HELEN THOMAS: At the earlier briefing, Ari, you said that the President deplored the taking of innocent lives. Does that apply to all innocent lives in the world? And I have a follow-up.

MR. FLEISCHER: I refer specifically to a horrible terrorist attack on Tel Aviv that killed scores and wounded hundreds. And the President, as he said in his statement yesterday, deplores in the strongest terms the taking of those lives and the wounding of those people, innocents in Israel.

MS. THOMAS: My follow-up is, why does he want to drop bombs on innocent Iraqis?

MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, the question is how to protect Americans, and our allies and friends--

MS. THOMAS: They're not attacking you.

MR. FLEISCHER:--from a country--

MS. THOMAS: Have they laid the glove on you or on the United States, the Iraqis, in 11 years?

MR. FLEISCHER: I guess you have forgotten about the Americans who were killed in the first Gulf War as a result of Saddam Hussein's aggression then.

MS. THOMAS: Is this revenge, 11 years of revenge?

MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, I think you know very well that the President's position is that he wants to avert war, and that the President has asked the United Nations to go into Iraq to help with the purpose of averting war.

MS. THOMAS: Would the President attack innocent Iraqi lives?There's more. But you get the idea: National Treasure.

Thought for Today

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
--Andy Warhol

Be a Presidential Speechwriter!

No home should be without one--the Internet equivalent of magnetic poetry that you write youself. Only in this version, you can write a speech for George Bush.

What's Up with God?

It's the most consistently hilarious segment of "The Daily Show"--Stephen Colbert's This Week in God. Here you get a handful of episodes. Great for a boring winter afternoon at the office.

Bernard Kerik: Who's Your Nanny?

Bloggers have wondered for days about the identity of Bernard Kerik's nanny, who is--according to Kerik and the White House--the reason he withdrew his nomination to head Homeland Security. Soon after government and Kerik sources gave different dates for her employment, cynics started asking: Was there ever a nanny?

No definitive answers, but The New York Times makes you think the cynics have a point:

A neighbor who lives next door to the Keriks in Franklin Lakes, N.J., said that until a few weeks ago she would see a woman she believed to be the nanny playing ball with the two Kerik children in a side yard. But even that neighbor, who described the children's playmate as a young, olive-skinned woman who did not drive, had never met the woman or learned where she came from. The neighbor spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But many others have either been reluctant or unable to talk about her, including other nannies in the neighborhood, relatives of Mr. Kerik's wife, Hala, even Mr. Kerik's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina.

Mr. Tacopina, who has also been fielding calls from the press on Mr. Kerik's behalf, said he knows nothing about the nanny's identity, the length of her employment or even her nationality, despite news reports that she was Mexican that were mistakenly attributed to him.

"I never met her," he said. "I don't know what country she came from. I don't know her nationality. I don't know her name." Pressed, he added, "I know she's not a phantom, because a document was applied for and received."

The document to which Mr. Tacopina referred is itself secret, however. A registration form that New Jersey requires of employers of household workers, state officials said, it was issued to Mr. Kerik on Nov. 17, shortly before President Bush announced his nomination, and its contents are private - including the name and Social Security number listed for the employee in question.

Mr. Tacopina said that he had not prepared or seen the documents - withholding-tax forms and a report on wages paid - but that he believed they had been filed "in conjunction with the paying of the taxes."

Last night, Mr. Kerik was told that skeptics in city government circles were questioning the very existence of the nanny, and he was pressed to provide any kind of evidence to document that she was real. But after taking time to consider the request, Mr. Kerik again decided to remain silent on the subject. There's much more, all of it juicy reading (or maybe it's just refreshing to read a story about Rudy Giuliani's sidekick that isn't about sex or the Mafia). And, assuming the worst, it raises a question: