Today’s WH Press Gaggle

Q Can I ask about Vice President Cheney, because yesterday he repeated what is a very controversial claim. He said that Saddam Hussein had long-established ties with al Qaeda. Does the President believe that Saddam Hussein had long-established ties with al Qaeda?

MR. McCLELLAN: We certainly talked about the ties with terrorism between the — between the regime that was removed from power, and we talked about those ties prior to the decision to remove that regime from power. So that was well-documented. Secretary Powell went before the United Nations and talked about some of those ties to terrorism, as well. And Zarqawi is certainly a senior al Qaeda associate who was in Iraq prior to the decision to go in and remove the regime from power.

Q There’s also al Qaeda in the United States. That does not mean the United States is cooperating with those members of al Qaeda. Just by the presence of someone does not mean there’s a cooperation.

Zing! Hello, logic.

But check out McClellan’s non-answer answer:

MR. McCLELLAN: But, remember, we’re talking about an oppressive regime that was in power in Iraq that exercised control over that country.

Well . . . yes . . . Scott . . . when we talk about Saddam’s Iraq, we are talking about an oppressive regime. But even Saddam’s Iraq didn’t exercise control over the entire country, because it couldn’t. No system of government, no matter how hard it tries, can possibly have command and control over every single corner of its region.

So the reporter’s point still stands: "Just by the presence of someone does not mean there’s a cooperation".

What do you think?