I thought Bush was fine yesterday. Yes, at times he seemed hesitant and he repeated some of the same sentences over and over again, but that comes with the territory. I don’t think it bothers ordinary people as much as it does opinion makers (even opinion makers here in the Corner). But I couldn’t help chuckling at a bunch of the Bushisms, usually just very simple and/or awkward language. Here were a few that struck me. On Osama: “He’s hidin’ and we’re trying to find him.” On Saddam: “In other words, all those ingredients said to me: threat.” On Saddam: “In other words, you can’t rely upon a madman, and he was a madman.” On al Hakim: “This is a Shia fellow.” Bush seemed not to have heard the formulation “war of choice or war of necessity” before, which is disturbing since it’s been part of the debate over Iraq for a year or more. But his basic answer on Iraq – repeated over and over partly because Russert asked over and over – was sound: that Saddam, one way or the other, was a threat. Bush at one point tiptoed up to arguing that Iraq was a war of enforcement rather than of preemption, which might have been a good way to try to frame it at the time, although now it is too late. I thought he got stronger as the interview went on. His answers on taxes and the economy were good. If he seemed oddly detached about the National Guard questions, I’m not sure what else he can say without seeming defensive (it’s up to surrogates to mount a more aggressive defense). I liked his resolve when he said, “No, I’m not going to lose.” Altogether, I think most people watching would be puzzled about why this man produces so much hatred and abuse from the other side.