The atmosphere can get pretty testy in the White House press briefing room from time to time.
But there were no cameras rolling in the Monday morning "gaggle'' today, the morning after news belatedly broke about Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shooting a hunting companion on Saturday. The broadcast sessions of press encounters with White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan are saved for formal afternoon briefings, with the morning gaggles serving as more informal warm-ups. And David Gregory, the chief White House correspondent for NBC News, was warmed up.
Why was the White House relying on a Texas rancher to get the word of Cheney's hunting accident out over the weekend, asked Gregory, accusing McClellan of "ducking and weaving.''
""David, hold on... the cameras aren't on right now,'' McClellan replied. "You can do this later.''
"Don't accuse me of trying to pose to the cameras,'' the newsman said, his voice rising somewhat. "Don't be a jerk to me personally when I'm asking you a serious question.''
"You don't have to yell,'' McClellan said.
"I will yell,'' said Gregory, pointing a finger at McCellan at his dais. "If you want to use that podium to try to take shots at me personally, which I don't appreciate, then I will raise my voice, because that's wrong.''