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photos by Lara Shipley

Slipping the Leash

February 26th, 2003 · No Comments

Ari Fleischer has long been one of my least favorite people in the administration. There’s something especially brazen and unrepentant about the way he peddles bullshit — you get the sense that however obviously, facially ridiculous one of his assertions might be, he would bristle with righteous indignation if you didn’t take it on faith. Hence my personal enjoyment of this clip from a press briefing, courtesy of Tom Spencer. It is, as he says, truly priceless.

You should most assuredly go watch it, but just in case you can’t for whatever reason, the short version is: a Mexican reporter asks what kind of concessions or other, errr, inducements (nasty jaded people might say “bribes”) Mexico might get in return for their support. Fleischer is shocked and horrified that anyone might suggest there’s any kind of quid pro quo going on… the administration simply expects allies to go along on the strength of the evidence. Another reporter follows up, citing senior State Department officials talking about specific offers made to other countries, conditioned on support in the U.N. Ari-Bob again looks vaguely hurt, and observes that if you think about it, “you’re saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable, and that is not an acceptable proposition…”

And then, in one of those magical moments—like when the little boy yells “but he hasn’t got any clothes on!”—the whole press corps bursts out laughing. Ari-Bob is nonplussed. I squealed a little squeal of delight.

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