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It Doesn’t Matter What President Bush Said. It’s How He Said It That Counts.

Reported by Ellen - March 22, 2006

Hannity & Colmes took time out from its busy crime analysis last night (3/21/06) for a short report on President Bush’s press conference. Both guests plus Sean Hannity shied away from discussing the substance of Bush’s comments and focused on giving him glowing marks for style. I think the panelists spent more time talking about Clinton's policy than Bush's.

Hannity said approvingly, “He came out swinging today.”

Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon said Bush seemed “pumped up” and on top of his game. “This was vintage Bush… I think today we saw him bounding back into the arena swinging against his opponents.”

Nina Easton, of the Boston Globe, didn’t let the fact that she works for the “liberal media” stop her from lauding the president almost non-stop. “The President was incredibly gracious… He showed a lot of zest and a lot of unscripted… ability to make his case… He actually came out pretty well.”

Sammon agreed, of course. “President Bush daring his opponents… very defiant… the kind of thing that will get his base rallied up… So it’s just what the doctor ordered.”

Finally, when it was his turn, Alan Colmes said, “I want to talk about content.” He played a clip from the news conference in which Bush said “future presidents” will decide when our forces will leave Iraq. Colmes asked, “Isn’t he saying there he has no plans to get out of Iraq as long as he’s in charge?”

Sammon claimed that Bush was “stating the obvious.” Then, predictably, he quickly changed the subject to Clinton. “I remember when Clinton said we’d be out of Bosnia in a year… Here we are a decade later. We still have some troops in Bosnia.”

Colmes then made a point that struck me as a rather daring one to make on H&C: he called Bush a liar in so many words. Colmes quoted Bush saying that he had a decision to make when Saddam Hussein chose to deny the inspectors access. “First of all, it should have been the UN’s decision and secondly HE pulled the inspectors out of Iraq. Saddam Hussein didn’t kick them out. That’s what happened. I don’t think the President represented properly what actually took place.”

Easton completely ignored that point and made a non-sequitor back to praising Bush's style. “All of this goes to the problem that this White House has – it’s an election year.” Adding that things were not going well for Bush because of the war in Iraq (and completely overlooking the Dubai ports issue, Katrina, and the deficit, e.g.) Easton was ready to praise him again. “So what he’s trying to do – and what he did I thought on the bit about the wiretapping – he’s trying to make this not a referendum on the White House but a choice between Democrats and Republicans and that worked extremely well in 2004 and that’s what he’s trying to do again.”

They were out of time. Sean Hannity announced the next segment. “Was this Nanny wrongly accused of violently shaking an infant?”

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