Bear with this tidbit from today's White House press conference. The payoff is there at the end.
Q Two questions. Last week, Senator Leahy told the American Constitution Society -- and this is a quote -- "We need a President who has actually read the Constitution, understands the Constitution, and will respect the Constitution." Now, my question: Aside from this slur that the President has neither read nor understands the Constitution, how does the President imagine that this Judiciary Committee Chairman can expect any respect for what Mr. Leahy alleges is neither read by, nor understood by the President?
MR. TONY FRATTO (White House spokesman): Les, I'm not sure I followed the whole line of the question, but let me just say, the President has read and is sworn to defend and protect the Constitution, and he does that.
Q Senator Leahy also said the Guantanamo decision was a stinging rebuke of the Bush administration. "I'm in support of the Constitution of the USA. If we turn our backs on the Constitution where would we be?" And my question: How can this be interpreted as anything but a charge that the President has turned his back on the Constitution? And is that either accurate or fair?
MR. FRATTO: Again, I think you lost me somewhere along the long line of that question. I'll just tell you that we expressed our views on the Boumediene decision. We disagreed with it. The President said he would --
Q And you disagree very strongly with the Senator from Vermont, don't you?
MR. FRATTO: But that's usually where we are, is disagreeing with the Senator from Vermont.
- Erin Kelly