The headline on this NYT article should have read, “Nation’s President Manages to Walk Without Falling Down”, sub-head, “America Proud of President Who Gets 100 On Pop-Quiz, Speaks For Self Without Usual Rambling, Mumbling, and Incoherence.” You think I’m kidding?
After a meeting that both the White House and the commission had billed as historic, Mr. Bush appeared before reporters in the Rose Garden and described the question-and-answer session with the 10 members of the bipartisan commission as “very cordial.” He said he “answered every question that they asked.”
“Look, Mommy, I answered evewy kestion aw by myse’f.”
“That’s Mommy’s big, grown-up boy. Tell Mommy-Barb all about it.”
The setting for the panel’s long-awaited interview of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who insisted on talking with the commission together, was orchestrated to take advantage of all of the symbolic power of the Oval Office while making clear that the White House did not consider the meeting to be adversarial. [Yeah, right.–M]Administration officials said the president and vice president were seated in wing-back chairs in front of the Oval Office fireplace, with the commission members seated on a pair of couches and several wooden chairs in an informal semicircle around them, the day’s strong sunlight streaming in from the windows behind them.
“We bwot all the teachers into my Big Woom and made ’em all sit wight in fwont of the window so the sun was in their eyes, and then me ‘n Dick sat down in the BIGGEST chairs so we was lookin’ down at ’em–”
“Very good, dear. What a good trick! And who taught you that?”
“My fwiend Karl, Mommy. He knows a lot of good stuff like that.”
“And then what happened, precious?”
“We just tol’ ’em evewything we tol’ ’em before, thass all.”
… they were aware of intelligence warnings but believed them to refer to threats overseas…the now-famous Aug. 6, 2001, intelligence briefing about domestic terrorist threats was mostly historical…[that it] did not recommend that the White House step up security…”There were no surprises,” said the panel’s chairman, Thomas H. Kean.
Really? I’m shocked. In these uncomfortable circumstances, faced with tough questioning, I’m sure (of course there’s no way to know since THEY DIDN’T ALLOW IT TO BE RECORDED), The Prez didn’t crack like a blanched walnut, huh? (Clinton reference–see Guidebook) Sorry for the interruption, now back to our regularly scheduled program, Dick & Georgie’s Excellent Adventure.
He said in an interview that the questioning was “very sharp but very fair — by sharp, I mean in the sense of intellectually sharp.”
“It’s OK, Mommy.”
“You mean Dickie answered all the questions?”
“Naw. I did.”
“Oh dear, dear.”
…the president had handled nearly three-quarters of the questions raised by the commissioners. If the public had been allowed to witness the meeting, he said, “I think they would have had a lot more confidence in our government.”
Because he may have shown he can answer a few friendly questions by giving answers he’s rehearsed without tripping over his own tongue? Oh, yes, that would have made me feel a LOT better.
Another of the panel’s Republicans, John F. Lehman, Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, said Mr. Bush had answered the panel’s questions with little hesitation or need for assistance from Mr. Cheney or Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel.
“They said they wewe vewy pwoud of me.”
“They did, dear? Really?”
[Note the absence–and we are 2/3 of the way through the story–of any quote from Democratic panel members. Oh, look, here comes one now:]
“He answered directly and completely and in a very cordial and respectful way,” Mr. Kerrey said.
“I was a perfeck gen’leman.”
“I’m proud of you, dear. You didn’t spit at them?”
“You didn’t squirm in your chair and burp like you usually do?”
“And you called them all ‘Sir’?”
“Yup. Even that Jamie guy, excep’ I think he’s a girl.”
Despite what both sides agreed was the polite, even friendly tone of the meeting, the commissioners were treated as outsiders by the White House. They were seen being searched by hand for weapons before they stepped into the Oval Office….
“Well, you had to do that, dear. Some of them were..Democrats!” *shudders, gasps, gives her boy a hug* “I’m so glad you’re alright. That must have been a terrible ordeal.”
“Naw. I din’t like the test questions so I just took ’em and tossed ’em.”
Their notebooks were taken from them before they left the session….
“But what good will that do, dear?”
“I jus’ take my widdle black pen and scrrrr-itch! Anythin’ I don’ like is ‘national security’, ‘classified.'”
“Oh, very, very good, George.”
“I can say ‘redacted’, can you?”
“Yes, dear. Yes, I can.”
In an appearance before reporters after the session, the president offered his first public explanation for why the White House had wanted him and Mr. Cheney to be interviewed together. Mr. Bush said he had wanted the commission to understand how he and Mr. Cheney operated as a team — both on Sept. 11 and in its aftermath.”I wanted them to know how I set strategy, how we run the White House, how we deal with threats,” Mr. Bush said. “The vice president answered a lot of their questions — answered all their questions. And I think it was important for them to see our body language as well, how we work together.”
Body language? Body language? He wanted them to see his body language? He wasn’t wearing his flight-suit again, was he? So he went hand-in-hand with Cheney so they could see his *gagging sound* “body…language…” Give the guy credit–it’s original. Stupid, but original. [“Body language”! Sheesh….]
Asked if the commission had questioned Mr. Bush about the possibility that Qaeda terrorists were still in the United States, Mr. Bush said, “No, they didn’t.”
Why would they? As their investigation showed conclusively, he’d be the last to know.
“The president was very forthcoming and answered all of our questions”…there was frequent laughter during the questioning…the former Republican governor of Illinois…praised Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney for “five-star performances.”…Mr. Bush would sometimes get a “twinkle in his eye” [You know, he could have that surgically removed, now–M]…”The president got off a couple of good shots.”
Of bourbon, or so I hear. They might as well have pinned a medal for bravery on him just for showing up, planted a gold star on his forehead for having his answers ready, given him the lead in the school play for being so convincing in his “performance”, and handed him the award as “Most Popular Kid in Class” because he was just so dang charming.
I fink I gonna fwow up.
Am I wrong or is everybody just relieved he didn’t self-destruct right in front of them?