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FishPoolDC: Our Insider’s Notes from Today’s Press Briefing

Time for a Detention?: Another very late start today (even after two official delays to the briefing time). Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “My apologies for being tardy. I never worked in high school, but I ask your patience on that.”

We Can Handle the Truth: The press-versus-podium rumble du jour was over a perceived change in administration policy on the issue of prosecuting Bush-era interrogators and policymakers who engaged in what is now officially considered torture. Amid a veritable drilling from all sides, Gibbs maintained two points: “the president is looking forward, not backward”; and no one is “above the rule of law.” While reporters questioned how these statements were consistent with each other and with previous statements, Gibbs grew impatient. “Can you handle the truth, Chuck?” he asked when the NBC reporter made an “A Few Good Men” reference.

How’s This for Parsing: For those keeping track of Gibbsisms, the man twice used “endeavor” — a favorite of his — as he conceded he’d need to get more clarity on the president’s comments related to the interrogation/prosecution issue. After a defensive note that he was trying to help everyone understand what POTUS said, one reporter challenged: “Can you understand it?”

Meet Me in St. Louis: With the 100-day mark fast approaching, Gibbs announced travel to St. Louis next Wednesday for a presidential town hall meeting focused as a “progress report” for the administration. Reporters jumped at the observation that April 29 would be the BIG day that everyone in the room has been forced to write features about, and Gibbs chuckled at the buzz by noting that unofficial White House statistician Mark Knoller of CBS “would be so darn proud of each and every one of you” for remembering the milestone. The press secretary later added, “Go figure that we might want to leave town” on that “Hallmark holiday.”

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