The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Happy Valentine's Day, aka "Get Laid" Day, from all of us at The Facts Machine.

To be honest, I'm not going to talk a lot about this nonsense attack on John Kerry, wherever it came from, except, for now, to say this:

Drudge is really enjoying the story (noting of course that nobody has picked it up except the British press and a coupld of Murdoch outlets here.

Yet, after breathlessly posting so much stuff about it in the last couple days (including inaccurate reports that outlets like the Washington Post were working on the story), I think it's got into his head, because Drudge's headline for Bush's decision to make "all" of his Guard records available reads:
Dude, I didn't want to know.
Okay, I've been busy for the past couple of days.

Question for Drudge: If you have Clark saying Kerry's campaign will implode "over an intern issue", then why did Clark endorse Kerry? Over to you, Conason...

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Don't they know that to release, of all things, one dental record, looks pretty darn suspicious and inconclusive?

Oh those poor campus right-wingers, they just wanna be heard!
Over and over we hear the same hypocrisy from the campus liberals and it's getting quite sickening: Republicans are closed-minded; conservatives don't know how to listen to alternative beliefs. Throughout my short-lived time here at UCSB, it has become blatantly clear to me that the exact opposite is true; never have I encountered a harsher one-way-only environment than this university. Gaining national recognition, the university has been profiled in leading magazines as one of the most liberal and anti-conservative campuses in the United States.
Uh, Pat? You haven't been to a lot of universities, have you.
Take, for example, the Michael Moore lecture. Obviously it's supposed to be pro-liberal philosophy - that's not a problem. However, the level of pure hatred and bitterness towards conservatives during that event was appalling. Having just returned from a Republican convention across town that failed to even mention Democrats, the juxtaposition revealed the absolute immaturity of parts of the left wing.
Even before getting into the silly idea that Callahan expected anything different from Michael Moore, it's important to note that the Michael Moore appearance was . . . off campus. Not just off campus, but in downtown Santa Barbara, a good 15 miles away from campus, in the historic Arlington Theater. Tickets for that event were priced at a very-Republicanish $18 (part of the reason why I didn't go).

Patrick Callahan is identified as a sophomore. Unless he's really taking his time on the units -- which is alright, of course -- he might not remember that such divisive hate-spewing attack dogs as Ann Coulter and David Horowitz made appearances on campus. (More recently, the rabidly anti-gay former editor of the Dartmouth Review, Dinesh D'Souza, spoke on campus as a guest of the UCSB Republicans).

What else ya got, Pat?
Then there was the Phyllis Schlafly debate: An event sponsored by the UCSB College Republicans, it was the first political event I'd seen where both sides had a fair chance. Schlafly and her counterpart were both given equal time and equal opportunity to present their views. As soon as I left the debate, the liberal feminists began whining about how unfair and pro-conservative the setup was. Considering that the event could not possibly have been any more balanced, it shows the liberal demands for a biased environment.
Soo, "liberal feminists" who observed the debate were critical of the conservative representative in the debate? Holy shit! Stop the presses! Were they supposed to be swayed by Phyllis Schlafly of all people? Sounds like somebody else aint that tolerant of disagreement here.
A warning to all conservatives who wish to express their political views: watch out for the ice cream. I placed a George W. Bush re-election sign in my window to show my support for his campaign. It immediately sparked a great deal of conversation and tension throughout the entire Manzanita Village. The conversation was good - I like the political fervor and discussion. However, when the John Buttny and Howard Dean signs and the non-removable stickers began popping up on my window, along with the recent addition of someone's chocolate soft-serve ice cream, I got a little angry. What right do people have to place their signs on my window? Is it not my freedom of speech and expression to place what signs I want on my property, or is that speech only reserved for the liberal causes? According to my memory of history, people fought and died so that everyone could possess the opportunity to express their political beliefs. In order for this guaranteed right to mean anything, it requires respect; it requires maturity. You don't have to agree with me; you don't have to listen to me; you don't have to read my signs. You do, however, have to respect my rights.
First of all, it's not your window, it's the state's window.

Beyond that, let me put it this way: The Republican Party has, within its membership, a contingent of disturbingly unreformed racists, particularly from the southern United States. The UCSB left has, within its membership, a contingent of disturbingly unreformed ice-cream vandalizers. But I do find it interesting that when he did engage people in discussion on his support for Bush -- you know, "expressing your political views", and not just putting up a sign -- the response seems to have been positive.

