White House press secretary Tony Snow responded to a question Tuesday by Helen Thomas, a Hearst Newspapers columnist, about published remarks made by new domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister :
THOMAS: Why did the president pick a man who is so contemptible of the public servants in Washington to be his domestic adviser -- saying, "People in Washington are morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings"? Why would he pick such a man to be a domestic adviser?
SNOW: You meant contemptuous, as opposed to contemptible, I think.
THOMAS: Pure contempt.
SNOW: Well, I'm not sure it's pure contempt. I know Karl Zinsmeister pretty well, and he is somebody who expresses himself with a certain amount of piquancy -- you're perhaps familiar with that, aren't you, Helen? And so, as a consequence, from time to time he's going to say -- he'll have some sharp elbows.
THOMAS: If this is his attitude toward public servants --
SNOW: No, I don't think it's his attitude toward public servants -- it may have been toward the press. Just kidding. No, I -- look, if you look at the bulk of what Karl Zinsmeister has done at the American Enterprise [Institute] and elsewhere, I think you're going to find somebody who's done some pretty meaty and interesting research on a variety of topics. The reason he's being brought in is that he's --
THOMAS: Do you agree with his assessment of Washington?
SNOW: I'm not -- there's one sentence the guy wrote, and perhaps you may recall -- yes?
THOMAS: Arrogant, morally repugnant, cheating, shifty -- come on.
SNOW: That's a lot in one sentence, isn't it? He just packed it right in.