Scottie & Me: September 2, 2003
White House Press Briefing with Scott McClellan
Mokhiber: Scott, two things. First, does the President know how many people have been killed and wounded in Iraq since the beginning of the war?
McClellan: Those numbers are made available, publicly.
Mokhiber: Does the President know how many --
McClellan: He's very well aware of the sacrifices that are made in Iraq.
Mokhiber: Well, how many -- how many people have been killed in Iraq? Not just Americans -- total people killed and wounded in Iraq since the beginning of the war?
McClellan: Russell, I don't have those numbers.
Mokhiber: Does the President know?
McClellan: Russell, I think that --
Mokhiber: Are they available?
McClellan: I'm sorry?
Mokhiber: Are they available?
McClellan: I don't know that you can keep track of all the numbers. I mean those are issues you need to address to the coalition provisional authority
Mokhiber: Do you know whether the President knows --
McClellan:: Or, I'm sorry, the Central Command.
Mokhiber: Does the President know how many people have been killed
McClellan: The President knows that what we are doing in Iraq is central to winning the war on terrorism.
Mokhiber: That wasn't my question.
McClellan:: It is central --
Mokhiber: Does he know how many people have been killed and wounded?
McClellan: It is central to bringing about --
Mokhiber: I know that. But does he know how many --
McClellan: -- a more peaceful and more secure --
Mokhiber: -- have been killed and wounded.
McClellan: -- which means a safer world.
Mokhiber: That's not the question, Scott. The question I had was, does the President know how many --
McClellan: Again, I've answered the question. I told you he's well aware of the sacrifices that our troops have made and the sacrifices that their families are making with our troops over there in Iraq.
Mokhiber: Okay, second question, does the President support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution?
McClellan: Let me come back to that. The President has talked about that in the past. Let me come back to -- let me just double-check. *
Mokhiber: Okay, second -- on a follow-up, does he support a balanced budget? Scott, does he support a balanced budget?
McClellan: I'll come back to that question. I'll take that question.
At the end of the official White House transcript, we find the following: * The President supports a balanced budget amendment, and is working to restrain spending so that we can reduce the deficit. However, the President also believes that protecting the lives and liberties of the American people may demand temporary borrowing, which is why he believes a balanced budget amendment should include exceptions for war, emergency and economic recession. The President has a plan to cut the deficit in half in five years through stronger economic growth and responsible spending restraint. His budget proposal for next year would cut the growth of spending by more than 50 percent from the levels of the past five years. Government spending should not grow faster than family incomes.