White House Spokesman Laughed Out of White House Press Room

This is just too good: if you visit CSPAN.org right now, and check out the center column marked “most watched video,” you can see that Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer’s Feb. 25 press briefing sits at the top of the list. The reason is due to the last three minutes of the half-hour video.
It involves a spate of tough questions which end in Fleischer’s rhetorical de-pantsing. As expected, the questions come from representatives of the “foreign media.”
The topic of interest is a reporter’s pointed probe of U.S. efforts to buy votes on the UN Security Council for authorization to begin Gulf War II. The particular journalist nailing Fleischer cites stories in the French press – which confirm through two separate sources in the U.S. State Department – that American diplomats are whipping out the Treasury checkbook and asking, quite pointedly, “how much for your vote for war?”
After failing to deflect the question – twice – Ari tries what results in a terminal spin: putting on a concerned face, he scolds the reporter. “But think about the implications of what you’re saying. You’re saying that the leaders of other nations are buyable. And that is not an acceptable proposition.”
The journalists positively explode with laughter. After a terse “thank you,” Fleischer exits stage right. Indeed, as the C-SPAN cameras continue to pan around the press room you can hear a man’s voice bubble up through the journo-chatter, in a semi-amazed tone: “laughed off the stage.”
This will definitely not make the news in the States. (Actually, the Fleischer quote has been reported, in some Knight-Ridder newspapers and elsewhere, but if you didn’t know its context its meaning would seem completely different.)
In case the video drops off the CSPAN “most watched” list, here is a direct link. Skip to about the 28-minute mark for the meat.