The Daily Les, 10/19 Topic: The Daily Les
Even Les Kinsolving asks a useful question once in a while, though in this case the answer was more interesting:
KINSOLVING: Is the president concerned that he is alienating his conservative base by nominating Ms. Miers, by allowing so much illegal immigration for five years, increasing the federal budget deficit, and not vetoing a single piece of legislation?
McCLELLAN: Well, a couple of things. One, this President has significantly reduced the growth in nonsecurity discretionary spending. If you look at where we were when we came into office, the budget the year before we came into office had increased that funding some 15 percent.
Kinsolving correctly notes that McClellan is trying to pin budget deficits on the Clinton administration, though Kinsolving fails to add in his WND article that the last three budgets under Clinton ran surpluses.
Kinsolving also pulls off another moderately sensible question, suggesting that Harriet Miers is too conservative even for him:
KINSOLVING: Scott, both the AP and the top of page one of this morning's New York Times report that in 1989, Harriet Miers pledged her support for a constitutional amendment outlawing all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother. And my first part of the question ... Does the President share in this belief that all impregnated victims of gang rape and incest, no matter what their age, should be denied the mercy of an abortion?
The Daily Les, 10/18 Topic: The Daily Les
When Les Kinsolving doesn't quote verbatim his question in the White House press briefing in his WorldNetDaily article on it, there's usually a reason. This time, it's because he was sucking up to Scott McClellan:
KINSOLVING: I was grateful for your gracious recognition yesterday. You have your job to do, and we have ours, which is to ask questions, like this question: Can you rule out any possibility that the President is considering possible replacement nominees, should the Senate reject Harriet Miers?
The Daily Les, 10/17 Topic: The Daily Les
For the first time in a while, Les Kinsolving serves up a full version of his questions to Scott McClellan in his WorldNetDaily article as he continues to do WND's bidding by asking about supposed scandals involving Harriet Miers that WND has been hyping:
"On Wednesday, you encouraged me to look at news reports about scandals surrounding the Texas lottery when Harriet Miers was chairwoman of that commission. And it turns out there are hundreds of news reports from the late '90s covering problems with contracts and kickbacks involving the company GTECH and [former Lt. Gov. and GTECH lobbyist] Ben Barnes," stated WND.
"You and the president are aware of these hundreds of news reports, aren't you?"
Responded McClellan: "We're well aware of her time at the Texas Lottery Commission. There were problems that did occur there, and she helped clean up the Texas Lottery Commission. She was praised for her work as chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission."
WND then asked about allegations involving Barnes:
"What is the president's response to those allegations that he put Ms. Miers in charge of that lottery commission to be sure GTECH kept its lucrative contract, and its lobbyist, Ben Barnes, would not talk about his alleged influence concerning young George Bush and the National Guard?"
Said McClellan: "Our responses to those questions have already been addressed and disputed. And I think we don't need to rehash those issues."
The Daily Les, 10/13 Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving threw in on today's fracas over Harriet Miers, but it's unclear from his WorldNetDaily article what he asked; he wrote only that "WND asked [Scott] McClellan earlier about Miers' religion, receiving a response devoid of the subject." But -- judging by the proximity of MeClellan's "Les, Les, Les" -- here is what Les asked, according to the transcript:
KINSOLVING: There was no -- there were no less than 18 questions all dealing with Supreme Court nominee Miers' religion. And I wanted to ask, does the President believe that she should and will adhere to the admonition rendered under Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and under God the things that are God's?
Kinsolving also got in a non-Miers question related to his other obsession, homosexuality:
KINSOLVING: Presuming that the President is grateful that Oprah Winfrey is giving $100,000 rewards for assisting in the capture of child molesters, could you tell us whether the White House has seen any evidence of support for Oprah's action from the nation's many homosexual organizations, or has there been silence or opposition?
McClellan's response: "All right, next question. I'm not going to dignify that."
The Daily Les, 10/12 Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving does his master's bidding in asking Scott McClellan about WorldNetDaily-promoted claims regarding Harriet Miers' stint on the Texas Lottery Commission. From the transcript:
KINSOLVING: Scott, WorldNetDaily reported in 1995 Ben Barnes, Texas former lieutenant governor, secured a contract for a company called GTECH to run the Texas Lottery. And my first question: Did Harriet Miers continue the Texas Lottery's contract to GTECH without bid, so that Barnes received a $23 million payoff as part of the deal, authorized by Miers?
