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November 06, 2007

Russert Doctors Thompson Quote On WMD By Not-So-Subtly Changing The Tense Of His Statement

Past imperfect:

RUSSERT: You were in Iowa, and you’re talking about Saddam Hussein, and you said, it was, “He was certain former Iraqi leaders Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, a point of contention in the four and a half years since the war began. ‘We can’t forget the fact that although at a particular point in time we never found any WMD down there, he clearly had’” “‘WMD. He clearly had,’the beginnings of a nuclear program,’ Thompson told the audience of about 60 at a Newton cafe.”

The Duelfer Commission, David Kay, all the weapons inspectors said they did not find any WMD. And yet you’re—you seem to be raising the whole herring again...

THOMPSON: No, no, I’m not...

RUSSERT: ...of chemical, biological and nuclear.

However, the story in question, which appeared in the Des Moines Register, actually quoted Thompson saying that Saddam "had had" WMD and the beginning of a nuclear program, not that he "had" them at the time of the invasion as Russert's reading of the article suggested. Here's the exact quote:

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson said Monday he was certain former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction prior to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, a point of contention in the 4 1/2 years since the war began.

“We can’t forget the fact that although at a particular point in time we never found any WMD down there, he clearly had had WMD. He clearly had had the beginnings of a nuclear program,” Thompson told an audience of about 60 at a Newton cafe.

Similar to Olbermann playing a videotape in which Giulinai clearly says "Assad" but then immediately claiming he said "Osama," Russert actually put the actual, correct, "had had" quote on the screen when asking the question -- but then omitted a "had" when putting the Dowdified quote to Thompson.

Am I to believe that our very professional media corps, who are all such masterful students of the English language and are, as I understand the claim, the only people properly trained and credentialed to analyze the news and statements from newsmakers, are altogether ignorant of the concept of the past perfect tense?

Or do they just make shit up when they feel like it?

I'm going with the latter.

Uranium from Niger, baby. Uranium from Niger. The 16 famous words so incredibly famous not a single media organization has managed to quote them correctly since they were first uttered.

Memo to Tim Russert: A "Gotcha Quote" only works when it is, in fact, a quote.

Via Instapundit.

And since I guess it's Fred Thompson day, might as well link this Volokh bit on Fred's federalist answer on the question of gay-marriage and anti-abortion amendments.

I especially like his position on the gay marriage amendment -- do not ban it outright, which would be frankly impossible as the nation apparently resists that measure, but rather pass an amendment forbidding judges from imposing gay marriage on states. Or the nation, presumably. Allow states to, if they choose, enact gay marriage laws by majoritarian democratic legislative process; simply forbid the judiciary from writing the law for the people. It's a damn fine idea, and one I've been in favor of for years.

I'm uncomfortable with gay marriage. But what I am incensed about, just plain angry about, is not gay marriage itself, but judges taking it upon themselves to act as superlegislators and impose gay marriage upon us. And I think there are many like me more angry about the process than the substance of gay marriage.

On abortion, similar deal: The human life amendment has no chance whatsoever of becoming an amendment to the Constitution. It's brought up to keep the suckers thinking outlawing abortion is just within reach. It's not. If abortion is to be outlawed at all (which I doubt, but let's speak in hypotheticals), the first step is overturning Roe v. Wade and allowing states to set their own abortion policies. Only if America becomes comfortable with that regime would it even be possible to begin speaking realistically about a full-nation ban.

digg this
posted by Ace at 04:51 PM

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