John Leo

A: Not at all. But you should look at another factor. Reporters who are selected to interrogate the president for five seconds on national TV do not take this responsibility lightly. And there?s more to it than just getting your hair done that morning. They have to think a lot about what to ask and how to frame it. Then they polish and rehearse it, perhaps in front of a mirror. So if it turns out that they are the fourth or fifth person in a row asking, ?Mr. President, didn?t you screw up?? it?s too late to do anything about it. Should all these preparations go to waste, merely because their question has already been asked and answered? Of course not.

Q: Yes, but it?s like going to a six-person panel discussion and hearing all six panelists start off with the same joke. Couldn?t these reporters prepare an emergency backup question?

A: Say, that?s a pretty good idea. Rehearsing two questions instead of one!

Q: Let me add this. When two reporters ask the president three times if he feels responsible for 9/11, do they realize they are enraging people from coast to coast? Ron Brownstein reports in the Los Angeles Times that an unnamed Democratic lobby gathered a focus group and showed them a campaign ad accusing Bush of negligence for failing to stop the 9/11 attacks. Brownstein wrote that the focus group exploded with ?volcanic? rage against the ad. He quoted a Democratic operative as saying, ?They were so angry I thought they were going to turn the tables over.? Why do you think a notion that enrages normal Americans is considered worthy of throwing in the president?s face at a press conference? At least the reporters didn?t ask him if he and Osama hatched the 9/11 attack together. Wouldn?t you say they could be a bit out of touch?

A: Maybe so. You know, now that I think of it, this might just explain why they keep asking the same question over and over.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

Be the first to read John Leo's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.