January 15, 2004

Stick A Fork In It

Daniel Drezner covers the Paul O'Neill flap about as well as anyone has with two good posts, first here from Monday, and then here as a follow-up to the O'Neill backtracking and clarifications. Among O'Neill's clarifications (which I'm betting won't get an airing on "60 Minutes" anytime soon) were these statements from a Reuters article (via Drezner):

He described the reaction to Suskind's book as a "red meat frenzy" and said people should read his comments in context, particularly about the Iraq war.

"People are trying to say that I said the president was planning war in Iraq early in the administration. Actually there was a continuation of work that had been going on in the Clinton administration with the notion that there needed to be a regime change in Iraq."

What surprised him, said O'Neill, was how much priority was given to Iraq by the president....

Asked about his comment that during Cabinet meetings Bush was like "a blind man in a room full of deaf people," O'Neill said he regretted some of the language he used to describe his former boss.

"If I could take it back, I would take it back. It has become the controversial centerpiece."

Pressed whether he would vote for Bush in the November presidential election, O'Neill said he probably would, but he said the American people needed to demand more of their leaders.

I think that last statement just about throws the last shovelful of dirt on this non-scandal. How telling is it that the guy the media establishment promoted for several days, and feted with interviews on 60 Minutes and Today in an attempt to scandalize Bush, has now said he plans to vote for him, because he sees no better alternative. An in-your-face moment for the media.

Posted by dan at January 15, 2004 09:43 PM
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