When the press asks what could actually be a good question, Scott "The Gandalf" McClellan subtly waves his staff in front of their eyes and "answers" their questions. Here is a good example of that.
One reporter asked a good question at yesterday's White House press briefing:
Q Thank you. Scott, the President's four-point plan to lower the price of gas is being criticized as merely window dressing. And most of what he proposes will take years. Is there really anything he can do to ease the pain now?
Here's what the White House press thought they heard MR. MCCLELLAN say in response (the official White House text), contrasted with what SCOTT THE GANDALF actually said as he waved his staff:
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, the President actually yesterday talked about every little bit can help. Now, you bring up a very good point -- the underlying problem is that we are dependent on foreign sources of energy. We are dependent on foreign oil. And the President made it very clear that we have got to address that root cause of why we have high gas prices. This is something that has been building for decades. And that's why the President outlined a four-point plan yesterday.
SCOTT THE GANDALF:Any little bit we do now won't matter at all in the larger scheme of things because it is all owned and operated by forces way beyond our control, many of which are large donors to the Republican Party. The underlying problem, as you know, is that Big Oil, a very important part of the Republican Party base, has been taking huge profits at the expense of the American taxpayer. The President made it very clear that we need to continue to deflect any interest you might have in that issue onto our dependence on foreign oil. Right now, foreigners are a good target for us to concentrate on. This is something we have been doing for decades. And that's why the President outlined his silly little four-point plan that he and Karl scribbled on the back of a napkin at lunch yesterday just so we could feed you folks something you might report.
MR. McCLELLAN: We're taking a number of actions on the short run side of things because we can provide some help. But, ultimately, this is a problem that must be solved in a comprehensive way. And that's why the President outlined his advanced energy initiative to really transform the way we power our cars and homes, and lessen our dependence on foreign sources of oil -- by making use of ethanol and hydrogen and pursuing other ways to promote alternative sources of energy. And that's what we have to do in the long run.
SCOTT THE GANDALF: We're doing a number of little piddly things but we really need to concentrate on ignoring this in as comprehensive a way as possible. And that's why the President's Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI) which pretends to transform the way we power our cars and our homes could not possibly develop any real solutions for decades to come, long after the President and Vice President are dead and gone. Quite frankly, as any real scientist can tell you, ethanol and hydrogen don't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to solving anything now, or even in the medium term. Of course, it won't matter by then because global warming, which, by the way, does not exist, will have already taken its toll and no one will remember the AEI at all. And of course, foreign sources of oil won't be an issue either, because the Saudis and Iranians and Venezuelans will have run out of the stuff, and we will all be in deep doo-doo.
MR. McCLELLAN: In the short run, again, there are steps that we can take to help, but we also have to continue acting on solving the root cause. This is a supply and demand problem. We have tight supplies right now, and that's pushing the price of gas up -- it's pushing the price of oil up, which pushes the price of gas up. So that's why the President announced several steps that we're taking to help address the supply side in the short-run. But this is a problem that we see recur year after year, and it's because of our increasing dependence on oil, particularly foreign sources of oil.
SCOTT THE GANDALF: So, in the short run, we will continue to throw pixie dust into your eyes, because most of you don't know supply from demand, and couldn't possibly understand the economic forces at work that control your lives every minute. We now have tight supplies, pushing gas up, because oil is pushed up by some unseen and unknown force, and we are addressing this unseen and unknown force (some call it profit, but that's not something you guys know much about anyway), and we are laughing all the way to the bank. Our base is very happy, also, by the way. As I told you, the President has announced several steps we are taking to help address the supply side in the short-run, none of which will make even the slightest dent in solving this problem for the American taxpayer, but these little things all look good. You are all going to dutifully tell the American people about these little steps the President is taking, and not have a clue what you are talking about. They won't either, but it all sounds great.