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Is Woodward Calling Bush a Liar?
So does this book mark a return to Woodward as Washington iconoclast, rather that Woodward as Washington icon?
Perhaps tellingly, the New York Times reported that according to the book, neither Bush nor Cheney agreed to be interviewed this time around.
Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon , writing in a Washington Post op-ed, marvel at Bush's current refusal to acknowledge that the war in Iraq has made the terror threat worse.
"Just as President Bush urges that we take the terrorists at their word about their wish to create a new caliphate, we take them at their word about their motivation: Iraq has been crucial. . . .
"Then there is the claim that Iraq has not had a catalytic effect because the terrorists were already after us, an argument the president repeated Tuesday. 'We weren't in Iraq when we got attacked on September the 11th. . . . We weren't in Iraq when they first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993.'
"No doubt the United States would have had a serious struggle against radical Islam after Sept. 11 under any circumstances. But the occupation of Iraq, by appearing to confirm bin Laden's arguments about America's antipathy toward the Muslim world, has had an incendiary effect and made matters dramatically worse."
And blogger Brendan Nyhan notes some unintentional irony in a Bush speech yesterday. Said Bush: "We are a nation at war. I wish I could report differently, but you need to have a President who sees the world the way it is, not the way somebody would hope it would be."
The Abramoff Revelation
And here's some amazing news. After Scott McClellan and others hotly denied that now-convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff had anything more than passing contact with the White House, a Congressional report out today suggests the contrary.
Here's the report from the House Government Reform Committee.
John Bresnahan and Paul Kane write for Roll Call: "A House committee has documented hundreds of contacts between top White House officials and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates, as well as tens of thousands of dollars worth of meals and tickets to sporting events and concerts that were offered to these officials during a three-year period starting in early 2001."
Philip Shenon writes in the New York Times: "The authors of the report said it was generally unclear from available records whether the aides reimbursed Mr. Abramoff for the meals or tickets. Ethics rules bar White House officials from accepting lobbyists' gifts worth more than $20. . . .
"Mr. Rove has described Mr. Abramoff as a 'casual acquaintance,' but the records obtained by the House committee show that Mr. Rove and his aides sought Mr. Abramoff's help in obtaining seats at sporting events, and that Mr. Rove sat with Mr. Abramoff in the lobbyist's box seats for an N.C.A.A. basketball playoff game in 2002.