What ever happened to Scott McClellan?

The White House press secretary seems to have gone missing.

Published November 28, 2005 6:36PM (EST)

On the White House Web site today, you'll find a photograph of the president phoning troops in Iraq and a copy of the Bush family's Thanksgiving dinner menu. What you won't find is a transcript of a Scott McClellan press briefing -- at least not a recent one.

As Think Progress notes, 19 days have passed since McClellan last delivered an on-the-record press briefing. On Nov. 9, McClellan appeared before the cameras in the White House press briefing room to spin away questions about the Republicans' poor showings in off-off-year elections. There have been a number of on-the-record White House press briefings since then, but not with McClellan at the lectern. Stephen Hadley has handled several. Condoleezza Rice has done one. Mike Green, a special assistant to the president, has appeared at several more. But no McClellan.

Except insofar as it would be an admission that there's a problem there, it wouldn't be particularly surprising if the White House found a way to ease McClellan and his press briefings out of the picture. After assuring the public that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby weren't involved in outing Valerie Plame, McClellan's credibility is pretty much shot. His press briefings have become little more than daily fodder for bloggers and the TV networks, providing fresh text and video every day to accompany stories about a White House under siege.

McClellan still seems to be around: A press release lamely claiming that Joe Biden shares the president's views on Iraq went out over his name over the weekend. But when Think Progress called the White House to find out if there would be a daily press briefing today, a press assistant said no -- and that there's nothing on the schedule for the week yet.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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