First, there was Commander George W. Chimpster, letting the cat out of the bag and probably regretting it almost immediately (emphasis added):
President Bush said Wednesday that Harriet Miers' religious beliefs figured into her nomination to the Supreme Court as a top-ranking Democrat warned against any "wink and a nod" campaign for confirmation.
"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush told reporters at the White House. "Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."
Hello? So her religion was a factor in her nomination? Cue White House Press Lizard Scott McClellan, trying desperately to undo the damage:
Q Back to Miers for a moment. When you say that Ms. Miers understands that religion has no role in the business of the Court, at the same time the President has said he knows her heart, her beliefs, her character; he talked today about people wanting to know about her life and, therefore, her religion. How are we not to interpret that her religion was one of the factors in his selection?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President makes selections based on potential nominees' qualifications and experience and judicial temperament. That is what he has done in each and every instance when it comes to appointing people to the bench. He has a long track record of appointing people who have a conservative judicial philosophy, one that is based on interpreting our Constitution and our laws, not making law from the bench. And that's what he bases his decisions on, not someone's religion.
Q So her religion played no role in her making it to the final group and then, ultimately --
MR. McCLELLAN: No, the President makes decisions based on the person's qualifications and experience and judicial temperament.
Q All right. So there was no -- no role at all in the President's decision-making of Harriet Miers' religion?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's part of who she is. That's part of her background. That's what the President was talking about in his remarks in the Oval Office.
Q Why is Karl Rove calling up religious leaders telling them it's okay, she belongs to an ultra evangelical church?
MR. McCLELLAN: We're calling up a lot of people --
Q Why that?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- to reach out to them and talk to them about the President's selection of Harriet Miers. And what he is emphasizing in those conversations, Terry, is that she is someone who is strongly committed to a conservative judicial philosophy.
Q What is somebody's --
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, why wouldn't --
Q Wait, wait, wait. What relevance does how a person prays have to the judicial philosophy?
MR. McCLELLAN: Didn't say that it did.
Q So why are you peddling it?
MR. McCLELLAN: It's part of her background, Terry; it's part of who she is.
Q But you just said it was relevant to judicial philosophy.
MR. McCLELLAN: People want to know who she is. And when you're getting to know someone, you want to know what their qualifications and experience are, you want to know what their judicial philosophy is, and you want to know who they are. Faith is very important to Harriet Miers. But she recognizes that faith and that her religion and that her personal views don't have a role to play when it comes to making decisions.
Q It seems that what you're doing is trying to calm a revolt on the right concerned that Harriet Miers isn't conservative enough, by saying, it's okay, she is conservative enough, because she goes to this church.
MR. McCLELLAN: No, it seems like the media wants to focus on things other than her qualifications. Maybe your news organization would rather focus on things other than her qualifications and record. The President believes we should focus on her qualifications and her record and her judicial philosophy. And that's what we emphasize.
I love the smell of the Bush administration in the morning these days. It smells like ... unbelievable fucking stupidity and delightful infighting.