And yet, after mentioning these discussions, our poor conservative says:
The one-track mind of this campus is increasingly ridiculous. A university is an institution for, alongside academics, absorbing knowledge of one's self and one's surroundings. Open your mind, leftists, and accept those who are different. Grow up and have some political maturity.
Read your own work before you send it in, kid.

In other Daily Nexus opinion news, I wholeheartedly support columnist Kate Rice's call to rename February 14th "National Get Laid Day"

From today's gaggle:
Q Coming back to John's question real briefly. One of the questions that remain after the release of the documents yesterday involves the President's physical in 1972. Are you guys talking about what happened there and why he didn't take --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think this was all addressed previously. I think that, again, this goes to show that some are not interested in the facts of whether or not he served; they're interested in trolling for trash and using this issue for partisan political gain.

Q What was the answer previous to this?

MR. McCLELLAN: What's the question?

Q On the question of --

MR. McCLELLAN: See, I mean, there are some that want us to engage in gutter politics. I'm not going to engage in gutter politics. I'm going to focus on what we're doing --

Q But you were suggesting you'd answered the question previously.

MR. McCLELLAN: -- to address the priorities for the American people. We went through this in 1994, I believe again in '98, 2000. Now some are trying to bring it up again in 2004.

Q Scott, can I ask, in 2004, just again, why did the President miss his physical?

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm sorry?

Q Why did the President miss his physical?

MR. McCLELLAN: Are you talking about when he -- whether or not he -- I put out a response to that question yesterday, about whether or not he was rated by his commanders as a pilot.

Q Can I just ask you today, in 2004 --


Q -- why he missed his physical?

MR. McCLELLAN: Elisabeth, there are some that -- again, this is a question of whether or not he served. That question has been answered through the documents that were released yesterday, and released previously.

Q I just want to hear from the White House Press Secretary --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'm not -- no, there are some -- Elisabeth, we've already addressed this issue. I'm not going to engage in gutter politics. I'm going to focus on what we're doing to make the world safer, to make the world a better place, and to make America more prosperous. If others want to engage in gutter politics, that's their choice. But I think that --

Q How is asking that question engaging in gutter politics?

MR. McCLELLAN: But I think the American people -- I think the American people deserve better.

Q Scott, how does that engage in gutter politics if I ask that question?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, we've been through these issues. I wasn't accusing you. I'm accusing some -- (Laughter.) But, you see, we went through --

Q -- the answer to that question today?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, we went through these -- no, we went -- we've already addressed this issue. We went through it previously. We went through it four years ago, for sure.
Note, of course, that no mention of the missed physical, whether on the part of McClellan or the corps, was made in yesterday's briefing.

Taking off my Political Pundit Hat and donning my Michievous Post-Adolescent Hat, I wouldn't mind finding out just why Bush might not have had an interest in going to that physical... (lemme see... 2000... minus 25 years... equals... hmm...)
Since they're still dodging, and since the information they have released by no means clears up the apparent gaps in service, as the media has noticed, I see no reason not to make Bush's secrecy and character an issue.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


Okay, it looks like Bush is gonna toss at least some of the ambiguity aside, and openly back a Constitutional amendment making marriage exclusively a union between a man and a woman.

Oh that's just precious.

Assignment for the media, for anybody in the media: Could someone please put Bush in a position where he has to talk specifically about the LGBT community? I don't want you to ask him a question where he can go into a sanctity-of-marriage soliloquy. I mean, ask him a direct question about gays and lesbians, I want to hear him talk about them. If you could do that, I'd be really grateful. Thanking you in advance, this is TFM, signing off for the night.
I second Mark Kleiman's smart analysis of Mickey Kaus' not-so-smart analysis of the timing of the re-ignited AWOL issue. After quickly dispatching Mickey's idiotic tactical asessment of the timing by mentioning that the resurrection of this issue was the result more of Michael Moore than anything else, Kleiman has more thoughts:
But even if the timing had been a decision rather than an accident, I don't think the timing is bad from the viewpoint of the Democrats' eventual nominee. The real issue isn't war service, it's character: the "honor and integrity" Mr. Bush promised and has so signally failed to deliver.

We're likely to have at least a week of controversy now while the White House tries to dig itself out from under the President's promise to Tim Russert to release all his military records without actually letting out all of his military records. (If today's release of payroll records showing six days' service in 1972 is the best they can do, they're in bad shape.) And we may well have follow-up stories if news organizations (or perhaps even groups of veterans) submit FOIA requests accompanied by requests that the President waive his Privacy Act rights.

