Behind the Scenes

McClellan at Home

Battered and bullied in the press room, morning, noon, and night. What’s a normal, average press secretary to do when he just wants to spend some quality time with his wife? As it turns out, things aren’t much better there.

White House Press Secretary SCOTT MCCLELLAN loosens his tie as he enters his Washington apartment. MRS. MCCLELLAN sits on the couch, flipping through a magazine. SCOTT MCCLELLAN goes and kisses his wife on the cheek, but she doesn’t even look up from the magazine.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN: Good evening. I have a brief statement updating you on Mr. McClellan’s day, and then I’ll be glad to answer some questions.

Mr. McClellan had a very long day at the office. While he understands it’s the press’s job to investigate and report on events, they don’t seem to understand that it is Mr. McClellan’s job to keep any substantive information from escaping the West Wing. For some reason, lately, they seem to hate Mr. McClellan for this. Mr. McClellan is getting pretty damn tired of NBC’s David Gregory picking on him. Just because Mr. Gregory has a luxurious mane of distinguished gray hair doesn’t mean he can ask such pointed questions without risking permanent reassignment to Abu Ghraib, if you know what I’m saying.

In other news, once again, Mr. McClellan’s tuna sandwich was stolen out of the office refrigerator. Whoever is doing this, it clearly isn’t Karl Rove, who retains the full confidence of the president, but it is still quite distressing and something Mr. McClellan would like to get to the bottom of. The president has declined Mr. McClellan’s request for the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate.

And with that, I will be glad to go to your questions.

Mrs. McClellan puts the magazine down and raises her hand.

SM: Yes?

MRS. MCCLELLAN: Were you raised in a barn among filthy animals?

SM: As you know, Mr. McClellan was born and raised in Austin, Texas, the son of—

MM: That’s not my question. It’s a yes or no question. Were you raised in a barn among filthy animals?

SM: Mr. McClellan’s mother is the comptroller for the state of Texas and his fath—

MM: For Christ’s sake, Scott, let’s not bring your mother into this. I’m just trying to find out why you insist on leaving the toilet seat up every single day.

SM: Mr. McClellan is of course concerned about the events that may or may not have led to the toilet seat being left up, but at this time he feels like it’s more important to look forward, specifically to what might be for dinner.

MM: Scott. You left the toilet seat up. Again. I fell into the toilet, again. Why can’t you just admit it and apologize?

SM: Some people are trying to play the blame game here, and Mr. McClellan just thinks that isn’t productive. There will be a time and place to investigate the causes of the toilet seat being left up, but now is not that time.

MM: Scott, please. Two of us live here—me and you. I pee with the toilet seat down. You pee with it up. The toilet seat was left up. Who do you think might have done this?

SM: Again, Mr. McClellan doesn’t think this is the time to assign blame, but perhaps the aggrieved parties would feel better if they received a $2,000 FEMA debit card to go shopping. It’s possible that there are some extras laying around the office.

MM: That’s not going to cut it. I’m afraid I did what I promised I’d do last time this happened.

SM: Was there a question in there?

MM: How would Scott feel about his precious Donald Rumsfeld bobble-head doll decapitated and melted in the microwave?

SM: Mr. McClellan doesn’t really appreciate the game of finger-pointing and threat-making—

MM: It’s not a threat, Scott. Your Condi Rice Pez dispenser, too—bye bye.

SM: Mr. McClellan would like to know if his Ambassador John Bolton fuzzy slippers and his Vice President Cheney potato-head figurine are in a secure location.

MM: If by secure location you mean flowing through the city sewer toward the Potomac, the answer is “yes.” Now, will you promise?

For the first time in his entire life, Scott McClellan is genuinely flustered. He wipes a tear from his eye.

SM: While these losses are regrettable, Mr. McClellan is just trying to solve problems. Mr. McClellan again emphasizes the need to look forward, to do everything possible in his power to have a nice meal, perhaps a little wine, some music…

MM: Do you honestly think you’re going to get lucky tonight? Are you really that dense?

SM: How else would one explain Mr. McClellan’s ability to do his job so well?


TMN contributing writer John Warner’s first novel, The Funny Man was recently published by Soho Press. He teaches at the College of Charleston and is co-color commentator for The Morning News Tournament of Books. More by John Warner