2:00 P.M. (Local)
MR. BARTLETT: Good afternoon, everyone. I'll start with a few brief comments, before I take your questions. [...]
Q Does the President condone the remarks about homosexuality by General Pace? And has he asked for him to apologize?
MR. BARTLETT: Well, President Bush has been informed about those remarks. He's also been informed about the comments that he has made as far as clarifying, that he made it very clear that his personal views on this matter has no influence on the policy of the United States government. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy has been longstanding, one the President supports, for reasons why the Department of Defense has often described for operational considerations. So he thought it was appropriate for the Chairman to make that clear distinction today in the statement that went out just shortly ago. [...]
Q Can I ask a question -- switching gears -- on General Pace? What message do thousands of gays in the military right now serving in Iraq -- what should they take from General Pace's message regarding mortality, when their lives are on the line --
MR. BARTLETT: I have no way to identify whether your premise is right about how many people are serving in Iraq, but all I can say is the President appreciates the sacrifice and service of every service member, and what they're doing on a daily basis to improve the situation on the ground and we can accomplish our goals there.