All of that makes a nice companion to the WMD story and the budget story and the Medicare story and the employment-estimate story. It all helps establish that the truth is not in Mr. Bush.
Another reason that the early arrival of this issue is good for those with an interest in sending Bush back to Connecticut Texas in November is this: We've learned from the energy task force, the 9/11 commission, and now with the leak of a couple of teensy payroll figures on Bush's service, that the administration reveals information at a snail's pace. With a Democratic candidate, particularly the one whose name ends in "erry", continually pressing the issue, and the rejuvinated press corps going along as they have been, the Bushies will keep finding themselves in the unfortunate position of trying to pacify this irresistable force. Little tidbits wont be enough, because Kerry and others wont stop until Bush puts it all out there for everyone to see. Knowing him, this will take time, so it's good that the AWOL issue got out there earlier. Thank you, Mikey!
Via a DKos diary, I see that Joe Trippi has a blog.

The url is

Link accordingly.

Well, Clark's out.


Well, the General learned a very valuable lesson about presidential campaigns: Never, under any circumstances, never pass up on participating in a democratic contest in a sparsely-populated rural state that has a whopping couple dozen delegates to offer, out of a couple thousand.

Obviously Clark's skipping Iowa was the dumbest decision by any of the candidates at any point in the race, including "yyaaaahhhrrr!" Just as obvious is that it's absolutely ridiculous that the results of one measely caucus, with a huge media assist, have more or less determined the course of the entire election campaign since.

This was Clark's fault as well, he has an amazing resume, but his campaign was essentially all downhill from the outset, when he was immediately hailed as the new frontrunner.

I'm sure there's plenty corks a poppin' over in Edwards-land. Feel the love of the unscheduled all-night Hootie & the Blowfish concert. Many a couple will hook up, get pregnant, have a botched delivery, raise an child with cerebral palsy, and their candidate will sue the doctors. Heyo!

(Point of clarification: I'm making a joke. I think the "junk science" smear is just that: A smear. I really like John Edwards, by the way.)

Naturally, this will change the dynamic of the campaign. Will Clark's supporters wade to Kerry, Edwards, or -- gasp -- Dean? Maybe, maybe, and probably not, respectively.

What it does mean, though, is that John Kerry has shot to the front of the TFM Primary. Congrats, you sexy, sexy man!

As for Clark, don't fret, he'll make a great Vice President/Secretary of State.

Kerry won both Virginia and Tennessee by quite a lot, the only difference being that while Edwards decisively held off Clark in Virginia, the two of them were bunched up together in the mid-20's in Tennessee. Of course, Virginia is right smack on top of Edwards' home state of North Carolina, so that must make some difference.

Is anyone dropping out? Doesn't look like it yet. Clark will see it through at least until Wisconsin.

Jerome Armstrong notes that the combined votes of Clark and Edwards are more than that of Kerry. I have to figure, though, that if Clark dropped out, some of his veteran support would swing towards Kerry, so this isn't necessarily a true measurement of the dug-in "anti-Kerry" contingent.

Still, the more under-50% finishes for John Kerry, the greater the possibility of a brokered convention, which some fear, but others, myself included, would welcome with open arms and wall-to-wall media coverage. Remember, this ain't '68; the Dems are not ideologically split in any substantial way, only on the choice of a candidate. My hunch is that Kerry will be the clear nominee by Super Tuesday, if he isn't already now. But I can dream, can I?

I wonder -- and I briefly wonder, because I have lots of work to do tonight -- whether or not Dean and Clark's apparent reluctance to exit the race despite their long odds has something to do with posturing for a possible brokered convention scenario, which could be their best chance to get on the ticket, either at the top or the bottom.

There isn't really any other scenario that bodes well for either of them at this point in the campaign cycle, with the media itching to coronate (and then "Gore") Kerry while also trying to force other candidates out of the race to streamline the campaign both in terms of drama and finance.

At this point, I don't mind hearing 4 (well, 6) Democratic candidates attacking Bush instead of just one. It means Bush will put more restraint on that $200million warchest of his while the dust settles, and by then the Dems may have established a degree of momentum that could be hard for the Bushies to counter.

