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  xFriday, July 18, 2003

the 'responsibility president'


Talking Points Memo outlines the hostile questioning new White House press secretary Scott McClellan when asked if President Bush took responsibility for his words in the State of the Union speech. Read the whole transcript...it's truly amazing, and one almost feels sorry for McClellan. Money quote one:
QUESTION: And so when there's intelligence in a speech, the President is not responsible for that?

Money quote two:
QUESTION: Scott, on Keith's question, why can't we just expect, basically what would be a non-answer, which is, of course the President is responsible for everything that comes out of his mouth. I mean, that's a non-answer. Why can't you just say that?

Scott McClellan: This issue has been addressed over the last several days.

QUESTION: Why won't you say that, though, that's, like, so innocuous and benign.

Scott McClellan: The issue has been addressed.

...need I remind all and sundry that Bush campaigned on a platform of responsibility?
(TPM also takes note of the fact that George Tenet apparently named names in Senate testimony about just who at the White House kept pushing for inclusion of the bogus African uranium claim in Presdiential speeches.)

But hold on -- that was jyst Bush's newbie press flack. Surely, given the opportunity, Bush would accept responsiblity himself, right?

Ummm....no.

Busy, Busy, Busy has a follow-up on Bush being asked the same question later that's so good I just have to cite the whole thing:
MR. BUSH: "Well, first, I take responsibility for putting our troops into action. And I made that decision because Saddam Hussein was a threat to our security and a threat to other nations. I take responsibility for, making the decision, the tough decision to put together a coalition to remove Saddam Hussein. Because the intelligence, not only our
intelligence but the intelligence of this great country [gesturing towards P.M. Blair], made a clear and compelling case that Saddam Hussein was a threat to security and peace. I say that because he possessed chemical weapons and biological weapons. I strongly believe he was trying to reconstitute his nuclear weapons programs. And I will remind the skeptics that in 1991 it became clear that Saddam was much closer to developing a nuclear weapon than anyone had imagined. He was a threat. I take responsibility for dealing with that threat. We're in a war against terror. And we will continue to fight the war against terror. We're after al- Qaeda, as the Prime Minister accurately noted and we're dismantling al-Qaeda. The removal of Saddam Hussein is an integral part of winning the war against terror. A free Iraq will make it much less likely that we will find violence in that immediate neighborhood. A free Iraq will make it more likely we'll get a Middle-Eastern peace. A free Iraq will have incredible influence on the states that could potentially unleash terrorist activity on us. And, yeah, I take responsibility for making the decisions I made."

The portion of Mr. Bush's response in which he takes responsibility for his own words is highlighted in bold.


Last night at the dinner table, I was telling my lovely wife about the Administration's unconvincing performance, when our (nearly) four-year-old asked us who Bush was.

Cecilia: Who's Bush?

Me: He's our president, and he did something that he won't take responsibility for.

Cecilia: But I do.

It's a truly sad commentary when not only is a (nearly) four-year-old generally more willing to accept responsibility for her behavior, but that she recognizes how wrong it is when a President tires to weasel out of it.





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