Another sparring session with Helen Thomas today in the Press Gaggle:
Q The new Italian Prime Minister says that the President’s invasion of Iraq was a grave error. As the new kid on the block, can you give me the latest rationale the U.S. has for invading Iraq?
MR. SNOW: There has only been one rationale, as you know, Helen, and this that Saddam Hussein had resisted — what is the proper number, 17 United Nations resolutions — and had refused repeatedly to permit weapons inspectors to do their work, and consistent with that. And also we had cited other concerns in terms of democracy and human rights. That case has never changed.
Also the case laid out and voted by the United States Senate —
Q He finds that as a justification to invade a country where we had choke-hold sanctions, satellite surveillance —
MR. SNOW: Helen, I’m not going to get in another argument about the — this is a three-year-old argument and you’re trying to re-argue the case. The President made his case back then. The United States Senate voted overwhelmingly.
Q He did not make the case.
MR. SNOW: Well, in your opinion he didn’t make the case. He made the case. He laid out his reasons.
Q He made the case, in your opinion?
MR. SNOW: Yes.
Wish this one would have been televised. And then there is this one where a reporter tells Tony that Spanish may become the predominent language spoken in the United States:
Q Why does the President think it’s important for immigrants to learn English?
MR. SNOW: Because it’s part of assimilation. If you take a look at the data, people who learn English tend to be more prosperous, tend to do better at their jobs. And what you want to do as a condition of citizenship is to give somebody an opportunity to participate fully in the American Dream.
Q But as a market force guy, why wouldn’t he support, just like market forces — there are more and more jobs in America now, as Spanish becomes more prevalent, where you probably can make a living and never speak English. Why would he want to artificially affect the marketplace by demand —
MR. SNOW: That’s a spurious argument. What do you mean, there are artificially — I don’t even know where to go with that.
Q Well, if he favors market forces, then maybe people will see that they will make more money if they learn English —
MR. SNOW: Well, as you understand, markets also play by rules. Again, let me just go back to what I said before. The research very clearly indicates that people who have command of the English language do better in the aforementioned marketplace. The marketplace has already spoken on this.
Q But the marketplace is a dynamic thing that changes, and as there are more and more people in it who speak only Spanish —
MR. SNOW: What you’re doing is you’re mixing up arguments here. What do you want me to say?
Q Why the President thinks it’s important for everyone to learn English.
MR. SNOW: Because English is the predominant language in the United States of America and —
Q That might change. That might change.
I tell you what, that will change over my dead body.
The funniest moment has got to be this statement from Tony:
MR. SNOW: You keep asking me state of mind questions about whether the President is concerned or not concerned about it, and I’m afraid we don’t have the mind-meld going yet — (laughter) — you’ll have to give me a little more time to get a mind-meld.
I wish we could have had Tony in this seat years ago.