From the Onion:
New Co-Op Airline Offers Cheaper Fares If You Help Fly The Plane
SAN FRANCISCO—GreenWay Airlines, a new low-cost, cooperative airline, offers inexpensive fares to passengers who assist with the flight, an airline spokesman said Monday. "Unlike pricey corporate airlines, GreenWay is run by and for the people," said Brad Olson, a member of the GreenWay elected board. "But, in order to keep our ticket prices low, everyone who wants to fly with us needs to pitch in and help us navigate and maintain the aircraft. All positions, from baggage handler to pilot, will be filled by volunteers who sign up for four-hour shifts." GreenWay will begin taking reservations for daily flights between San Francisco and Austin, TX, as soon as someone can figure out how to use the booking software.

Bill gets shrill!

Preznit no giv O'Reilly turkee

Remember what Bill O'Reilly said, the day before Operation Re-raq began?
"And I said on my program, if -- if -- the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again."
Well, I can't believe this, even as I am typing right now, but you can stop the clock.

Earlier today on Good Morning America, O'Splotchy said this:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative television news anchor Bill O'Reilly said on Tuesday he was now skeptical about the Bush administration and apologized to viewers for supporting prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

The anchor of his own show on Fox News said he was sorry he gave the U.S. government the benefit of the doubt that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's weapons program poised an imminent threat, the main reason cited for going to war.

"I was wrong. I am not pleased about it at all and I think all Americans should be concerned about this," O'Reilly said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."

"What do you want me to do, go over and kiss the camera?" asked O'Reilly, who had promised rival ABC last year he would publicly apologize if weapons were not found.

O'Reilly said he was "much more skeptical about the Bush administration now" since former weapons inspector David Kay said he did not think Saddam had any weapons of mass destruction.
Sure, he went on to throw in the standard "it's the CIA's fault too" deal afterward, but there it is, in black splotches and white splotches.

I know that he said he would apologize, but did anybody, anybody think he'd actually do it?

And will this be his jump-the-shark moment on Faux News? Well, probably not. Perhaps he will stipulate that he didn't make his comment within the friendly confines of his beloved "no-spin zone". He probably couldn't have anyway, cuz if he did, perhaps he would have told himself to "shut up! SHUT UP!" It would have been a nice real-life Gollum/Smeagol moment.

And this comes just a day after Andrew Sullivan gives Bush a rather stern lecture on the deficit.
Apparently according to Josh Marshall, Calpundit is a "column" and a "site", but not a blog. Of course, I have more fingers than Marshall does blog links, but no matter.

That aside, Josh does have the WH press gaggle Q&A on Bush's military records, which is a good read.

The gist is that the White House is releasing payroll records that prove that Bush was getting paid during the period that he was allegedly (probably) skipping out on his Guard duties. WaPo columnist and former guardsman Richard Cohen is quick to point out that pay records don't necessarily prove anything.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Bob Somerby is less kind to Russert than I was, and I wasn't all that kind. Somerby does go after Bush's non-response response to the first question, so I'm glad to see that I wasn't that far off the mark.

He promises a series on Russert this week, so keep checking back to the Howler.

The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page thinks they can label Kerry a hypocrite by printing his 1992 speech decrying fellow Democrat Bob Kerrey's attacks on Clinton for not serving.
We do not need to divide America over who served and how. I have personally always believed that many served in many different ways. Someone who was deeply against the war in 1969 or 1970 may well have served their country with equal passion and patriotism by opposing the war as by fighting in it. Are we now, 20 years or 30 years later, to forget the difficulties of that time, of families that were literally torn apart, of brothers who ceased to talk to brothers, of fathers who disowned their sons, of people who felt compelled to leave the country and forget their own future and turn against the will of their own aspirations?

Are we now to descend, like latter-day Spiro Agnews, and play, as he did, to the worst instincts of divisiveness and reaction that still haunt America? Are we now going to create a new scarlet letter in the context of Vietnam?

Certainly, those who went to Vietnam suffered greatly. I have argued for years, since I returned myself in 1969, that they do deserve special affection and gratitude for service. And, indeed, I think everything I have tried to do since then has been to fight for their rights and recognition.

But while those who served are owed special recognition, that recognition should not come at the expense of others; nor does it require that others be victimized or criticized or said to have settled for a lesser standard. To divide our party or our country over this issue today, in 1992, simply does not do justice to what all of us went through during that tragic and turbulent time.
Kerry closes by saying:
We do not need more division. We certainly do not need something as complex and emotional as Vietnam reduced to simple campaign rhetoric. What has been said has been said, Mr. President, but I hope and pray we will put it behind us and go forward in a constructive spirit for the good of our party and the good of our country.
I'm sure the WSJ thinks that this will help fuel the "unprincipled waffler" meme on Kerry. I'm sure Drudge thinks so too.

