Quote: "No comment and non sequitur." Dana Millbank, in the Washington Post.
Figure of Speech: Non sequitur (non SEH-qui-tor), the figure of irrelevance.
When a student at Johns Hopkins University asked the President about White House leaks, Bush spun his rhetorical tires for a bit: "Yes, no, I, this is, there’s an ongoing legal proceeding which precludes me from talking a lot about the case."
Then he got traction. Bush explained he had declassified a National Intelligence Estimate — one that his people had already selectively leaked — because "it made sense for people to see the truth." But the student’s question wasn’t about declassifying. It was about leaking.
The non sequitur ("doesn’t follow") is an irrelevant point that, when done intentionally, can switch topics while sounding on topic. Reporter Dana Millbank notes that Bush’s response qualifies: "no comment and non sequitur."
Clever phrase, that. It’s a non sequitur too.
Snappy Answer: "Which part of the truth did they see?"