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Bush Takes on the Press
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***scroll for reax, waiting for Dem response…***

The showdown starts at 10:30am EST in the East Room. If Bush hits as hard as he did in his Saturday radio address, this should be good.

Think he’ll call on Helen Thomas?

***

Best part of the press conference: Bush challenging the Democratic Senators who voted for the Patriot Act in 2001 to explain why they’re voting against it now (they voted for it before they voted against it) and targeting the Senators of New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, “How will you explain how your cities and states are safer?”

Full transcript of the press conference is up here.

***

Liveblogging…

1050am EST. Q&A.

John Roberts: So many questions, so little time.

Bush: Well, keep your question short then.

(Laughter)

Tim Graham says Bush should have answered Roberts’ pestering about Bush admitting mistakes this way:

It’s always amusing to see CBS demanding people admit their mistakes. Bush could have asked: “Have you asked Rather that question? He’s still saying ‘the story is accurate, the story is accurate.’”

1100am EST. Bush: “I believe in the universality of freedom.”

Bush fields a question about why he didn’t go through the FISA process for the limited cases involving people tied to al Qaeda engaging in international communications. 1) He had the authority. 2) It was necessary. 3) He is guarding civil liberties. Repeats that Congressional leaders were briefed. Quick action was needed in certain cases. The special collections program is being monitored regularly.

1110am EST. Peter Baker/WaPo. “Is there going to be a permanent expansion of unchecked power?” Bush: You’re not listening to what I’m telling you…you are ascribing some kind of dictatorial power to the president, which I reject…

1118am EST: Bush very strong in his defense of the Patriot Act: “It’s inexcusable to tell us to ‘connect the dots’ and not give us the tools to do so.” He asks the Senators of New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas: How will you explain how your cities and states are safer?

Thwack!

1126am EST: Question about low poll numbers. “President’s job is to do what he thinks is right…People will disagree…

Repeats that he will continue to talk about the need for the Patriot Act.

Wraps up…

Bush says, “Happy Holidays.”

Bulldogpundit at Ankle Biting Pundits types faster than me. More comprehensive press conference over there.

Alex at The Noonz Wire:

President Bush is at his best in front of live people, even if those people are sharks looking for a way to eat him alive. The President’s opening statement was forceful and direct. He pulled no punches and was visibly angry when he spoke about the New York Times leaks, and dare I say furious when discussing the craven Democrats who filibustered the renewal of the Patriot Act.

In fact, he was practically yelling as he all but called out Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, challenging them to explain to NYC residents exactly how they are safer with the key provisions of the Patriot Act expiring.

No, this is nothing like last night or Saturday. It is far better.

And through it all, the assembled media are showing their true colors, not deviating from the non-story of NSA intercepts, avoiding any discussion of Iraq like the plague. John Roberts of CBS confirmed that that particular media organization is still not to be taken seriously when he used his time to re-ask the ridiculous question of whether or not the President believes he has made any mistakes.

I have to stop writing now, but in closing I have to say that based on the insipid questions coming from the press, the only person in the room who is truly concerned about our national security is the President himself.

Mike at Kokonut Pundits: It was a roomful of “Stuck on Stupid” reporters…

Reader Michael U. e-mails:

The press corps reminded me of that Saturday Night Live skit that ran in the beginning of the 1st gulf war. The press kept asking “ When exactly will we attack, from which direction and what forces will be used” and “What secret code do we use and how does it work?”. These people are so clueless and blinded by partisanship that they actually expect the president to let everyone know what methods we use to track the communications of people that want to kill us all.

It was a good performance and I think he should do more of these.

Ditto.

Lorie Byrd gives Bush a rave review.

***

1205pm EST. Carl Levin provides Dem response.

On Iraq elections: “The Iraqi constitution as it now stands is a divisive document…I was so disappointed that Prez failed to follow bipartisan recommendation of 79 senators to urge Iraqis to amend the constitution to achieve unity…to share power…so Sunni Arabs can be brought on board…”

Excellent analysis from John McIntyre at Real Clear Politics:

One of the major problems working against Democrats is many on their side appear to be rooting for failure in Iraq and publicly ridicule the idea that we actually might win. When this impression is put in context of the debate over eavesdropping or the Patriot Act, Democrats run the significant risk of being perceived to be more concerned with the enemy’s rights than protecting ordinary Americans. This is a loser for Democrats.

If Democrats want to make this spying “outrage” a page one story they are fools walking right into a trap. Now that this story is out and the security damage is already done, let’s have a full investigation into exactly who the President spied on and why. Let’s also find out who leaked this highly classified information and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. If the president is found to have broken the law and spied on political opponents or average Americans who had nothing to do with terrorism, then Bush should be impeached and convicted.

ORDER IT NOW

But unlike Senator Levin, who claimed on Meet The Press yesterday not to know what the President’s motives were when he authorized these eavesdropping measures, I have no doubt that the President’s use of this extraordinary authority was solely an attempt to deter terrorist attacks on Americans and our allies. Let the facts and the truth come out, but the White House’s initial response is a pretty powerful signal that they aren’t afraid of where this is heading.

More grounded Democrats may be thinking twice about the change in the political dialogue these past three weeks. Harry Reid had to reiterate twice on FOX News Sunday that the he is “opposed to evil terrorists.” That is about as loud of a warning bell as you can get. The public may not like all or even the majority of what President Bush is doing, but they have no doubt about his stance toward the “evil-doers.”

Read the whole thing.

Paul Mirengoff:

The MSM and the Democrats have over-reached and Bush is throwing it back at them. Soon they will be complaining that he is questioning their patriotism, but Bush is phrasing things carefully enough that this dodge isn’t likely to work.

(Republished from MichelleMalkin.com by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton