; they show payments in November.
Q But just because he's paid doesn't mean that he served and worked there, does it?
:: Deb 10:19 AM :: permalink ::
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