Sam Roberts, host of the weekly "Political Points" podcast at nytimes.com, and White House correspondent Peter Baker had an exchange about Karl Rove’s new book “Courage and Consequence,” about six minutes from the end of Thursday’s edition of “Political Points."
Roberts parroted the conventional liberal wisdom about the Bush administration's failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, asking Baker whether the American public deserves an apology from Rove and President Bush for the intelligence failure. It was up to Baker to point out that the idea of Saddam Hussein having WMD was not a view pushed by the White House onto gullible Democrats, adding that many Democrats who looked at the intelligence agreed that Iraq posed a threat.
Sam Roberts: “Peter, let me ask you, let me ask you a question about the “courage” part of that. He says that George Bush would not have invaded Iraq had he known there were no weapons of mass destruction there. Does Karl Rove or the president owe the American public an apology?”
Peter Baker: “Well, he’s not giving you an apology, that’s for sure. He argues that it wasn’t just the Bush administration, but everybody in Washington, including leading Democrats on the Hill, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and so forth who thought that Saddam Hussein had weapons, and that he denied [unintelligble] --”
Roberts: “-- but because they were told that by the administration, right?”
Baker: “Well, they were told that by the intelligence agencies, which is not the same thing. And he argues that they had access to the same or at least decent enough intelligence to make, draw the conclusions that they drew, similar to the ones the administration drew from the intelligence that it saw. He says that Bush, you know, absolutely did not lie about the weapons and genuinely believed them to be there.”