A CNN.com article on Monday emphasized how Laura Bush “praised the performance” of President Obama during a recent interview and “criticized Washington’s sharp political divide.” Mrs. Bush also complimented Dick Cheney for defending the Bush administration during the interview with correspondent Zain Verjee, but the article didn’t mention this until 15 paragraphs later.
The article, titled “Laura Bush praises Obama, bemoans excessive partisanship,” summarized Verjee’s interview with the former first lady. The lead paragraph highlighted Mrs. Bush’s positive words for Mr. Obama: “Former first lady Laura Bush praised the performance of her husband’s successor Monday, breaking with many Republicans in telling CNN that she thinks President Obama is doing a good job under tough circumstances.”
After mentioning Cheney in passing in listing the topics of discussion during the interview, the CNN.com article returned to emphasizing how the former resident of the White House parted ways with her husband’s political allies: “The typically reserved former first lady defended Obama’s decision to deliver a back-to-school speech to students, putting her at odds with many conservatives afraid that the president will use the opportunity to advance his political agenda.”
Several paragraphs later, CNN.com highlighted how Mrs. Bush apparently “indicated that she didn’t think it was fair for Obama to be labeled a ‘socialist’ by critics and expressed her disappointment with the intensely polarized nature of contemporary American politics.” She didn’t give such a direct answer however:
VERJEE: Do you think that it’s fair that Obama is criticized as a socialist?
BUSH: I have no idea whether it’s fair. Do you think I thought it was fair when President Bush was criticized? Not really- so I guess not.
The article didn’t address Laura Bush’s praise for former Vice President Cheney until the 16th paragraph:
Though the former first lady criticized the excessive partisanship of Washington, she expressed gratitude for Cheney’s decision to vocally defend her husband’s performance.
Cheney has been outspoken in his defense of the Bush administration’s national security record, which has been sharply criticized on, among other things, questions relating to the detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects.
“I think that Vice President Cheney has every right to speak out, and I appreciate that he is defending” the administration, Bush said. “I think that is important. I think there is a place for that.”
Bush also said it doesn’t bother her husband that Cheney’s “out there being critical.”