MADKANE: Secretary Rumsfeld, welcome. And thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview.
RUMSFELD: It's my pleasure, Ms. Kane. I'm always happy to talk to a lovely lady.
MADKANE: Now you're not trying to disarm me, are you?
RUMSFELD: That all depends. Do you have any connections to Iraq?
MADKANE: That's a good one, Mr. Secretary. You're quite the kidder.
RUMSFELD: I wasn't kidding.
MADKANE: Well, in that case, no. I don't have any connections to...
RUMSFELD: Okay, I was kidding.
MADKANE: Which brings me to your reputation for using humor to diffuse tense situations.
RUMSFELD: I see you've boned up on military lingo.
MADKANE: Yes ... well ... moving on. Until recently, reporters (especially female reporters) described you as sexy...
RUMSFELD: Condi has better legs.
MADKANE: ...but those references have died out during the last few months. Do you miss being the hottest fellow in the White House?
RUMSFELD: The absence of evidence isn't evidence of abstinence.
MADKANE: Okay, then. Let's talk about recent events regarding Iraq. According to a Financial Times story, the creation of the Iraq Stabilization Group was done without your knowledge. So you were apparently cut out of the Iraq reconstruction loop. How...
RUMSFELD: Gee whiz, what an astounding thing to say!
MADKANE: So you deny that you're outside the loop?
RUMSFELD: There's no loop to be outside of.
MADKANE: But Condi Rice made an announcement that seems to have caught you by surprise.
RUMSFELD: I've never been caught, by surprise or otherwise.
RUMSFELD: My absence from the loop evidences the absence of a loop.
MADKANE: Then how do you explain...
RUMSFELD: The absence of a loop negates the need for an explanation.
MADKANE: What about the rumors that you're being punished for your Iraq planning failures?
RUMSFELD: There are no such rumors.
MADKANE: So you deny the truth of the rumors?
RUMSFELD: The absence of such rumors obviates the need to deny them.
MADKANE: One last question: Do you use big words like "obviates" in front of President Bush?
RUMSFELD: Only if I want to keep the President out of the loop.