I was asked by a television network to be part of a panel discussing the impact of the president's Wednesday press conference. Since I only caught part of the event on television, I studied the 20-page transcript of the event.
Bush was confident, unapologetic and engaged. He defended his national security and economic records and vouched for House Speaker Dennis Hastert to boot. In his opening summary, he clearly articulated his positions on national security, including Iraq and North Korea, and the economy. In the question and answer session that followed he was unflappable, disarming and winning.Democrat congressman Charles Rangel and his colleagues would like you to believe that President Bush's speech was so deflating that it -- rather than the small plane crashing into a New York City high-rise -- caused the stock market to momentarily stumble. Wishful thinking, Charlie.
Other observers opined that President Bush used the press conference to change the subject from the Foley scandal to other issues. Sorry, but that's exactly the opposite of what is going on.
The truth is that Democrats, with the help of their mainstream media echo chamber, are the ones who have changed the subject from the life and death issues facing voters in November. Bush's press conference refocused our attention on what matters most.
In addition to addressing the issues directly, and starkly contrasting his positions with those of Democrats, President Bush made three other points that have been a long time coming.
First, he said he would not be intimidated from using the Democrats' words against them by their false charge that he was questioning their patriotism. He will continue to call their position on Iraq "cut and run," because it's an accurate descriptor. He noted that Sen. Kerry had advocated a date certain for withdrawal from Iraq, which amounts to "cutting and running" before the mission -- enabling Iraq to "defend itself, sustain itself and govern itself" -- is complete.
In the turning-their-words-against-them department, President Bush also cited House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's laughable assertion that she "loves tax cuts." President Bush allowed as how he found this quite curious, given Pelosi's record of always voting for tax increases. Boy is the truth painful to its strangers!