Yesterday, reporters asked nearly a dozen different questions about whether the White House supports a strong U.S. dollar, after Treasury Secretary John W. Snow seemed over the weekend to suggest otherwise. Fleischer said only that the policy of supporting a strong dollar has not changed.
"I thought I just said," Fleischer said firmly at one point, "today is the day to state the policy and say no more and no less. Now, if I answer that question, I'm stating either more or less. Today is the day to state the policy, and I'm saying nothing more and nothing less."
Given that he had to face reporters twice on most days, usually once live on television, Fleischer committed relatively few blunders. He was once forced, however, to recant his suggestion at a news briefing that Clinton's deep engagement in the Middle East peace process as president had led to more violence in the region.
In one early briefing, Fleischer celebrated Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's assurance that the president's Cabinet nominees would all be confirmed. Daschle's office responded furiously that the senator had said no such thing.
"I speak for the president," a contrite Fleischer said afterward. "And that's what I should have done."
At times, Fleischer has tried to improve his relationship with the press corps, socializing with reporters during presidential trips. However, Fleischer acknowledged yesterday that it was never his priority to keep the press corps satisfied.
Reporters have the right "to ask anything they want," he said.
"My position [is] having to figure out how much of it to answer, when to answer it," he added. "And I, at all times, serve the president."