Press Bashing Is Always A

Press Bashing Is Always A Winner With The Public: Bush dropped out of “new tone” mode long enough to humiliate a reporter in France and it was quite entertaining. Here’s the Washington Post account of it starting with press member/victim David Gregory’s annoying question first…

“I wonder why it is you think there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you and against this administration? Why, particularly, there’s a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America’s will on the rest of the world, particularly when it comes to the Middle East and where the war on terrorism goes next?”

Turning to Mr. Chirac, he added in French: “And, Mr. President, would you maybe comment on that?”

“Very good,” Mr. Bush said sardonically. “The guy memorizes four words, and he plays like he’s intercontinental.”

“I can go on,” Mr. Gregory offered.

“I’m impressed — que bueno,” said Mr. Bush, using the Spanish phrase for “how wonderful.” He deadpanned: “Now I’m literate in two languages.”

Roars of laughter filled both the press conference room and a press filing center elsewhere in the city, where many members of the White House press corps were watching the exchange on live television.

Turning serious, the president spoke of the strong bond between most Europeans and Americans. “Look, the only thing I know to do is speak my mind, to talk about my values, to talk about our mutual love for freedom and the willingness to defend freedom,” he said. “And, David, I think a lot of people on the continent of Europe appreciate that. “There’s a heck of a lot more that unites us than divides us. We share the same values; we trade $2 trillion a year,” he added. “I feel very comfortable coming to Europe; I feel very comfortable coming to France. I’ve got a lot of friends here.”

“Sir, if I could just follow,” the reporter began.

“Thank you,” Mr. Bush shot back dismissively.

I think Bush was a little offended by the 2nd half of the guy’s question and I’m sure that Chirac has been whining and moaning about how Europe in general and France in particular has been getting pounded into the ground post 9/11. Before 9/11 the Europeans were ripping America constantly but no one in America really paid much attention to them. But after 9/11, the American public and punditry have actually started paying attention to Europe. That’s led to a steady stream of columns calling Europeans everything from anti-Semitic, to cowards, to irrelevant. Those columns are stinging the Europeans a bit and I’m sure it’s making Bush’s job a bit more difficult. Now if we could just get Bush to snap at Cynthia Mckinney or Tom Daschle like that it would knock the Democrats back on their heels for a couple of weeks.

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