Fifty-Seven Ways To Say "No Comment"

Aug. 16 1998 3:30 AM

Fifty-Seven Ways To Say "No Comment"

In which Mike McCurry defeats the White House press corps.

One of the weirdest and most pernicious side effects of Flytrap has been the relocation of the White House to an alternative universe, a place where up is down and down is up and everything is the opposite of what it should be.

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In the Flytrap universe, there is a White House counsel (Charles Ruff) who can't counsel, a presidential confidant (Bruce Lindsey) whom the president can't confide in, a presidential wife who acts like a lawyer, a president who acts like a criminal defendant, and a former intern who has more power than any of them.

David Plotz David Plotz

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

The most public manifestation of the bizarro White House is Mike McCurry. He has become a spinner who can't spin, a presidential press secretary who can't talk to the press or the president about the only issue they care about.

Here, as evidence, are the notes I managed to scrawl during yesterday's White House press briefing. (The speaker is McCurry unless otherwise indicated, and the subject is Flytrap.)

The president has answered all questions.

It's clear there is nothing more to say.

I am not going to add anything.

I don't have anything to add. [twice]

You played a semantic game yesterday. I am not playing that game today.

You played a semantic game.

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