Right at the top

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Right at the top of the gaggle this morning at the White House, reporters zeroed in one the DeFrank story …

QUESTION: Scott, is it true that the President —

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Welcome back.

QUESTION: Thanks. Is it true that the President slapped Karl Rove upside the head a couple of years ago over the CIA leak?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Are you referring to, what, a New York Daily News report? Two things: One, we’re not commenting on an ongoing investigation; two, and I would challenge the overall accuracy of that news account.

QUESTION: That’s a comment.

QUESTION: Which part of it?

QUESTION: Yes, that is.

QUESTION: Which facts —

SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I’m just saying — no, I’m just trying to help you all.

QUESTION: So what facts are you challenging?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Again, I’m not going to comment on an ongoing investigation.

QUESTION: You can’t say you’re challenging the facts and then not say which ones you’re challenging.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Yes, I can. I just did. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Scott, let me come back to — so you say you’re challenging the accuracy, but you won’t tell us why. Why would it be irresponsible for us to report that?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Report what?

QUESTION: What you said —

SCOTT McCLELLAN: It’s up to you what you want to report. I’m just trying to —

QUESTION: Well, if you want us to say it’s inaccurate, you need to give us a reason why, or it wouldn’t be responsible to report it.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Well, there’s an ongoing investigation, and as you know, our policy is not to comment on it. So that’s where we are.

QUESTION: You just did.

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Based on your personal knowledge, based on your opinion, based on your frustration with the story — what caused you to say that?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: No, I mean, I read the story and I didn’t view it as an accurate story.

QUESTION: Why not?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: Again, I’m not going to go any further than that. There’s an ongoing investigation. This is bringing up matters related to an ongoing investigation.

QUESTION: After you read the story, Scott, did you check with either the two people mentioned, the President or Rove, to ask them? Is that what you base —

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I don’t have any further comment, Peter.

QUESTION: Well, is that what you base your guidance on, or is it just — you know, is it just you’re feeling that this couldn’t have happened?

SCOTT McCLELLAN: I stand by what I just said and I’m going to leave it at that.

The subject comes up again later in the discussion. We’ll bring you that later.

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