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March 15, 2004

I Sense A Huge Backfire
Pardon me (blush)

Kerry should identify the leaders who purportedly hope he beats President Bush in November, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "Either he is straightforward and states who they are, or the only conclusion one can draw is that he is making it up to attack the president," the spokesman said.

The Kerry campaign ... responded with a top-10 list of Bush assertions that it said "proved false." They ranged from Bush's claim in his 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq had obtained nuclear material from Niger, to the administration's prediction that last year's tax cuts would create 1 million jobs.

"I think that if Senator Kerry is going to say he has support from foreign leaders then he needs to be straightforward with the American people and say who it is that he has spoken with and who it is that supports him," McClellan said.

McClellan's pointed reaction illustrated his changing role at the White House. For months, the press secretary has deflected almost all political questions to Bush's re-election campaign, part of an effort to portray the White House as above the campaign fray. But administration officials say McClellan is becoming a more forceful voice in the exchanges with the Kerry camp.

The shift did not go unnoticed at Kerry campaign headquarters.

"If the president wants his White House press secretary to be the press secretary for the re-election campaign, he ought to get him off the taxpayers' payroll and stop using the White House for political purposes," Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said. "This is part of a pattern of the failure of this White House to distinguish between politics and governing."

Kerry is prepared. Damn. Politically speaking, that is a quality response. He's going to let this drag out for as long as possible and then he's going to name names and chalk one up to "who's smarter."

That's if Spain's new leader doesn't beat Kerry to it.