Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bush Not Staying the Course On "Staying the Course"

Are things such a mess that the White House can't even keep their talking points straight?

STEPHANOPOULOS: James Baker says that he’s looking for something between “cut and run” and “stay the course.”

BUSH: Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been “stay the course,” George. We have been — we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we’re constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly.

There are so many instances where I could find quotes of Bush sauying "stay the course." For instance: this April 13, 2004 press conference.


And, yet, we must stay the course, because the end result is in our nation's interest.



We'll stay the course; we'll complete the job.



We will stay the course and complete the job and you'll have what you need.


I understand why he kept saying "stay the course." When this President gets off message and has to discuss wonkish policy matters is when he gets in trouble.

Tony Snow is now trying to dig his boss out of the hole of his own creation.


WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 — The White House said Monday that President Bush was no longer using the phrase “stay the course” when speaking about the Iraq war, in a new effort to emphasize flexibility in the face of some of the bloodiest violence there since the 2003 invasion.

“He stopped using it,” said Tony Snow, the White House press secretary. “It left the wrong impression about what was going on and it allowed critics to say, ‘Well, here’s an administration that’s just embarked upon a policy and not looking at what the situation is,’ when, in fact, it is the opposite.”


Snow did something that Scott McClellan lacked the candor and charm to do. He admitted that Bush dropped "stay the course." McClellan would have denied it and gotten pummeled by David Gregory and Helen Thomas. Then Snow made it sound like his boss wanted to change course all along. It's spin, but served smoothly. Which makes me wonder why the White House didn't hire Snow sooner.

Watching McClellan was akin to seeing a bad karaoke singer going on night after night. Michael Wolff best described McClellan.


“The living symbol of this White House’s profound and perhaps mortal problem with language and meaning,” was the verdict of the writer Michael Wolff in a recent Vanity Fair article. “He’s Piggy in Lord of the Flies: a living victim, whose reason for being is, apparently, to shoulder public ridicule and pain . . . he’s the person nobody would ever choose to be.”


I miss Scotty.

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