Tuesday, August 31, 2004

BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT Elisabeth ("it's frightening to stand up there") Bumiller cautions:
It was unclear if Mr. Bush had meant to make the remark to Mr. Lauer, or if he misspoke.
Here's the full exchange (via Andrew Sullivan):
LAUER: You said to me a second ago, one of the things you'll lay out in your vision for the next four years is how to go about winning the war on terror. That phrase strikes me a little bit. Do you really think we can win this war of ter--on terror? For example, in the next four years?

Pres. BUSH: I have never said we can win it in four years?

LAUER: No, I'm just saying, can we win it? Do you say that?

Pres. BUSH: I don't--I don't think we can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that the--those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in part of the world, let's put it that way. I have a two-pronged strategy. On the one hand is to find them before they hurt us. And that's necessary. I'm telling you it's necessary.
Set aside for a moment the President's tendency to butcher his syntax. Is there anything intrinsic to this exchange that suggests he misspoke?

And can you envision a prominent White House correspondent giving our last president this kind of latitude to revise and extend his remarks?

Anyone else think Bumiller is showing a bit too much deference here?

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.