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2003-07-15

The Greatest Hits of Ari Fleischer

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White House Press Secretary steps down after his 300th press briefing. We look back on his warning Americans to "watch what they do and what they say," his memorable exchange with Helen Thomas over whether President Bush valued the lives of Iraqi children and his interactions with Russell Mokhiber, of "Ari & I" fame.

"Ari Fleischer’s ability to repeat a lie even after it’s been shown, repeatedly, to be false is what separates him from the amateurs."

That was how the website Slate.com described White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer last year.

Well yesterday Fleischer left his post after two and a half years as the chief mouthpiece of the White House.

The New York Times reports he is now going to sign up with the prestigious Washington Speaker s Bureau to go on the lucrative lecture circuit.

He will also work on fundraising for Bush’s 2004 campaign and he plans to open Ari Fleischer Communications, a private consulting firm to give advice to corporate executives on dealing wit h the media.

Fleischer is being replaced by a deputy, Scott McClellan, whose first briefing is scheduled for today. McClellan comes from a political family in Texas with long ties to the Bush clan. His mother, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, is the comptroller of Texas. His brother, Mark McClellan, is commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Well today we are joined by Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter and a regular attendee of White House press conferences. For the past two years the website commondreams.org has run a feature titled "Ari and I" that chronicled the back and forth between Mokhiber and Fleischer.

We’ll play clips of "Ari and I" as well as questioning by veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas and questions from his last press conference on the Iraq-Niger controversy.

  • Russell Mokhiber, editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.
  • Russell Mokhiber questioning Ari Fleischer about whether he resigned for moral reasons. Recorded at White House press briefing, May 19, 2003.
  • Ari Fleischer, warning Americans to "watch what they say, watch what they do." Recorded at White House press briefing, Sept. 26, 2001.
  • Ari Fleischer defending the Bush administration’s use of intelligence on Iraq. Recorded at White House press briefing, July 14, 2003.
  • Helen Thomas questioning Ari Fleischer on how much President Bush values the lives of Iraqi children. Recorded at White House press briefing, January 6, 2003.

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