Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Friday | March 07, 2003

Bush never meant to answer questions

Helpfully sent in by Kevin in Altanta, check out the transcript from this morning's chat with Washington Post associate editor Robert Kaiser.

Of particular note is this segment:

Cleveland, Ohio: What I saw last night from President Bush was scary. The kindest thing I can say is that he was well-coached. Is there a reason he repeatedly ducked questions about possible worst case scenarios of the larger implications of the upcoming war against Iraq affecting our standing in the international community?

Robert G. Kaiser: As the president's aides acknowledged to my colleague Mike Allen ... they saw the news conference as an opportunity to deliver a message, not a time to answer a lot of difficult questions. If you read the transcript you'll see the President returning again and again to his prepared answers, regardless of what the questioner has asked. This is modern political communications. And it can be hugely frustrating, for reporters as well as citizens.

Yeah, there was no way last night could be classified a "press conference". It was a speech. But what was with the monotone? Again, Kaiser fills us in:
Washington, D.C.: Re: The press conference -- maybe Bush was trying hard not to look like a cowboy, not to look like someone eager to go to war. With a UN vote coming up, doesn't he have to sound as calm as possible? Next week will be the time to sound excited.

Robert G. Kaiser: In fact his aides told Bush repeatedly, according to my colleagues who cover the White House, that he HAD to use the press conference to dispell the cowboy image.

Problem is, Bush is not a good actor. For him to toss aside his cowboy image (which is the one that obviously comes naturally to him), he had to pretend to be something completely different. The Gipper could pull it off. The Big Dog too. But Bush II? If he wasn't sedated, he sure as hell came across as though he was. There was nothing reassuring in his performance.

Anyway, the transcript is quite illuminating, as Kaiser, among other things, reflects on the press' timidity when confronting Bush.

Posted March 07, 2003 11:05 AM | Comments (9)


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