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Scott McClellan Stays Mum About Future

Iraq War flack Dan Senor is potential successor

One day after Easter, the most discussed question on the cocktail circuit in Washington is whether Scott McClellan is in his twilight days as press secretary to the President.

In the last week, profiles of the 38-year-old McClellan have appeared in a variety of national publications, among them the Houston Chronicle and the Baltimore Sun. Inevitably, such profiles focus on whether President Bush has decided that his fellow Texan McClellan is no longer useful as the top public spokesman for the administration and will soon be jettisoned.

Eighteen months after then-Deputy Press Secretary McClellan succeeded Ari Fleischer in the top job at the James Brady Briefing Room at the White House, so-called “insiders” have even settled on who will succeed him: Dan Senor, formerly top spokesman for Operation Iraqi Freedom and now a Fox news analyst, often nicknamed “Mr. Campbell Brown” for his recent marriage to the weekend co-anchor of NBC’s “Today Show.”

McClellan himself was dragged into the controversy this afternoon at his regular daily briefing of reporters. Referring to the early morning meeting of the White House senior staff and signals from incoming Chief of Staff Josh Bolten that “there will be more staff changes,” NBC White House Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell asked McClellan: “Do you plan to stay on?”

“Are you trying to tempt me here?” deadpanned the press secretary, who has had several stormy sessions with White House reporters of late.

“Not at all,” replied O’Donnell.

McClellan then gave his standard mantra that “I never speculate about personnel matters.”

O’Donnell pressed on, inquiring: “‘Personnel’ or ‘personal’ or both?”

The President’s top spokesman countered: “Two years in this position is a long time, I’m very mindful of that. But, look, I never get into any of that speculation.”  McClellan then quickly called on ABC’s Martha Raditz for the next question.

At the close of what was a relatively calm press briefing, talk show host and veteran White House correspondent Les Kinsolving—known to fans of the sessions for his provocative queries—cried out: “Scott, don’t leave us.” As he departed the briefing room, McClellan grinned and called back:  “Leave you, Les?”

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ?ť and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ?ť and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â?ť video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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