Trouble is, to compare Kerry's 1992 comments to what he's saying now is simply not useful or relevant.

John Kerry is not attacking Bush's avoiding the Vietnam war by getting a spot in the Texas Air National Guard (with an assist from daddy and Texas House Speaker Ben Barnes, mind you). John Kerry, like me, is attacking Bush for the following sequence of choices:

1) Avoiding his National Guard duty in late '72, and perhaps in early '73 as well, by simply blowing it off.
2) Lying about it.
3) Refusing to release his full records.
and particularly,
4) Flaunting his National Guard service for electoral gain, through both his biography and the U.S.S. Lincoln "mission accomplished" festivities.

(I'm starting to notice that I enjoy labeling things numerically)

#1, in and of itself, is not that big a deal, but #2, #3, and #4, each to a progressively larger degree, make it a real issue. It's Bush's choices that have allowed his Guard service (and lack thereof) to linger as a campaign issue. This, as with many other issues like WMD, the 9/11 commission, and all these rosy economic projections, cut at the heart of Bush's character and credibility.

Once again, John Kerry criticized Bob Kerrey for making Bill Clinton's Vietnam decision on the merits a campaign issue. Now, John Kerry is criticizing George W. Bush for skipping out on his decision to serve in a branch of the United States Armed Forces, and then stonewalling and lying about it, and then flaunting it. If you don't see the difference, as the WSJ apparently doesn't, then you're being, um, strategically ignorant.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Billmon has some good analysis of Bush on MTP. Not bad for someone who only had the transcript to work with.

I guess these Kerry comments (scroll towards the bottom) must have been what Bush was referring to in the interview about "denigrating the Guard". But I think that Bush's assertion that Kerry was denigrating it requires a creative interpretation of the statement. The quote was:
"I would defend the President's choice with respect to going into the Guard," Kerry told Fox News. "I've never made any judgments about any choice somebody made about avoiding the draft, about going to Canada, going to jail, being a conscientious objector, going into the National Guard."
Here are the two things that Bush and the right are doing to this quote:

1) They're interpreting "going into the National Guard" as a sub-category of "avoiding the draft".

2) The other thing his apologists are doing is to remove the initial sentence of the quote("I would defend the President's choice with respect to going into the guard"), such as in this editorial from the Washington Moonie Times, this piece from conservative columnist Frank Savalto, and this piece from NewsMax. That's a good trick there. Context, assholes.

UPDATE: DeLong points out that by the right's standards, Colin Powell falls under the category of Guard-hating Guard-hater.

Here's the transcript.

Russert did a miniscule fraction better than I thought he would, which isn't saying much, especially since he never really pressed Bush on much of anything.

He started out with the WMD committee, asking Bush why he had been reluctant, for a while, to support its creation. Bush gave a long, talking-point-infused answer . . . that completely dodged the question. Did Russert push harder to get him to answer the question he actually asked? Nope, he moved on. (Had a Democrat been in Bush seat...) Though he did get Bush a little bit on the timing of the committee's final report (after the election), I didn't find his answer that satisfying.

(Question for Mister Bush: In responding to one of Tim's questions, you referred to Saddam as someone who has taken to "paying suicide bombers". Uh George, suicide bombers commit suicide, they can't take the money with them. You should probably revise and extend your remarks.

Dubya is probably referring to Saddam's paying of expenses for the families of suicide bombers in Israel or wherever. That's not "paying suicide bombers". Yeah yeah, it's not a big deal by itself, but it's indicative of what the Bushies do with language: They cast a wide net, cutting out relevant logical middlemen so they can paint more people as *evil* or whatever else to serve their needs. For example, Ba'athist remnants who fire RPG's at US Army helicopters are insurgents or guerrillas, but not terrorists, yet the administration has called them so. While the loss of US troops' lives is terrible, calling the insurgents terrorists doesn't help. It's guerrilla warfare. I guess we committed acts of terrorism when we terribly stormed the beaches of Normandy, and terrorized those Nazis!)

But back to Russert and Bush...

In three early questions, Bush used the old trick of "if I may step back", to happily answer a question never asked.

On Iraq, Bush went to that old standby, "Saddam Hussein is an evil man, and was a danger". He even played the "gassed his own people" card a couple times, neglecting to add "in the 1980's".

Apparently, North Korea is still part of a "peninchula", just as it was in the 2003 State of the Union address.