McCLELLAN: I would encourage you to go back and look at news reports at the time, because the governor's office at the time denied any connection that you may be asserting within your question. That's an issue that's already been discussed, and I think that Ben Barnes has said the same.
KINSOLVING: In 1999, a former executive director of the Texas Lottery, named Lawrence Littwin, filed a lawsuit alleging he lost his job as a result of political influence wielded by Barnes. And my question, since this Littwin suit was settled out of court for $300,000, what is the White House response?
MR. McCLELLAN: The allegations have been disputed previously by both the governor's office and -- by the governor's office at the time, and by Mr. Barnes. I would encourage you to go back and look at the comments that were made at the time. I'd be glad to provide those to you if you would like.
We wonder: Has Jerome Corsi or Joseph Farah reported that these allegations are disputed?
The Daily Les, 10/7 Topic: The Daily Les
Today's question #1:
KINSOLVING: The Vice President told two talk radio hosts that New York's Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel's comparison of President Bush to Bull Connor "was so out of line, it almost struck me that Charlie was having some problem. Charlie is losing it, I guess." And my question, does the President disagree with the Vice President --
As Kinsolving described the answer: "Scott McClellan said President Bush 'trongly supports' ice President Cheney in his recent comments suggesting Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is 'losing it.'"
Which, of course, means that fellow WND columnist Mychal Massie is losing it, too, something Kinsolving fails to note.
KINSOLVING: Midway through his speech on the war on terror, the President said, "The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them because they're equally guilty of murder." And my first question, since the Palestinian Authority surely harbors Hamas, which I've heard you say the President recognizes as a terrorist organization, what about the $1.6 billion U.S. that have been given to the Palestinian Authority?
The Daily Les, 10/6 Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving got shy again and wrote didn't include everything he asked in his WorldNetDaily article. So we consult the White House website for the first question:
KINSOLVING: Scott, a two-part. The New York Times reports that the pill called misoprostol, or Cytotec, is an ulcer drug that can induce an abortion for less than two dollars. And my question: Does the President believe this should be outlawed, or not? Scott McClellan's answer: Talk to the FDA.
And Kinsolving didn't say a word about this question:
KINSOLVING: How does the President stand on the issue of evolution versus intelligent design?
Does Kinsolving really not know the answer to that?
The Daily Les, 9/26 and 9/28 Topic: The Daily Les
On Sept. 26, Les Kinsolving asked Scott McClellan to respond to comments made by Rep. Charles Rangel who said that "George Bush is our Bull Connor": "Since The New York Post says Rangel should be ashamed of himself, I'm wondering if the White House agreed?"
Kinsolving does not note any outrage that his fellow WorldNetDaily columnist, Mychal Massie, similarly likened Sen. Harry Reid to not just Bull Connor but Orval Faubus as well.
On Sept. 28, Kinsolving asked about President Bush's pick for a new Supreme Court justice:
"President Bush has suggested his pick to replace Sandra Day O'Connor will likely bring diversity to the court. Does he mean diversity in color, gender or philosophy? Or is he more concerned with the look of the new justice, rather than the substance?"
The Daily Les, 9/21 Topic: The Daily Les
After another long break, Les Kinsolving returns to the White House briefing room. For some reason, he has stopped copying-and-pasting from the transcript; his WorldNetDaily article is written like a regular story (or, at least, what passes for one at WND). Which is too bad, because he actually asked a good question: "Scott, a two-part. First, do you recall when the last time the President vetoed any bill?"
The second part of that question, alas, is vintage Kinsolving; Apparently, even he was so ashamed for asking it that there is no mention of it in his WND article:
KINSOLVING: Publisher Pinch Sulzberger, of The New York Times, which is now laying off 500 more people after laying off 200 more people earlier this year announced that they "will continue to provide journalism of the highest quality." And my question: What does the President believe that claim says about the 700 they're getting rid of? And wouldn't it be better to get rid of Sulzberger, who tried for so long to save two editors who refused to fire that monumental liar, Jayson Blair, from Maryland?
McCLELLAN: They're not decisions the President of the United States makes.
