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Tony Snow making the rounds on FOX, defending Bush's denial of report findings

Reported by Chrish - July 13, 2007 -

Former FOX employee Tony Snow got to visit his former colleagues John Gibson and Bill O'Reilly today 7/12/07, defending Bush's flip dismissal of a document - "Al Qaeda Better Positioned to Strike the West" - from the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). They also discussed the White House report released today that found Iraq to have met only 8/18 benchmarks, not surprisingly taking a "glass half full" look at the results.

Snow made the point on The Big Story (reinforced in Gibson's My Word) that if we leave Iraq, things will get worse: more Iraqi casualties, more terrorism, loss of our influence in the region, and destabilization in the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, "and sooner or later it will come to our shores, to a shopping mall near you."

What Bush did today, said Snow, was maybe tell American people things they didn't know about successes in Iraq and give a fuller picture of what's going on in Iraq. He insisted that Bush is listening to the American people, BUT his job is to keep us safe. (I thought it was to uphold the Constitution.)

Oddly, in the middle of the segment the chyron briefly read "My Word: Democrats are in a state of denial about Al Qaeda." A production glitch, no doubt, but a well-worn FOX tactic of projecting/pre-empting a phrase, as many Americans accuse Bush of being in denial about Iraq.

After Talking Points, O'Reilly had Tony Snow on to give "another view" and tell him where he's going wrong. Snow said immediately not to put any stock in the Iraq opinion polls, as they're notoriously "uneven." What? So a poll is no good if it's results are not "fair and balanced"?

Snow refuted O'Reilly's claim that Iraqis are not putting up the necessary fight, saying Iraqis are increasingly in the front lines and taking 3-4X the fatalities and casualties that Americans are. When given the choice between the iraqi government and Al Qaeda, they choose the Iraqi government and are glad the American surge is there to help them fight the "invaders," citing successes in Anbar and Diyallah provinces.

O'Reilly said that no nation could win in this situation unless Iraqis co-operate and turn over Al Qaeda, but obviously some Iraqis are helping AQ by hiding them. Snow cited Anbar and Diyallah again, and O'Reilly waved him off; he's not talking about that. What? I thought BillO was all about the success stories> But noooo, he starts ticking off incidents: a $250,000,000 robbery yesterday in Baghdad, they're robbin' the oil; this is a corrupt country, Tony! (How can they steal their own oil?) Snow, who looked surprised at being on the receving end of one of O'Reilly's angry rants, told him that the government hasn't been in power three years, as O'Reilly said, but rather just a year. They ran through the history a bit, and Snow asserted that the prime minister has cleaned up corruption in the Ministries of the Interior and Economy, and O'Reilly agreed it's not everyone, but like in Viet Nam there are not enough of "them" on "our" side.

They discussed the defections of Republicans for a moment, then O'Reilly asked about the NIE which says that Al Qaeda is as strong now as they were before 9/11. If that's true, it's not a good reflection on the Bush administration; it means "you" haven't degraded them in six years.
Snow replied A. It's not true and B. It's not an NIE. Al Qaeda, he said, is weaker than it was on 9/11/01. But the fact is it's now disbursed around the globe, a franchise operation, and they still want to kill us. Americans should always be vigilant but remember, they're not as strong - that's why their leader is in hiding.

O'Reilly asked about Snow's health, (he said he is feeling well though his hair is noticeably greyer) and they joked and said good-bye, "bud."

Snow is out doing damage control, shoring up Bush's dismissal of yet another study that tells him what he doesn't want to hear. O'Reilly may have challenged Snow, but unlike Democratic or liberal guests, he was allowed to answer, in full, and refute O'Reilly. O'Reilly is gradually and reluctantly changing position, feeling which way the winds are blowing. Too little too late? We report, you decide.