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Posted by Veritas at 10:00PM, Saturday, November 02nd, 2002

An Absurd Asinuation: President Bush's Earpiece

Description of 12/15 Bush press conference and questions on 9/11 foreknowledge

Q I know you said there will be a time for politics. But you've also said you wanted to change the tone in Washington. Howard Dean recently seemed to muse aloud whether you had advance knowledge of 9/11. Do you agree or disagree with the RNC that this kind of rhetoric borders on political hate speech?

THE PRESIDENT: There's time for politics. There's time for politics, and I -- it's an absurd insinuation.

- White House Press Conference, Dec. 15

[Video clip]

A funny thing happened at the December 15th presidential press conference. Asked to comment on an earlier statement by Howard Dean regarding his alleged foreknowledge of 9/11, Bush stumbles about the stage, clearly caught off guard by the question, then delivers the line: "It's an absurd asinuation."

I find several this event humorous on several levels. First, the sycophantic nature of the press core is witnessed when Bill Sammons, given the nickname of "Stretch" by the President, lovingly lobs Bush a peach of a question. The question is designed by the highly partisan Washington Post reporter to be a slam dunk, providing Bush with a chance to discredit his likely opponent in the 2004 election, Howard Dean.

Secondly, that the press corps consider it unthinkable that the Bush administration had advance knowledge of 9/11, when their own reporting indicates that this was the case. It has been widely reported that many intelligence warnings were given to the Bush administration prior to the attacks on 9/11. Sources as diverse as Israel, Russia, the Philippines, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and even the Taliban government are attributed as having provided warnings to the U.S. intelligence apparatus of the coming attacks.

Thirdly, it could not be more clear that Bush was provided the words with which to answer. At first, Bush stumbles about, repeating his previous line that "there's a time for politics." During this time, he's avoiding eye contact, shrugging, and delaying. Then, the answer is given to him, presumably through a wireless ear piece. Bush then suddenly delivers his line that "it's an absurd asinuation." The suddenness of his reply, after having been speechless, the smile in his eyes when he's given the correct answer, and his incorrect pronunciation of the word "insinuation" all lead to [the] conclusion that he was prompted to provide this answer.

Lastly, it is amusing that the press corps provide no follow up question to this topic. In fact, they all laugh in unison when Bill "Stretch" Sammons asks for permission to change the topic. The Stepford Wives press corps are so afraid to pursue any line of questioning that might anger Bush that they're willing to change the subject to please Our Dear Leader.

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