The Corner

Bush Presser

I thought it was quite a strong performance. The opening statement was marvelous. In answering the questions, Bush was relaxed, conversational and in command, at least most of the time. After about 45 minutes, he seemed to fade a bit. His dodge of the Mike Allen question about why he was testifying jointly with Dick Cheney before the 9/11 Commission was so transparent it was hard to watch. His fumble of the Sammy Sosa/mistakes question was also cringe-inducing and inexplicable, since he had handled other versions of the question earlier just fine. The most important substantive point I took away from the event was that the June 30 deadline needs to stick. Bush effectively rebutted those who argued that the deadline is arbitrary and can be easily discarded. No, Bush said, handing over power then is a crucial signal to Iraqis of our good intentions. Overall, I think Bush will be helped a little by the press conference, which was his strongest public performance in months.

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