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June 18, 2004

The Last Press Conference

It's time for Bush to call for a prime-time press conference in which he lays out the links between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The under-the-radar strategy is not working. If there are links between the two -- and I believe there are -- it is time for Bush to stop being afraid to say so.

If there are not links, it is time for him to admit that too. That will cost him the presidency, of course. But I, for one, have had enough of the kinda-sorta mealy-mouthisms.

It's one or the other, Mr. Bush.

I'd like to see a press conference -- in prime time, with the time specifically and strongly requested by the President -- in which he lays out the case.

But that's not the good part. The good part comes during reporters' questioning.

He picks on reporters representing the major liberal media. After they ask their predictable questions and he gives them the predictable response, he poses questions in turn to the media.

To the Newsweek reporter, he reads the following Newsweek report, verbatim:

"Saddam Hussein, who has a long record of supporting terrorism, is trying to rebuild his intelligence network overseas--assets that would allow him to establish a terrorism network. U.S. sources say he is reaching out to Islamic terrorists, including some who may be linked to Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi exile accused of masterminding the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa last summer."

He then asks:

Has Newsweek written a correction for this report?

Has Newsweek any evidence the original report was wrong?

Has Newsweek written an article suggesting that Clinton was "strongly contradicted" by the 9-11 panel?

If not -- and of course all the questions are answered "No" -- then why not?

Next he calls upon Terry Moran of ABC. Once Terry Moran is done screeching about Abu Ghraib, he reads him this ABC News report:

Intelligence sources say bin Laden's long relationship with the Iraqis began as he helped Sudan's fundamentalist government in their efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. . . . ABC News has learned that in December, an Iraqi intelligence chief named Faruq Hijazi, now Iraq's ambassador to Turkey, made a secret trip to Afghanistan to meet with bin Laden. Three intelligence agencies tell ABC News they cannot be certain what was discussed, but almost certainly, they say, bin Laden has been told he would be welcome in Baghdad."

Once again, he asks Mr. Moran:

Has ABC News published a correction for this report?

Has ABC News any evidence the original report was wrong?

Has ABC News written an article suggesting that Clinton was "strongly contradicted" by the 9-11 panel?

If not -- and of course all the questions are answered "No" -- then why not?

And so forth around the room, until reporters almost refuse to stand and ask questions when called upon.

For those few organizations that did not report on the Saddam-bin Ladin connection in 1998-2000, he reads to them the words of Kean and Hamilton specifically and vigorously refuting the media's coverage of the 9-11 Panel's findings, and asks:

"Did you prominently feature 9-11 Chairmen Kean and Hamilton specifically and vigorously refuting your coverage of their findings? If not, why not?"

The media has declared war on the Bush Administration. The time for pretending to make nice-nice is over.

Again: Either these links are real or they are not. If they are not, then Bush deserves to lose this election.

If they are real, but Bush does not take on the media regarding their distortions, then he deserves to lose the election for his utter stupidity and gutlessness.

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posted by Ace at 04:10 PM

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