Yesterday morning, Bush announced that he was going to lead an investigation into the response to Katrina:
What I intend to do is lead a -- to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong. (Bush in response to press question before meeting with the Cabinet.)
Except he's not really going to lead an investigation. If he were then, McClellan's answer to this reporter's question would have been "President Bush" instead of the usual tap dance away from the topic:
Who will do that? I mean, who will lead that -- will it be an outside investigation, or White House?
MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I think you heard from the President that we've got to remain focused on the task at hand. We've got to remain focused on getting help to people in the region. (In a press briefing later that day.)
In follow up questions, reporters tried to no avail to get a timeline for the investigation. McClellan parried in two ways: by suggesting that an investigation would detract from rescue and recovery and by reframing a desire for an investigation as playing the "blame game". The reporters were aggressive and consistently retorted that it was really accountability. It was nice to see an aggressive press corp. They even called out McClellan a few times, saying dismissively, "That's a talking point."
Oddly enough, on the following day (today), McClellan said that Bush was going to lead the investigation.
MR. McCLELLAN: You're trying -- well, the President is going to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong. The President made it very clear yesterday that we are going to look at these issues.
Um, except that's not really what he meant. I think. Oh, shit, now I'm really confused.
Q Doesn't the President have a conflict of interest leading the investigation since what he did and did not do --
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't think that's -- I don't think that's what he was saying, Terry. I think he was going to say he's going to lead the effort to make sure there's a thorough investigation of things.
Let's see if I understand this. He's going to lead in making sure that there's an investigation?
What happened to the "I say what I mean" president and administration?