Mokhiber: Ari, two questions.
Why is the President appointing convicted criminals like Eliot Abrams to policy positions at the White House?
Ari Fleischer: Russell, you asked that question last week.
Mokhiber: I did not ask that question last week.
Fleischer: You asked it about somebody else. I dispute the premise of your question.
Mokhiber: I have a second question.
Fleischer: I dispute the premise of your second question (laughter.)
Mokhiber: Yesterday on Meet the Press, the conservative columnist Bob Novak said that hawks inside the Bush administration never wanted inspections in Iraq because "this is really about change of regime in Iraq and change of the political outlines in the Middle East more to Israel's benefit. That's what this has all been about, and since it's very hard to sell that to the American people, they have done it on a weapons of mass destruction basis." Is there anything you can say to counter the public perception that administration hawks like Richard Perle and [Paul] Wolfowitz have hijacked this country's foreign policy?
Fleischer: The President sets the foreign policy. And the foreign policy is of course that inspectors are on the scene and doing their job.