By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2004, 3:34pm PT  

George W. Bush today in Minnesota:

"I believe when a President speaks, he better mean what he says."

The press gaggle on Air Force One on Monday:

Q Isn't it kind of disingenuous for the President to say that I'm for the assault weapons ban, but then not spend a nickle of his political capital to fight for it?

MR. McCLELLAN: I disagree. His position has always been well-known, and it's been clear going back to his first campaign for President.

Q That he was for the ban?

MR. McCLELLAN: For a reauthorization of the current ban.

Q Let me follow up on this point. For a guy who goes around the country and says, I say what I mean, and you should take me at my word --- so if he's for the ban, and he doesn't do a thing ---

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, keep in mind that the Congress is the one that sets the legislative timetable, and Congress has made clear that it's not going to be coming up. I think you've had leaders in Congress state that.

Q But the President didn't work for it to come up. I mean, nobody --- everybody understands how this process works. The President wants tax cuts, he lobbies all over the country ---

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why the President has taken strong steps to make sure we are combating violence committed with guns. And that's why we have a strong record ---

Q He was happy to let the authorization lapse, wasn't he?

MR. McCLELLAN: Oh, you know that's a ridiculous assertion.

Q Name one thing, one step that the President took to have the assault weapons ban reauthorized?

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why I said, Ron, his position has been very well-known. We've restated that position. It remains unchanged. But he does not set the legislative timetable. Members of Congress set the legislative timetable. And Congress has stated --- congressional leaders have stated that it's not going to come up for a vote.

Q Is there one congressman, one congressional leader who he has called in Congress, and said, please put it on the timetable?

MR. McCLELLAN: Let's debate the real issue here --- and we're proud to debate the record on combating violence committed with guns, because we have a strong record of strictly enforcing our laws and reducing crimes committed with guns, if you look at the record.

Q And the President has a strong record of lobbying very hard for legislation he truly supports. Name one person who he called to lobby on behalf of legislation.

MR. McCLELLAN: --- his position has been made well-known.

Q So there's nothing more he could have done to get the ban extended?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think members of Congress have stated --- congressional leaders have stated that it's not going to be coming up for a vote.

Q Has he ever mentioned it in a speech that you can remember, I mean, as he goes around the country, ever mentioned the assault weapons ban?

MR. McCLELLAN: Certainly we're going to continue to talk about the strong action that he's taken to combat violence committed with guns, Ben. I think that's the --- it goes to the real issue here. You brought up the issue of whether or not this was effective, in terms of the assault weapons ban. That's something that people have continued to debate. But this President has led when it comes to combating violence committed with guns. And so we welcome a discussion of the record.

Q I've heard him bring up lots of legislation he wants passed as he goes around the country. I've never heard him bring up, I want to see the assault weapons ban ---

MR. McCLELLAN: No, he's made his position very well-known. So I disagree with that assertion.

Q Can you name one person who he's called on the Hill on behalf of this legislation?

MR. McCLELLAN: Look, members of Congress know his position very well, Ron.

Q So has he made a call to any of them?

MR. McCLELLAN: His position is very well-known, Ron, and members have known his position. And it's been discussed with members, too.

UPDATE: Though the White House doesn't credit who the speakers of the "Q's" are, it may be safe to assume that the questioner here is Ron Fournier of the AP. As much as I bash the press, it's only fair to try and give credit to those who don't roll over for the White House!