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Libby Indictments and Future of Bush White House
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Libby Indictments and Future of Bush White House

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Libby Indictments and Future of Bush White House

Libby Indictments and Future of Bush White House
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Noah Adams speaks with Mara Liasson and Don Gonyea about what the grand jury's findings in the Valerie Plame leak case mean for President Bush’s political fortunes.

NOAH ADAMS, host:

From NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Noah Adams.

Our lead story is the indictment of Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. The indictments are related to the naming of CIA operative Valerie Plame and they include counts of perjury, making false statements and obstruction of justice. Libby has since resigned. At the White House earlier, President Bush gave his reaction to the indictments.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: Special counsel Fitzgerald's investigation and ongoing legal proceedings are serious. And now the proceedings--the process moves into a new phase. In our system each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial. While we're all saddened by today's news, we remain wholly focused on the many issues and opportunities facing this country. I got a job to do and so do the people who work in the White House. We got a job to protect the American people, and that's what we'll continue working hard to do. I look forward to working with Congress on policies to keep this economy moving, and pretty soon I'll be naming somebody to the Supreme Court. Thank you all very much.

ADAMS: And that is the entirety of that message today on the lawn at the White House, President Bush giving his reaction to the indictments today. We're joined by NPR's Don Gonyea.

What do you think of the president's demeanor and the very terse statement that he made there?

DON GONYEA reporting:

Well, first, I think the fact that it lasted all of about--What?--32 seconds or so just demonstrates how much he didn't want to ever have to make this kind of a statement during his presidency, especially for a president who campaigned in 2000 and who made this a recurring theme of his 2004 campaign of restoring dignity and honor to the White House. So he didn't dwell on the alleged crime that has taken place. He didn't mentioned the alleged crime that has taken place. Didn't show any outrage or anger about that crime, that alleged crime, and really tried to focus more on the future, on the other work. He says, `I got a job to do,' even though he said they're all saddened by it. So clearly an uncomfortable moment for the president, obviously.

ADAMS: Somebody that would help him do the job of running the country and getting things back on track would be his adviser Karl Rove, who was not indicted today. Would the president take some satisfaction from that?

GONYEA: Maybe some satisfaction, but certainly not a whole lot because while Karl Rove was not indicted, we have learned that he is still the subject of an ongoing investigation by this very dogged special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald. So relatively speaking, yes, good news that it's Lewis Libby and not Karl Rove. But ask me that question in maybe three months or six months, and at that point we'll perhaps know what Karl Rove's ultimate fate is.

ADAMS: Any reaction from the vice president, Dick Cheney, today?

GONYEA: Yes. He says he accepts Mr. Libby's resignation with deep regret. He goes on to say, `Scooter Libby is one of the most capable and talented individuals I have ever known. He's given many years of his life to public service,' and he too talks about the presumption of innocence that everyone deserves in this country.

ADAMS: Is it thought to be, though, when you look at everything this week especially a serious blow to the president's second term?

GONYEA: Absolutely yes. Scooter Libby is a top aide to the most powerful vice president ever, and this is just clearly a bad day and a political blow, beyond the legal one for the administration.

ADAMS: NPR White House correspondent Don Gonyea, thank you, sir.

GONYEA: You're welcome.

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