Bush's second (first in 18 months!) prime-time news conference of his presidency was revealing in that his handlers' playbook was laid bare with every response:
1. If the reporter so much as mentions Saddam, Iraq, or war, launch into your "1441, 12 years to disarm, responsibility to protect Americans from the imminent threat, Saddam=terrorist, Iraq=terrorism" spiel. Repeat ad nauseum. They can't get enough of this.
2. If you don't unnerstand the question, or if the question is too long, run the September 11th play.
3. If the word "pray" is mentioned, you know what to do. Also, all that work you put into the State of the Union can be reused here, including the "Liberty is God's gift to each and every person" (America is God's gift to the universe) line.
4. Use the phrases "in the name of peace" and "I hope we don't have to go to war" and "protect innocent life" in every answer. The audience seems to love this.
5. If you get stuck, feel free to randomly remind any journalist at any time of what you said before, you know, the 1441, 911, 12 years thingies.
The Wolfritz doctrine, as digested, reconstituted and regurgitated by W:
"One of the things we love in America is freedom. If I may, I'd like to remind you what I said at the State of the Union: Liberty is not America's gift to the world. It is God's gift to each and every person. And that's what I believe.
I believe that when we see totalitarianism that we must deal with it. We don't have to do it always militarily, but this is a unique circumstance, because of 12 years of denial and defiance, because of terrorist connections, because of past history. I'm convinced that a liberated Iraq will be important for that troubled part of the world. The Iraqi people are plenty capable of governing themselves. Iraq's a sophisticated society. Iraq's got money. Iraq will provide a place where people can see that the Shia and the Sunni and the Kurds can get along in a federation. Iraq will serve as a catalyst for change, positive change. "Posted by tmonkey at March 07, 2003 12:05 PM