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My Octogenarian Sweetheart

From yesterdays Bush press conference we get this piece of magnificence:

QUESTION (Helen Thomas): I’d like to ask you, Mr. President — your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime.

Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, your Cabinet officers, former Cabinet officers, intelligence people and so forth — but what’s your real reason? You have said it wasn’t oil, the quest for oil. It hasn’t been Israel or anything else. What was it?

Of course the president skirted the truth like a mine field. It's a shame he's such a pathetic public speaker. Actually it's kinda funny watching him try to tie 9/11, al qaeda, saddam, and afghanistan together without repeating any of the old discredited lies, which he of course he never said. As a result we get things from him like this:

Part of that meant to make sure that we didn’t allow people to provide safe haven to an enemy, and that’s why I went into Iraq.

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: Hold on for a second. Excuse me for a second, please. Excuse me for a second. They did. The Taliban provided safe haven for Al Qaida.

BUSH: That’s where Al Qaida trained and that’s where…

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Helen, excuse me.

That’s where — Afghanistan provided safe haven for Al Qaida.
See? pathetic. (See for yourself.)

Helen Thomas is one of my favorite members of the White House press corp. She's 85, ridiculously sharp, and has a remakably low threshold for bullshit. I'm surprised Bush even called on her. He obviously doesn't watch her daily dance with his press secretary. After the press conference she made an appearance on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and continued to show why you're never to old to be America's sweetheart.

THOMAS: It doesn't- it doesn't parse. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, it certainly had -- was secular, it was not tied to al Qaeda.

I think he wanted to go into Iraq because he had all the neo- conservatives advising at the top of their agenda for Project for a New American Century. First Iraq, then Iran -- then Syria, then Iran, and so forth.

BLITZER: So you believe even before 9/11, he was about -- he wanted to take out Saddam Hussein?

THOMAS: Oh, I think this is very clear. You couldn't sit in that press room day after day. Every time -- every time it was mentioned by Ari Fleischer or Scott, they would say in one breath, 9/11, Saddam Hussein, 9/11, Saddam Hussein.

--------------------

BLITZER: Tell our viewers what you are up to nowadays. How you feel and what your goals are right now?

THOMAS: My goals are to seek the truth wherever it leads me. And I do think that's the goal of journalists. And I think we fell down on the job.

BLITZER: The news media in general? That we weren't -- what?

THOMAS: Come back. All is forgiven.

BLITZER: You are going to forgive us? You are part of the news media too.

THOMAS: Right.

BLITZER: We sat in those briefings for a long time together.

THOMAS: You ask very tough questions.

BLITZER: I'm trying to did the best I can, like you.

THOMAS: You asked President Clinton why he wouldn't resign.

BLITZER: I asked him some tough questions. But that's another time and this is another story.

One starts to wonder if perhaps all of the coverage should be by octogenarians, people a little less afraid of the consequences, people who might say, "what the fuck you gonna do to me? fire me? kill me? ah, get outta my face." Failing at building the octogenarian press corp, perhaps the press could just have octogenarians write their questions. I'm still waiting to hear a reporter ask Mike Wallace's question

What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military. . . . The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have. . . . Why do you think they nominated you? . . . Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?


What I get from all of this is that if ever I have something to hide I will never let a senior citizen question me in public.

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