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Would Bush Rather Be Fishing?
The Coverage and Reaction
Once Bush's fish story went public yesterday, the British press could barely contain itself. Luke Harding writes in the Guardian: "There have been many memorable moments in George Bush's career - invading Iraq, declaring the war 'accomplished', Hurricane Katrina. But the US president recalled that his greatest moment in office had come not on the field of battle but while out fishing."
Michael McAuliff writes in the New York Daily News: "Bush appeared to be joking about the catch, especially since a 7-plus pounder wouldn't wow any angler in the Lone Star state. A largemouth bass has to be more than 15 pounds to crack the top 50 biggest catches, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
"But his answer was a whopper for political observers who have watched his administration stumble over the past year with the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, a CIA leak probe, the sale of port terminals to Dubai and other missteps - all of which have dragged his approval ratings into the low 30% range."
Bush's fish tale is a bit reminiscent of the window into Bush's soul that came during the presidential debates with John Kerry. Facing a vigorous public challenge, Bush appeared peevish and bored. Which is the 'Real' Bush? I asked in my October 2004 column. During that first debate, Bush used the term "hard work" 11 times.
Not surprisingly, the liberal blogosphere has taken the bait.
Blogger Digby writes: "There are, [in my opinion], only three ways to understand this comment, assuming it's true. Quite possibly it's the pathetic whine of a deeply, perhaps clinically, depressed man who believes himself a total failure. Or maybe this is a man so uninterested in his job, let alone in serving his country, that he has no business whatsoever being president. Or perhaps this is simply an arrogant bastard who holds in utter contempt anyone who dares to ask him a question, so he responds with the stupidest thing he can say. (Obviously, nothing precludes all three or some combination of two.)"
Steve Benen writes: "Oddly enough, this was a softball question. It was a slow, hanging curve, giving Bush a chance to highlight anything he wanted -- his joy at watching the Saddam statue fall, signing one of his tax-cut measures into law, one of his inaugural addresses, a productive meeting with Tony Blair or another head of state, something of substance. Instead, the moment that comes to mind is a 7 1/2-pound largemouth bass."
Jonathan Singer writes in MyDD: "While there is quite a bit of talk of the worst things George W. Bush has done as resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- authorizing domestic wiretapping without court oversight; launching a war against Iraq prematurely and without sufficient planning; trying to privatize Social Security; destroying the federal budget; you name it -- scant attention has been devoted on this side of the aisle to George W. Bush's better moments."
The Hayden Nomination
Dafna Linzer and Fred Barbash write on washingtonpost.com: "President Bush named Gen. Michael V. Hayden as CIA director today in the face of heavy criticism from Republicans as well as Democrats. . . .
"Anticipating the fight ahead, the administration began defending the appointment even before it was made. Stephen Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, said on NBC's 'Today' show and on ABC's 'Good Morning America' today that Hayden is a 'change agent,' the 'best person' for the job, 'the right man at the right time.'"
Here's the text of Bush's announcement this morning.
Hayden's nomination came on the heels of Porter Goss's abrupt resignation on Friday.