Bush-Blair Press Conference

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Dec 07, 2006 11:20 AM

You can watch live, here. 

Man, I bet a ticket to this press conference was one of the hottest in press history. "First come, first served! Ask Bush and Blair about their foreign policy just one day after a group of annointed bipartisan Washington experts declared their life's work and legacies a complete failure!"

The excitement of the occasion shows in the questions. Zing! Zing! Zing! I've never seen people take so much heart in the prospect of a military defeat.

Q: Do you acknowledge that your approach has failed, as the Baker-Hamilton Report says it has?

Q: ISG called Iraq, "grave and deteriorating." You call it "unsettling." Are you still in denial about the state of Iraq, and won't people question your sincerity in changing course there? Why did it take others to say it first?

Q: Given your trip to the Middle East, isn't what the Israeli-Palestinian problem needs a real committment--not just lip service-- from an American administration?

Q: Are you willing to engage with Iran and Syria directly? Is it possible to have the troops home by 2008?

Q: Mr. President, two years ago, you said you were ready to expend political capital on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In hindsight, do you feel you've done that?

Q: You have said that you have the Baker-Hamilton Report; you're also waiting to hear from the Pentagon and State. This was prepared by a bipartisan group-- the only one you'll get. Jim Baker also has a special relationship with your family. Should this report not get extra consideration? Does it not carry more weight than the others?

Q: The ISG said leaders must be candid and forthright, so I'll test that. Are you capable of admitting your failures in the past and, more importantly, are you capable of changing course, perhaps in the next couple of weeks?

Q: You promised the British military whatever it takes, but some say the British military is not being properly funded to do the job they've been asked to do. What do you say to that?

Update: I should say that neither Bush nor Blair was gung ho about the ISG. They spoke with the requisite accolades for the distinguished commission and its serious work, but Bush also noted that he doesn't think Baker expects that he'll accept all of the recommendations within the document.

I liked how the one reporter suggested the report should be more important than Pentagon or State Dept. reports because of Baker's relationship with the Bush family. So, the same press corps that has, rightly in many cases, bashed Bush for cronyism in the past is now suggesting that the ISG is all-important because Baker has a Bush-family tie? Isn't that Fair-Weather Anti-Cronyism? Cronyism is cool as long as it abets a cut-and-run policy!

Both spoke forcefully about the stakes of losing in Iraq, but I wonder if speaking forcefully matters anymore. It affects me, but does it affect anyone who doesn't already understand the stakes? The dullards in the press corps, for instance? I doubt it. They're too busy gleefully pushing Bush and Blair to admit past failures. You know, because that does a lot of good in beating back Islamofascism and the coming caliphate, right?