Bush Press Conference and the Magic Tie

A fundamental rule of media training is you never wear clothing on television that can distract the viewer — no polka dots, no flashy stripes or vivid patterns. So who’s decision was it to have our president this evening don a technicolor tie that kept changing color magically every split second throughout the press conference?

Don’t believe me? Here’s a great shot of our leader falling a sleep at his own press conference while his magic tie sparkles. (Photo is via Atrios; click to enlarge.)


The Magic Tie aside, this press conference was a disaster. Even with a script in front of him Bush is wobbly at best. But when he’s thrown to the sharks and is totally on his own, he’s a catastrophe. No, make that a tragedy. He wandered aimlessly from talking point to talking point, with no direction, without answering the questions, without focus or insight. Nothing new. Same old messages about how bad Saddam was and how somehow this is part of the war on terror. No remorse. No regret. No admission of any mistakes. At one point, he truly looked like a deer caught in the headlights and I had to get up, it was so embarrassing. he actually told the reporter, more or less, that because of the pressures of the press conference he couldn’t think fast enough to come up with an answer. (Can you imagine Clinton or Reagan saying that? Or even George Bush Sr.?)

The very worst moment was when Bush was asked why he had to go with Dick Cheney to testify in front of the 911 commission. You had to see it to believe how evasive and frightened Bush appeared. And this man is the Lord of the Universe. And he needs to sit on Dick Cheney’s lap. Imagine Clinton refusing to testify in front of a commission unless he could go in with Al Gore.

If you missed it, several blog luminaries blogged it as it was taking place, notably Pandagon and Kevin Drum (and don’t miss the comments).

Watching Bush tonight was almost as depressing as watching John Ascroft a few hours earlier testify before the 911 commission. Bush was just pathetic. Ashcroft, true to form, was despicable. (Shorter John Ashcroft: “Not our fault. Clinton’s fault.”)

Anyone but Bush. Anyone but Bush.

Update: Do not miss the best post-mortem of this truly wretched event.

Also, Saletan of Slate fisks the speech. Precious.

The Discussion: 6 Comments

“I guess I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be. I just haven’t thought of a response, with all the pressure of coming up with a response. I’m sure something will pop into my head in the midst of the press conference.”


April 13, 2004 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

He also said, “I hope — I don’t want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I’m confident I have. I just haven’t — you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.”

See Wonkette’s little post, where she writes, “Short Bush News Conference: If my answers cannot distract you from the miserable failure that is the Bush foreign policy, perhaps my tie will.”

April 13, 2004 @ 11:50 pm | Comment

The Bush/Kerry debates can’t occur soon enough.

April 14, 2004 @ 2:00 am | Comment

Meanwhile, in Bizarro World:

“I found the president clear, forceful, impassioned, determined, real. This was not an average performance. I found it Bush at his best. He needs to do it more.”

April 14, 2004 @ 2:53 am | Comment

Here’s Sully:
“I’ve just watched the press conference later on C-SPAN. Not only was the transcript encouraging. I found the president clear, forceful, impassioned, determined, real. This was not an average performance. I found it Bush at his best. He needs to do it more.”
Were you guys watching the same press conference? I read your post and was heartened but then I read Sully and now I don’t know what to think. Anti-intellectual Middle America doesn’t worry too much about syntax, grammer and wandering arguments. How do you think he came across to a guy who watches NASCAR after church on Sunday? If Bush didn’t come off like a goof to him, then it probably wasn’t the catastrophe you are making it out to be and Bush lucked out again.

April 14, 2004 @ 3:05 am | Comment

Brian, go read Kurtz’s post over at the Washington Post on the speech. He is a center-right media critic, and he gives lots of opinions from lots of sources (including Sullivan).

I read Sully with dismay. He’s been highly critical of Bush recently, and now he’s sucking up again. A bad and depressing sign.

April 14, 2004 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

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