In each of the following exchanges, assume that you are Scott McClellan, G. W. Bush's White House Press Secretary. Compose a response to any one of the following (hypothetical) reporters' questions.
1. Q: The President has recently renewed his proposal to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, despite public skepticism on the part of some Administration advisors and oil company executives that ANWR has sufficient oil reserves to make its production worth the cost of drilling. Does the President still support ANWR oil exploration, and why or why not?
2. Q: Can you comment on reports that the Pentagon has discontinued prescribing the anti-malarial drug Lariam following assertions that it leads to mental instability in some soldiers? Are there plans to investigate the role of the medication in the effects reported by soldiers, and if it turns out that there is a link, is the White House prepared to go on-record as promising compensation to soldiers and their families?
3. Q: Does the President have a sexual fetish for bald men? And was this a factor in Jim-Jeff Gannon-Guckert getting access to the briefing room despite lack of proper press credentials?
Answers will be graded based on the number of points they earn according to the following criteria:
(30 points) response does not incriminate anyone at White House
(25 points) response does not incriminate friends or associates of White House
(20 points) blames Bill Clinton
(15 points/each) blames any group composed entirely of American citizens
(15 points/each) blames European allies / other allies
(15 points) answers a question other than the one which was asked
(15 points) amounts to a claim that the question does not need to be answered
(15 points) amounts to a claim that the question cannot be answered
(15 points) is completely unparsable
(12 points) is more than 7 or fewer than 3 sentences in length
(10 points) discourages other reporters from asking similar questions
(7 points) any appeal to a political principle not actually supported by the Republican Party (church/state separation, reproductive rights, business regulation, bipartisanship, global cooperation, right to privacy, gun control, etc.)
(5 points) sincere-sounding platitude about bipartisanship
(5 points) references an Administration official other than the President or Vice-President without identifying him or her
(3 points/each) platitude about Iraqi people
(3 points/each) platitude about American businessmen or business practices (in general)
(3 points/each) platitude about Republican party, its leaders, or its supposed ideals
(3 points) condescending tone
(3 points) optimistic spin
(1 point/each) uses the words "freedom," "family," "responsibility," "accountability / accountable," "friendship," "full disclosure" "legitimate" (either pronunciation), "clarify," "exchange," "communication," "integrity," "strategy," "co-operation," "credibility," "security"
56-75 points – D
76-95 points – C
96-115 points – B
above 116 points – A
Special note from Ms. Guilford: Lurkers are encouraged to try their hand at this one. Send an e-mail containing your answer to me here. Identify which question you are attempting to answer, and the name to which you would like your response attributed, if posted publicly. The highest-scoring response will be posted on this blog, as well as, potentially, any other responses which amuse me. I reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.