For Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and the Washington Post, teaming up to claim President Bush said something he didn’t say is as easy as one, two, three.
If you doubt that, read the first three paragraphs of this Washington Post story, Democrats Criticize Bush For Saying DeLay's Innocent. Then look at what the President actually said.
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, in a new column previewing on MSNBC.com, has finally moved the “Bush lied” debate in a direction that has been highly anticipated: in her view, the alleged misinformation concerning Iraq WMD is equivalent to what President Lyndon Johnson and his Defense Secretary Robert McN
ABC's World News Tonight also devoted a full story, though not the lead, to the media-generated controversy. Terry Moran contended that “the fact that this was so carefully choreographed...shows just how urgently the White House wants not just a success on the ground in Iraq, but a PR success at home for this embattled President." Over on the CBS Evening News, anchor Bob Schieffer opined that “unfortunately for the President, after satellite cameras caught administration aides rehearsing the soldiers beforehand, Democrats dismissed the whole thing and said the troops deserved a lot better.” Lara Logan managed to cover other material in her story and uniquely showcased a soldier who told CBS: "The truth is that everything that was said was meant to be said, though it may have sounded scripted in some places. Nerves kick in, for one. Two, everyone puts their thoughts together. You put it down, you go over and over it a hundred times."
MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann also led Thursday with the “staged” event and the AP distributed a story breathlessly headlined, “Bush Teleconference With Soldiers Staged.” But on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, Hume noted complaints the event was "not entirely spontaneous" before Carl Cameron pointed out that Bush posed an unplanned question to the Iraqi soldier. In the panel segment, Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon recalled how when “back in December” a soldier asked Rumsfeld about armor, a question that “had been planted by a reporter, I didn't hear any outcry from the press.” (UPDATE with CNN coverage and transcripts follow.)
Robertson “may have no clout with the Bush administration, but you wouldn't know that from watching CNN today,” FNC's Brit Hume noted in reviewing the competing cable network's all-day obsession -- a focus which continued into the evening with Robertson leading the 7pm EDT Anderson Cooper 360 (hosted by Heidi Collins), the 8pm EDT Paula Zahn Now and the 10pm EDT NewsNight with Aaron Brown who tried to hold the whole religious right culpable as he asserted that "political leaders worried it makes the so-called Christian Right seem neither Christian nor right.” Robertson was also the first topic covered by MSNBC's 7pm Hardball with Chris Matthews and 8pm Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
Transcript of Barone's comments on Special Report with Brit Hume follows.
“This woman wants to go in and tell the President that the war is about oil because the President wants to pay off his buddies. She's a crackpot, and yet the press treats her as some important protestor.”