Tuesday, December 21, 2004

By Tweed

In a move demonstrating that the White House has not given up its near death-grip on every possible facet of how it operates, President Bush yesterday side-stepped another debate:

"Now, the temptation is going to be, by well-meaning people such as yourself and others here, as we run up to the issue, to get me to negotiate with myself in public," Bush told the questioner on Monday. "To say, you know, "What's this mean, Mr. President? What's that mean?

"I'm not going to do that. I don't get to write the law. I'll propose a solution at the appropriate time," Bush said.

Asked to explain one facet of his Social Security policy, Bush agreed but said, "I will try to explain how without negotiating with myself. It's a very tricky way to get me to play my cards. I understand that."
White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card tried to down-play the dodge, noting that "the President did not say that he would never negotiate with himself. He just made clear that he wasn't going to . . . well. . . think about the issue in any great detail."

Bush, After Being Informed that He Actually Could Write the Law if He Wanted to

White House Spokesman Scott McClellen followed up on Mr. Card's remarks, trying to further clarify the President's comments: "The President is a thoughtful person, and he knows that being too thoughtful is wasteful, because there are only so many thoughts someone has." Asked whether the President's comments indicated that Mr. Bush does not yet have a full grasp on the issue, Mr. McClellen asked me never again to attend a White House briefing.


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