Watch CBSN Live

Today in the Briefing Room: No, <i>You're</i> a Doodiehead!

We don't mention it one time in Public Eye history, and now here we are referencing "The Swamp," the Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau's (pretty solid) newish blog, twice in one day. But, hey, how could we resist this, from today's gaggle?
Why was the White House relying on a Texas rancher to get the word of Cheney's hunting accident out over the weekend, asked [NBC News Chief White House Correspondent David] Gregory, accusing [White House Press Secretary Scott] McClellan of "ducking and weaving.''

"David, hold on… the cameras aren't on right now,'' McClellan replied. "You can do this later.''

"Don't accuse me of trying to pose to the cameras,'' the newsman said, his voice rising somewhat. "Don't be a jerk to me personally when I'm asking you a serious question.''

"You don't have to yell,'' McClellan said.

"I will yell,'' said Gregory, pointing a finger at McCellan at his dais. "If you want to use that podium to try to take shots at me personally, which I don't appreciate, then I will raise my voice, because that's wrong.''

"Calm down, Dave, calm down,'' said McClellan, remaining calm throughout the exchange.

"I'll calm down when I feel like calming down,'' Gregory said. "You answer the question."

Take that, Scotty! Now here's our question: who looks worse, the flack or the hack? (That is, the press secretary or the reporter. Ahem.) Seems like it could be a wash: Some will surely see a hyperactive gotcha-type reporter needlessly haranguing the President's spokesman while others will see a slick professional spinmeister doing everything he can do avoid answering the simplest questions.

Moving on: CBS News' Bill Plante has an interesting observation from today's rather entertaining press briefing, in which many members of the press got pretty riled up.

(Sample exchange: Reporter -- "Is it proper for the Vice President to offer his resignation or has he offered his resignation..." McClellan -- "That's an absurd question. Go ahead, Ken." Click on the video to watch it.) He writes that McClellan actually might have been telling reporters something, although not exactly explicitly:
McClellan, like all White House Press Secretaries, is extremely sensitive to any suggestion that would cover up or lie outright. Perhaps expecting the regular reporters to read between the lines, he said he believed it is important to get information out as quickly as possible - and reminded us that he had done just that last summer, when the President had a biking accident in Scotland in which a policeman was injured.

That was a clear signal that he had told the Vice President's staff as much - but his suggestion was ignored.

Personal insults, veiled messages, angry reporters – just another day in the White House briefing room. And all of this, lest we forget, grew out of the Veep shooting someone in the face. And then a possible (somewhat halfhearted) cover-up of that very fact. Forget Florida, dear readers: Washington is starting to seem more than ever like a Carl Hiassen novel come to life.