STEP ONE: Act like you didn't catch the obvious point of the question
"Q Mr. President, why are you and the Vice President insisting on appearing together before the 9/11 Commission? And, Mr. President, who will you be handing the Iraqi government over to on June 30th?Of course, the reporter wants to know why the President refuses to meet with them on his own, without Cheney's help, raising the shocking speculation that he does not himself know enough to answer most of the questions. But, oh-so-slyly, President Bush would have us believe he thought the question was: "why are you going to see the commission?" to which the literal, though rather rudimentary, answer indeed is: "because they want to ask questions." It's a classic, relegating the exchange to the "why did the chicken cross the road? to get to the other side" family of interrogations. Then if the reporter sneaks in a follow-up, as happened here (which probably got him uninvited to the next press conference in mid-2005), resort to:
THE PRESIDENT: We will find that out soon. That's what Mr. Brahimi is doing; he's figuring out the nature of the entity we'll be handing sovereignty over. And, secondly, because the 9/11 Commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions."
STEP TWO: Employ the I-get-the-last-word strategy. This step involves reiterating your answer in the face of the questioner's attempt at clarification. This offers unambiguous, sweet defiance of his thinking he even had the right to ask anything at all. Not only does the President get to avoid the question, he sends a message to the others....don't even think about it.
"Q I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.Then, move on to another questioner. Return to step one.
THE PRESIDENT: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 Commission is looking forward to asking us, and I'm looking forward to answering them."