[DEBATE] : 2x "elected" president needs interns to fill seats for briefings
b.miles.teg at gmail.com
Wed Jan 14 09:05:36 GMT 2009
White House tapped interns to fill seats after few reporters show up for
Published: Tuesday January 13, 2009
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Various television personalities -- from Anderson Cooper to Campbell
Brown -- expressed dismay or outright shock at President George W.
Bush's final press conference, particularly his responses regarding
Hurricane Katrina. Bush took umbrage with a reporter's question: Why did
the government take so long to respond?
But perhaps the most significant measure of Bush's diminished media
earning power was the lack of reporters who actually showed up for the
According to a story by former Washington Post White House correspondent
Dana Milbank, who now writes a snarky tongue-in-cheek column, the White
House ordered interns to fill two rows of empty seats in the press
"With seven days left until he surrenders power, Bush will have to do a
heck of a sales job to convince the nation of this," Milbank wrote.
"Further complicating his last-minute legacy rehabilitation: Nobody
seems to be paying attention. The White House had high expectations for
yesterday's final, historic news conference. 'ONE CORRESPONDENT PER
ORGANIZATION,' proclaimed the bulletin sent to reporters. 'STANDING ROOM
ONLY FOR NON-SEAT HOLDERS.' But when the appointed hour of 9:15 a.m.
arrived, the last two rows in the seven-row briefing room were empty,
and a press aide told White House interns to fill those seats."
"In his own way, the outgoing president acknowledged that the past five
years have, by many measures, been one long pratfall," Milbank wrote.
"But he spoke as though he were an innocent bystander, watching the
mishaps rather than having any culpability for them. To Bush, they were
not mistakes -- just disappointments. 'Abu Ghraib obviously was a huge
disappointment during the presidency,' he said. 'Not having weapons of
mass destruction was a significant disappointment -- I don't know if you
want to call those mistakes or not, but, they were -- things didn't go
according to plan, let's put it that way.'"
Speaking Monday night, CNN's Anderson Cooper and analyst David Gergen
appeared flummoxed by Bush's claim during his press conference that his
Administration had reacted appropriately in the aftermath of Hurricane
"It's sort of a red herring to talk about the flyover," Cooper said. "To
talk about what the Coast Guard did, which was valiant and courageous
and brilliant, and totally forget about ... on Friday, days after the
storm had passed, not even remembering people in the convention center
-- it just boggles the mind."
Analyst David Gergen agreed, calling Bush's response on Katrina "the
most stunning thing, I think, that happened in the press conference."
"I thought maybe that people would have some sense of warmth about
George Bush as he leaves office," Gergen continued. "I think I was
wrong. ... I don't think we've had a time since Richard Nixon left
office ... when people were so relieved to see the end of a presidency."
Watch the video of Cooper and Gergen here.
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