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Scottie & Me: October 14, 2003

White House Press Briefing with Scott McClellan

Mokhiber: Scott, a couple things.

Pat Robertson said this weekend that he wanted to nuke the State Department. The direct quote is, "If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer. You've got to blow that thing up." Does the President have any reaction to that?

Scott McClellan: Yes. I think that, one, he has since said that he should not have said that and changed what he said. But I do not view those as helpful comments. And it was wrong for him to say that.

David Gregory NBC: That's it? Wait, wait.

Scott McClellan: No, no, those were harmful comments. He has now since said that he should not have said that.

Mokhiber: Second question.

In the past seven months, 11 soldiers and three Marines have committed suicide in Iraq. About a dozen more Army deaths are being investigated as suicides. According to a front page USA Today article yesterday, these numbers suggest a rate in Iraq of suicide above normal. Does the President have any thoughts about why this is happening?

Scott McClellan: I haven't seen the specific reports, but you were talking about who?

Mokhiber: U.S. Army and Marine suicides in Iraq.

Scott McClellan: I think you need to direct those questions to the Pentagon.

David Gregory NBC: : Can I follow up on Pat Robertson?

Scott McClellan: Go ahead.

David Gregory NBC: : Will the President -- besides not finding those comments helpful, I wonder if the President feels that he should have no involvement with Pat Robertson, whatever, going forward, and that Pat Robertson should not play any role in any kind of unofficial way in helping him in reelection, in any kind of supportive role.

Scott McClellan: No, again --

David Gregory NBC: : Would the President like Robertson to keep his distance?

Scott McClellan: Again, I think that those comments were harmful. And he, himself, said that he should not have said that. I think the comments were wrong, and he has since said so.

David Gregory NBC: : So it's all forgiven?

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