- So, when you are lecturing your children about being honest and truthful, can you hold up the President as a positive role model?
- Is it right to let the ends justify the means?
- When it comes to integrity, does the presidency require that individuals slip past the ethical line so they can operate?
- Should we demand more from a sitting president?
Perhaps it the following kind of logic that got the GOP such a giant kick in the ass on Tuesday:
Q Tony, on the Secretary Rumsfeld resignation, can you talk about the conversation the President had on November 1st, with various reporters. He told one of them, he was asked, "So you're expecting Rumsfeld -- Secretary Rumsfeld to stay on for the rest of your time here?" President Bush replied, "Yes, I am." Was that an honest statement?Those of us who have been following the W, Rove and Co realize that truthfulness is not W's forte and are not surprised by this answer.
MR. SNOW: Well, let me put it this way: At that point, although there had been conversations about how to proceed at the Pentagon, there had been no job offer to Bob Gates, there was no clear sense that there would be a resignation pending, and therefore, would you expect the President to say, don't know, let me get back to you, trying to think that one through. The fact is, at that point, that reflected his thinking. But on the other hand, there were conversations going on.
You need to understand that at a time of war, and also on the political -- I mean, it was a very good question for which there was not a simple and easy answer. And let me just continue, because the President made the determination that he simply was not going to let anybody get the impression that he was going to swap a decision for votes. And therefore, at that point, he had not talked with Bob Gates, he had not had a letter of resignation from Don Rumsfeld, had absolutely no confirmation about what was going to happen in the future. That is the answer he gave.
And in so doing, what he did is he made it impossible for people to try to turn that into a political football, and also the President simply is not going to allow his operation, his decisions as Commander-in-Chief, to be used in a political manner because it sends the wrong message, primarily to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marine, National Guards, and Reserves, because they need to know that the Commander-in-Chief is doing his job, not on the basis of polls, but on the basis of what is best in terms of national security.
Q Yesterday he cited political concerns. He didn't want to inject that -- I understand all --
MR. SNOW: That's what I just said.
Q But you mentioned the troops on the ground. I don't think he mentioned the troops in the answer.
MR. SNOW: Well, he has mentioned it. And at least -- let me put it this way, Greg, because the conversations he's had with us is, it's an important signal to Capitol Hill, to the government of Iraq, to our military forces, and also to the terrorists, that you can't jerk the President around on the basis of politics, period.
Q Cut and dried answer -- I mean cut and dried question, Was it an honest statement?
MR. SNOW: It was an honest statement.
Here's how W reconciled his lying to the American people in his statment yesterday:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Last week you told us that Secretary Rumsfeld will be staying on. Why is the timing right now for this, and how much does it have to do with the election results?
THE PRESIDENT: Right. No, you and Hunt and Keil came in the Oval Office, and Hunt asked me the question one week before the campaign, and basically it was, are you going to do something about Rumsfeld and the Vice President? And my answer was, they're going to stay on. And the reason why is I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign. And so the only way to answer that question and to get you on to another question was to give you that answer.
The truth of the matter is, as well -- I mean, that's one reason I gave the answer, but the other reason why is I hadn't had a chance to visit with Bob Gates yet, and I hadn't had my final conversation with Don Rumsfeld yet at that point.
I had been talking with Don Rumsfeld over a period of time about fresh perspective. He likes to call it fresh eyes. He, himself, understands that Iraq is not working well enough, fast enough. And he and I are constantly assessing. And I'm assessing, as well, all the time, by myself, about, do we have the right people in the right place, or do we -- got the right strategy? As you know, we're constantly changing tactics. And that requires constant assessment.
And so he and I both agreed in our meeting yesterday that it was appropriate that I accept his resignation. And so the decision was made -- actually, I thought we were going to do fine yesterday. Shows what I know. But I thought we were going to be fine in the election. My point to you is, is that, win or lose, Bob Gates was going to become the nominee.