QUESTION: We hear in the Kurdist section of Iraq in Irbil there's been five Iranians detained. Can you tell us anything about this?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I can't speak to that specific report, but I will just note that the President made very clear last night that we know that Iran is engaged in activities that are endangering our troops, activities that are destabilizing the young Iraqi Government, and that we're going to pursue those who may be involved in those activities. But I can't speak to the specific report.
Just say, "I don't know the answer" or "I don't have that information for you right now." Or why not say, "I can't speak about that specific report."
Politicians have popularized the usage of this phrase in an attempt to make not knowing something or the avoidance of answering a question sound more palatable. It makes me want to snarl each time I hear it. It's on my mind this morning because a NO politician used the phrase several times during an interview on early local news.
Another pet peeve I hear so often during live broadcasts with people on the scenes of crimes and fires is, "At this point in time..."
At this point in time = Now
I have yet to hear, "I can't speak to that at this point in time." But I know it's coming. I only hope I'm already drunk when I hear it.