Bush refuses to answer whether he held any meeting regarding Bin Laden for 9 months after Clinton left office

September 27, 2006 | By | 2 Replies More

Here’s the video. Lots of heat and no light.  That seems to be Bush’s strategy these days.  He gets himself all bent out of shape over a question that was not asked.

I’ll translate the gibberish you hear out of Bush’s mouth: “Did I hold any such meetings? No.”

What you actually hear Bush saying on this video are things like this:

“We must be on the offense against an enemy that wants to do us harm.”

and

“I don’t have enough time to finger-point.”

As I’ve argued before, the press should have to courage to point out when politicians refuse to answer clearly stated questions.  In this case, I would be delighted if the press reported Bush’s answer as follows:  “Bush refuses to answer whether he held any meetings regarding Bin Laden for nine months after Bill Clinton left office.”

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Category: Communication, Language, Politics, The Middle East

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Deb says:

    I wish the press would actually follow up when politicians don't answer reasonable questions, and that reporters weren't quite so concerned with getting THEIR questions answers. In this instance, when the reporter asked Bush if he had meetings and it wasn't answered, how about the next reporter saying 'We didn't get an answer. Did you have meetings?" and the next one asking again if still not answered. He might get mad and shut up, but he wasn't saying anything anyway.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    Actually, Bush set a clear precedent from the beginning of his term: reporters who asked the "wrong" questions would be marginalized and ignored, and he used veteran Whitehouse reporter Helen Thomas to prove his point. Thomas asks tough questions and, for many years before Bush, Thomas' seniority in the Whitehouse press corp gave her a good seat location and the opportunity to ask the first question at press briefings. But that was back when presidents viewed the press as a necessary component of democracy — not, as the Bush Administration does — as merely another tool of state propaganda. Soon after Bush took office, Thomas' seat was moved to the back row and she not only lost the first question, she was *never* called on again for the next five years (she was finally allowed to ask a question about a year ago). The message to the press corps could not have been clearer: only reporters who ask the "right" questions will be called on. For more on Helen Thomas, see: http://www.fair.org/media-beat/030109.html.

    It's the same at Bush's "hometown" speeches: they fill the room with pro-Bush supporters and forcibly eject anyone who isn't. I understand they would even make people sign a loyalty oath to Bush before letting them into the room.

    It was the same at Bush's inaugural parade: only pro-Bush supporters were allowed to line the parade route; opponents were confined to a designated area a block away, with no line-of-sight to the parade.

    It has even been the same among Bush top advisors: anyone who is not a cheerleader for Bush is dismissed. When General Eric Shinseki — US Army Chief of Staff under Bush — estimated that invading Iraq would require more troops than the Bush Administration said it would, he was sacked (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Shinseki). Likewise, Colin Powell, Bush's Secretary of State, was also sacked because he was often at odds with Bush's other advisors.

    At every opportunity, the Bush Administration has sought to limit public discussion to pro-Bush talking points, and anyone who doesn't play their game is booted. This administration has never been about truth or democracy, it has been about unrestrained political power that utterly disregards all opposing views. It is as close to a dictatorship as this country has ever seen.

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