White House Hotheads

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Friday, June 16, 2006; 1:14 PM

Inspired by my fun-loving colleagues at Wonkette, who are compiling a list of White House Hotties , allow me to put forth today's contenders for the title of White House Hothead.

* There's Tony Snow, who yesterday made a particular mess of things in the White House briefing room.

* There's just-arrived domestic policy adviser Karl Zinsmeister, out with a new interview in which he talks about sex ("it's intense, it's fire"!) and its role in perpetuating what he has previously described as a "morally repugnant" underclass.

* And there's Vice President Dick Cheney making some controversial, unsupported assertions on right-wing talk radio.

Snow on the Rocks

We'll start with Tony Snow, who unleashed what may well have been the most inappropriate answer of his rocky one-month tenure at yesterday's briefing .

Here's a question Snow certainly knew was coming:

"Q Tony, American deaths in Iraq have reached 2,500. Is there any response or reaction from the President on that?"

And here is Snow's initial response:

"It's a number, and every time there's one of these 500 benchmarks people want something."

Yup, they sure do want something. Like maybe some sensitivity to the loss of life from the man speaking on behalf of the White House, for starters.

Snow also apologized yesterday for an earlier stumble: confusing one black congresswoman (Sheila Jackson-Lee, who attended a White House meeting last week) -- with another (Cynthia McKinney, who wasn't even there).

But more importantly, Snow yesterday amply illustrated his emerging -- and highly irritating -- modus operandi: When he doesn't want to answer a question, which is often the case, he either pleads ignorance or gets argumentative -- or both. And an increasingly common tactic: Demanding that reporters define the terms that he himself has just used.

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