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From "changing the tone" to "changing the subject" in Washington

Reported by Chrish - November 15, 2005

When Bush first ran for President in 2000 he vowed to change the tone in Washington, and in 2004 it was all Iraq, all the time, because that's what the polls said was his strong point with voters. Now in 2005 all they want to do is change the subject - Iraq is a voracious moneypit claiming more American lives every day with no end in sight, and Americans are getting impatient. With his administration under investigations, his poll numbers in the tank, and the Katrina disaster opening millions of eyes to his incompetence, Bush needs to change the subject.

Governor Huckabee of Arkansas gave a hint at the next steps for Republicans on Fox News Sunday 11/13/05.

Introducing the segment featuring Democratic Governor Bill Richardson (NM) and Republican Governor Huckabee, host Chris Wallace said that Democrats, "crowing" after last week's victories in New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races feel they have the momentum for 2006. Republicans deny this, saying these were local races on local issues.

When asked to look ahead to what Bush needs to do in response to falling poll numbers and loss of trust, Huckabee stated "I think he's clearly got to redefine the scope and vision. There's been a lot of distractions with the Scooter Libby issue, the Iraq war." Wallace asked if there were a couple of issues Bush needs to focus on in the State of the Union speech next January, and Huckabee's advice would be to put some real focus on domestic issues, like health care and energy.

Wallace changed the subject for Richardson, reiterating the talking point "Do the people of New Mexico care all that much now about what Dick Cheney or someone else said back said in 2002?"

Comment: The echo chamber in action: "Is it really useful to go back over what Dick Cheney or someone else said in 2002?" Asked of Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller 20 minutes earlier. Note the obfuscating "or someone else" qualification.

Richardson, a sensible man, said of course it matters and the administration needs to start telling the truth. There needs to be a political strategy for exiting Iraq. People are worried about healthcare costs and gas prices and the administration is not responding, they're hunkering down.

Huckabee was invited to respond directly to Richardson, and hit all the talking points: Bush can't be blamed for everything, example energy prices; there IS an exit strategy, get a stable Iraqi government; average Americans would look at pre-Iraq war speeches made and conclude that "nobody knew exactly what the truth was but they acted on the truth as best they knew it"; "Democrats were just as misinformed as anyone else".

He agrees with Richardson that people are concerned about the cost of heating our homes, and whether we can purchase food, "and that's why the issues are going to have to bubble up on the domestic agenda very quickly for Republicans."

Comment: As noted in the opening paragraph, Republicans who championed Bush as the war president and most trusted on terrorism and Iraq are changing their tune as Americans realize that they've been duped. Those pesky "distractions", the Iraq war and national security breaches in the White House, need to be brushed away so our clueless leader can get to "the business of the American people" (look for similar phrases coming to a TV near you soon). Bush is going to focus on healthcare and energy? Yikes - buy a wood stove and stock up on vitamins .

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