Whitewasher at Work
A lot of the conversation in Thursday's press briefing centered around Bush being called on the lie he told the press a week ago, when he said basically that Donald Rumsfeld would be around until his presidency ends -- knowing full well that a change was coming quickly. Snow dodged all of those questions, but it was nothing compared to how he describes Bush, a guy who believes that being president means never having to say you're sorry, as not seeing any significance in the tsunami of bad will he got from voters in the midterm elections.
Question: I'm just wondering what's the President's mood in the last 36 hours? He's been given this -- what many people are interpreting as a rebuke. How is he handling this? What are you seeing?"I'm not sure Iraq played a big role in those races." He's kidding, right? But there's more at the hands of the venerable Helen Thomas:
Snow: Look, he's handling it the way he handles all these things. I mean, I was up watching election returns. The President is not a guy who's -- I'm afraid he doesn't get on the couch, Jim. What he does is -- the statement he's made many times is, "What it is is what it is." And what you have to do is now figure out how you're going to proceed.
Question: But what it is is a rebuke.
Snow: No. What it is is it's an election return, Jim. And elections -- the President understands, especially in six terms [sic] of presidency. The message in the election return is you're going to have a Democratic House and we'll see what happens in the Senate. But the other things is that as President you figure out the best way to move forward with the things that are important to you. And, I've mentioned many times, the President is going to be absolutely aggressive on making sure that these last two years are years in which we do accomplish a lot of the people's business.
Question: Tony, isn't the message -- is the message the people have spoken? This was largely a referendum on his policy in Iraq. We don't like the policy in Iraq comes the message back from the voters. So he's having to absorb this rejection.
Snow:: Well, no. The President doesn't absorb a rejection. A couple of things: In ten of the races, you had members of the House of Representatives on the Republican side who have been tainted by scandal. I'm not sure Iraq played a big role in those races. The voters said, you know what, we expect you to come to Washington and do the people's business. And when people lose sight of that, voters tend to remind them of the priorities. That's 10 seats right there.
Snow: Helen."These things will become manifest in the fullness of time." Wow. That's some good stuff. But how can it be that a guy who allegedly has as much resolve and conviction as George W. Bush, needs a bit more time to come up with his core principles?
Question: What is this -- these four principles that he'll never budge on?
Snow: Well, the President has made it pretty clear, for instance, that he believes in tax cuts. And there are a number of others. But what I don't want to be doing right now is sort of anticipating --
Question: That's not a principle, per se. What are the principles that guide his --
Snow: Well, again, these things will become manifest in the fullness of time, Helen. As we begin to debate certain issues, you will find that there will be discussions of these things.
Helen hits him again about the fact that poll after poll -- and the results of Tuesday's election -- continue to show most Americans wanting us out of this pointless war:
Question: Also, why does he think this mandate from the voters doesn't mean to pull out?Tune in next time when Tony Snow will offer his thesis that every Republican rubber-stamper who just got voted out of office… actually won!
Snow: Because I don't think that's a majority opinion.