On the AWOL issue (which Russert employed more than I had expected), we see how Bush identifies with the common American military serviceman in the 1960's:
Russert: You did were allowed to leave eight months before your term expired. Was there a reason?

President Bush: Right. Well, I was going to Harvard Business School and worked it out with the military.
Bush also played a dishonest, aloof political card when he attacked nameless people for supposedly "denigrating the guard". George, who the fuckityfuck is doing that? This is just like the RNC ad from last fall, where a vague charge ("some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists") was intended to be aimed at those who never made such attacks. This was Bush's attempt to appear "above the fray" on the AWOL issue.

To draw a name at random... John Kerry isn't denigrating the guard. John Kerry is denigrating your disservice to your country, George, by skipping out on the guard. And George, it doesn't matter how many times you say "honorable discharge", we know that connections got you into the guard, there's no reason that connections couldn't get you out in a passable way.

Looks like Roger Ailes was right on with the vague deficit question that Bush could answer however he wanted. Dubya had fun drawing an imaginary straight line between his tax cuts and economic recovery.

Here's one of the more egregious budget softballs from Russert:
Russert: The Bush Cheney first three years, the unemployment rate has gone up 33 percent, there has been a loss of 2.2 million jobs. We've gone from a $281 billion surplus to a $521 billion deficit. The debt has gone from 5.7 trillion, to $7 trillion up 23 percent.

Based on that record, why should the American people rehire you as CEO?
The question is cute, no doubt. What would have been a better question to ask is how would Bush explain the current deficits, in light of the fact that in 2002 - after 9/11 - his administration was projecting a 2004 deficit of only $14 billion. Because Tim went back to 2001, Bush was able to hide behind the "9/11 changed everything" mantra. See, this is how Russert works, tough on the surface, but with a soft, shill center.

Dubya also cited dropping unemployment. That might have been an opportunity for Tim to mention that unemployment has dropped, in large part, because many have stopped looking for work, effectively dropping out of the workforce. Yeah, I didn't think it was gonna happen either.

Overall - and I'm adjusting for the fact that I do not like this man - I thought he looked shaky. He really was President Long Pause, and when things finally emerged from between his lips, they sounded more like a string of talking points than a direct answer to Tim's question. If I were a family member of one of the 530+ American soldiers lost in Iraq, I don't know if I'd be able to swallow the "he had the ability to make weapons" excuse floated by Bush.


On the WMD committee, Russert didn't ask Bush about how it won't have any subpoena power, the limitations of its scope, the appointment of Laurence Silberman as co-chair, and the recent comments of committee appointee John McCain suggesting that he's already made up his mind on the matter.

On the 9/11 commission, Russert didn't ask why Bush extended their deadline, and furthermore, why he had been opposed to extending it for so long a time.

On the Medicare bill, no peep about the administration's drastic underestimation of its cost.

Also on Iraq and WMD, no mention of Hans Blix and his team of inspectors, and the fact that his findings, before the war, were strikingly similar to those of David Kay. This is especially annoying, since Bush referred to Saddam having "defied the world once again" after UN 1441, and Russert didn't say a damn thing.

And in true Russert fashion, no questions about the Valerie Plame leak.


Among the ads featured during the hour was the taxpayer-funded Medicare propaganda commercial put out by the Bushies.

UPDATE: As I like to do my first post of the day - especially if it's something like this - before I read my daily blog fixes, I'm delighted to notice that my analysis of Bush's MTP interview was pretty close to that of . . . The Corner!?!? John Derbyshire, for instance says:
Just got through watching the President on Meet the Press. I thought it was a pretty dismal performance. I'll be voting for GWB in November, but let's face it, the Great Communicator he ain't. The tongue-tied blather was coming thick and fast. At times, he looked like Al Sharpton on the Federal Reserve.

Russert: "Why didn't you establish the intelligence commission earlier?"
GWB: "Blather blather blather. No answer."

Russert: "Will you yourself testify before the commission?"
GWB: "Blather blather blather. No answer."

Russert: "Why was Saddam Hussein a threat to the US?"
GWB: "He had the capacity to make weapons... a madman..."

Russert: "There is a sense in the country that the intelligence was ambiguous, that in presenting it to the country, you sexed it up."
GWB: "He had the capacity to make weapons... a madman..."
UPDATE 2: Oh yeah, Russert didn't ask about gay marriage. Wouldn't this have been a nice time to press Bush to say something definitive on the matter?