The Press Conference
We shan't see the headline: Defensive President Stammers Through Press Conference. He was at ease, in control, and assured. [text]
What lesson has he learned from Kerik-gate? "The lesson learned is, continue to vet. And ask good questions." (I called it Kerik-gate with full facetiousness; the press did not.) The President explained that the White House began asking him questions and he withdrew his name.
At one point, fairly early in the 55-minute shindig, the President referred to "the interminable press conference… I mean, press party." He did mean the party.
He explained that it is Congress who makes laws. He has to work with Congress, which he is looking forward to doing. He never vetoed a spending bill in his first term because Congress did what he had asked: "[H]ow could you veto a series of appropriations bills if the Congress has done what you've asked them to do?"
Rumsfeld? "I asked him to stay on because I understand the nature of the job of the Secretary of Defense, and I believe he's doing a really fine job."
But what about Signature-gate? "Listen… I know Secretary Rumsfeld's heart. … He's a caring fellow. Sometimes perhaps is demeanor is rough and gruff, but beneath that rough and gruff, no-nonsense demeanor is a good human being who cares deeply about the military, and deeply about the grief that war causes."
There was even a bit for the supporters of the erstwhile President Clinton:
Cox Broadcasting's Bob Deans: Your predecessor said once it [the Palestinian-Israeli conflict] was like going to the dentist without getting your gums numbed. I'm wondering what great --Those who believe this President should be insecure, defensive, and apologetic -- given their opinion of his policies and disfavor amongst "the people" – can only hate him more after today's performance. For the rest of us, it should be awfully good to recognize that he is the man entrusted with the high office he holds.
President Bush: Guy had a way with words.