Correction to This Article
An earlier version of the June 9, 2005 White House Briefing column incorrectly reported that Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto contributed to President Bush's campaign. Cavuto was a donor to the 2002 President's Dinner Committee, a fundraising organization for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The Foxnewsified Bush Interview

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Thursday, June 9, 2005; 1:24 PM

Thanks to Fox News's exclusive interview with President Bush yesterday, the leader of the free world is now on the record when it comes to John Kerry's Yale grades, Laura Bush's presidential aspirations and -- yes -- the Michael Jackson trial's effect on public policy discourse.

Who wants to talk about that messy war in Iraq, or the Downing Street Memo? Not Neil Cavuto, Fox News executive, anchor, commentator and Republican campaign contributor.

Bush did make a bit of news by refusing to rule out the closure of the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But even fellow Fox News anchor John Gibson marveled at Cavuto's line of questioning when Cavuto came on his show later.

Gibson: "So, Neil, I got to ask, how did Michael Jackson come up?"

Cavuto: "Well, I have got to be honest. I brought it up."

Gibson: "Yes."

Cavuto: "I have a theory on this, John. A lot of people think I'm crazy.

"But the president's [Social Security] push, soon as he began his second term, times almost to the week with the approach of the Michael Jackson trial. And I have a view -- and it could be crazy -- and the president readily admitted maybe it was -- that this fixation on the Michael Jackson trial, even in your show right now, takes away from the attention that maybe the president wanted afforded his program on Social Security."

Later, Gibson had this to say: "Now, Neil, nobody can talk to the president very long without bringing up the war."

Cavuto: "Right..."

And yet, somehow the topic never came up. Not a single question, even though according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, Americans consider the war in Iraq Bush's number two priority, right after the economy and jobs.

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