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Navigating the ship of state through the rocky shoals of politics

Reported by Chrish - January 27, 2005

On The Big Story today, 1/26/05, John Gibson had guests Juan Williams of NPR and Dan Schnur, Republican media consultant, on to discuss if politics will "scuttle" the president's agenda (using the terms above). They were all pretty much in agreement that Bush needs to sell his agenda aggressively and that some Republican members of Congress who are up for re-election this cycle are a little nervous but will stay in line.

The subject turned to the military helicopter crash in Iraq and the horrible loss of life. Gibson said to Schnur that Bush has been criticized in the past for 'not appearing to be emotive enough on a day when American soldiers are killed.

"Today, the terrible helicopter accident, 31 killed, plus 4,5 more killed in combat, the president asked directly about this, and asked to justify this push for democracy when it takes American lives like this. Do you think he explained this well enough?"

Schnur: "I think the timing for the news conference, while a little hasty, was very well done. Because he had such a tragic day over in Iraq today, that under normal circumstances the American people are naturally going to become very discouraged toward our goals over there. Because the president came out in the same news cycle as those tragic events and reminded people that elections are taking place this Sunday, reminding people that progress are (sic) being made, he's certainly not dismissing the import of what happened there today, but I think he's trying to encourage the American people to keep an eye on those broader goals."

Comment: The thought that the White House called a hasty press conference in order to do damage control in the aftermath of such a great loss is despicable. Having an identified "Republican media consultant" approve of the timing makes it all the more obvious it was concocted to manipulate and redirect. As with the administration ban on showing photos of flag-draped coffins, the media is not supposed to dwell on the pain and death caused by this war. The clip that Fox ran at the top of the hour showed Bush in his usual belligerent manner emphatically asserting that "we value life' and "we weep and mourn when soldiers lose their life (sic) but it is the long-term objective that is vital, and that is to spread freedom." The only emotions I sensed from him were defensiveness and anger. Tell the 36 families to forget about those WMDs their loved ones went to find and feel good about the election Sunday, which we may or may not see.

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