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Friday | March 07, 2003

Reviews are in: Bush sucked

Boy, don't expect any more press conferences from this president. Early reaction to last night's press conference are decidedly negative.

First of all comes the Washington Times (!) noting Bush's snub of the doyenne of the press corps, Helen Thomas, and the Washington Post's Mike Allan.

A long-running Washington tradition apparently ended last night when, for the first time in memory, the doyenne of the White House press corps was not called on in a presidential press conference.

Syndicated columnist Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since John F. Kennedy, was relegated to the third row in last night's East Room event and if the memory of press corps veterans is accurate received her first presidential snub.

One reporter who has covered the past six presidents said: "I don't remember a press conference in which [Mrs. Thomas] didn't get a question."

For many years, it was a tradition for Mrs. Thomas to ask the first question at White House news conferences and end them by saying, on behalf of the press corps, "Thank you, Mr. President." However, in recent years, her influence has waned although she was still afforded one of the first questions and continues to enjoy a front-row seat at regular White House briefings.

A competent president would seek out the tough questions -- proving by force of argument the truthfulness of his position. This is somethig Blair does almost weekly. Instead, Bush punishes any dissent (read: "real journalism") and coddles the weakest amongst the press corps. That group has to be the laughing stock of the journalism world.

Bush fanatic Andrew Sullivan, in between bashing France, Germany, and Russia, had this to say:

The spin is that he was trying to look calm and reassuring. I just thought he looked wiped. There were moments when he almost seemed catatonic with fatigue.


All in all, though, this press conference struck me as a mistake. He looked drained, wan, exhausted from this interminable diplomatic process. He seemed defeated to me - and the U.N. has effectively defeated him and protected Saddam.

Ha ha! As if Bush is runninng around the UN corridors trying to round up votes. That's what the State Department is for. Bush makes the occasional phone call, and he's bushed? I guess when you have to make an excuse for your president's pathetic performance, might as well spin it into another anti-UN diatribe.

The WP's "style columnist" Tom Shales was also not impressed:

George W. Bush kept seeming to lose interest in his own remarks last night as the president did that rarest of rare things -- for him -- and held a prime-time news conference. Televised live on all the major networks from the East Room of the White House, the occasion found Bush declaring this to be "an important moment" for America and the world, yet he spoke with little urgency and no perceptible passion.

Have ever a people been led more listlessly into war? It's tempting to speculate how history would have changed if Winston Churchill or FDR had been as lethargic as Bush about rallying their nations in an hour of crisis. There were times when it appeared his train of thought had jumped the tracks.

Occasionally he would stare blankly into space during lengthy pauses between statements -- pauses that once or twice threatened to be endless. There were times when it seemed every sentence Bush spoke was of the same duration and delivered in the same dour monotone, giving his comments a numbing, soporific aura. Watching him was like counting sheep.

Like I said, after this performance expect Rove to put an end to these things. It's clear our president can't handle anything so simple as answering questions a seventh-grade debate student could handle with ease.

(Via Political Wire)

Posted March 07, 2003 07:35 AM | Comments (74)


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