A cornerstone of the Bush administration’s overwhelmingly negative campaign against Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is to portray him as a “flip-flopper.” But what President George W. Bush did this week not only makes issues on which Kerry may or may not have flipped or flopped pale in comparison. At the same time, the way in which it was done insulted the intelligence of those witnessing it.
Speaking Monday on NBC’s Today Show, the president was asked if the United States “can win” the war on terror and answered, “I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions in so that the — those that use terror as a tool are — less acceptable in parts of the world.”
Tuesday, however, he seemingly retracted the statement while talking to a crowd in Nashville, Tenn.: “We meet today in a time of war for our country, a war we did not start yet one that we will win.”
White House Press Secretary Scott McClelland took it even further.
“We are winning the war on terrorism and we will win the war on terrorism,” he said during a press briefing at the White House, adding Bush has made this “crystal clear … many times before.”
Journalists, of course, questioned this, as Bush’s previous statement clearly contradicted his later one. McClelland suggested that “there are some out there that are intent on trying to create a false perception.”
Not only did President Bush clearly contradict himself within little more than a day, McClelland also suggests that it was the media who made Bush appear as having said what he did.
To switch position as obviously as Bush did is one thing, but to do so after airing millions of dollars worth of campaign ads depicting Kerry as a flip-flopper and then blaming the media for “creating false perceptions” when they simply reported what Bush said could not be more asinine.