Why make a big deal about Jayson Blair being from Maryland? Is Kinsolving subliminally telling us that like Blair, he too is a "monumental liar from Maryland"?
The Daily Les, 9/9 Topic: The Daily Les
Today, Les Kinsolving did his best to play interference for Scott McClellan, attmpting to cut off another reporter's Katrina-related question with a Gannonesque query about same-sex marriage.
WorldNetDaily unintentionally got in the middle of a verbal match today between White House press secretary Scott McClellan and ABC reporter Jessica Yellin, persistently trying to ask a question after being called on by the Bush spokesman.
Yellin, not satisfied with a response to her last question, badgered McClellan for more information about federal debit cards for Katrina evacuees as he tried to listen to WND's question, which had to be started repeatedly, each time at a higher volume to be heard.
The Daily Les, 9/8 Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving uses this day's White House press briefing to recite conservative talking points about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who will be visiting the U.S. next week. In his polemic-slash-question, Kinsolving claimed that Ahmadinejad "was identified by five former U.S. hostages as one of their captors and interrogators in '79, and there's the assassination of a Kurdish leader in Austria in 1989 as well as recruitment of suicide bombers."
But that may be more speculation than hard fact. Both CNN and the BBC point out that known leaders of the 1979 taking of hostages at the American embassy in Tehran claim that Ahmadinejad wasn't involved.
The Daily Les, 9/7 Topic: The Daily Les
Shocker: Les Kinsolving asks a somewhat normal question, about two Navy helicopter pilots who rescued 110 people, including two who are blind, were reprimanded by a Navy commander because they were supposed to devote themselves entirely to supply.
But Kinsolving leads his WorldNetDaily article with the question he apparently wished he had asked, about "the homosexual parade held on New Orleans' Bourbon Street last week" and "plans to hold the annual Southern Decadence festival in New Orleans despite the city's trauma."
The Daily Les, 9/6 Topic: The Daily Les
Today's White House briefing question from Les Kinsolving regards a suggestion by Sen. Mary Landrieu that she might punch President Bush if he criticized local response efforts to Hurricane Katrina:
KINSOLVING: Since both punching and threatening to punch the president is a felony, might Landrieu's qualifying words likely saved her from arrest and prosecution? And what was the president's reaction?
No word on whether Kinsolving supports prosecuting Ann Coulter on the same charge for writing in 1998 that the debate over the Monica Lewinsky scandal should have focused on "whether to impeach or assassinate" President Clinton. After all, assassination trumps punching, doesn't it?
The Daily Les Returns Topic: The Daily Les
Les Kinsolving apparently didn't get to go to Crawford, Texas, because we haven't seen a question from him in more than a month. But now that President Bush is back in Washington, Les is too, and he wants President Bush to endorse the shooting of looters in New Orleans:
KINSOLVING: What is the president's reaction to the 1968 statement of Philadelphia's Frank Rizzo that all looters would be shot, and then three looters were shot, and the looting in Philadelphia stopped?
The Daily Les, 7/27 Topic: The Daily Les
No question, apparently, but Scott McClellan tossed a comment Les Kinsolving's way. WorldNetDaily's take:
The White House implictly welcomed WorldNetDaily's observation that while many pundits and news organizations are focused on U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' links to the Federalist Society, no such concern was expressed in 1993 about Clinton-choice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's overt activism on behalf of the ACLU.
Asked if he sees a double standard, presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said he didn't follow Ginsburg's confirmation process.
But he replied wryly to reporter Les Kinsolving, "You're welcome to point out those things if you so choose."
The WND article cites a July 27 column by Joseph Farah that attacks Ginsburg as having a "record of extremist political advocacy" for a "subversive, anti-American, anti-Christian organization" (that would be the ACLU).
But Farah isn't telling the whole story about Ginsburg. She was considered a moderate at the time of her nomination to the Supreme Court, having been recommended to President Clinton by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch as a candidate whom Republicans would approve. Additionally, while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Ginsburg often voted with conservatives such as Robert Bork, Kenneth Starr and Laurence Silberman; one study showed that in one year of cases that produced a division on the court, Ginsburg voted with Bork 85 percent of the time.
Is that the "record of extremist political advocacy" Farah is talking about?