Bush Ingenuous in Praising Departing Officials?

NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr says that President Bush misled his audience in remarks about the impending departure of Treasury Secretary John Snow. Schorr says that this is not the first time the president has not leveled with the American people.

DANIEL SCHORR: The rumors had been around for months. And on May 25th, at his news conference, President Bush was asked whether Treasury Secretary John Snow had given any indication that he planned to leave his job soon.

SIEGEL: NPR's Senior News Analyst, Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: But the president, without a change of expression, said no, he's not talked to me about resignation. I think he is doing a fine job. Actually, now it can be told, Henry Paulson had been courted for weeks. The president had met with him and his wife at lunch in the White House. And the day after the news conference, Paulson formally accepted the appointment. Does it matter if a president wishing to control the timing of his appointments dissembles a little? President Johnson threatened to cancel any nomination that leaked before he was ready to announce it.

It matters only if you've grown up expecting your president to level with you. President Clinton did not do that, and he was impeached. In some matters, large and small, President Bush has not done that. He promised to fire anyone working for him who was involved in the leak of the identity of the CIA agent Valerie Plame. He didn't do that. Press Secretary Scott McClelland said that the president didn't know and had never met disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Time Magazine came up with pictures of the two together at White House events. Mr. Bush said that the White House had no warnings of the breaching of the levies during Hurricane Katrina. It turned out that the situation room had received warnings of severe flooding shortly before the hurricane struck. Iraq is a chapter in itself. How much did Mr. Bush deceive the public, and how much did he deceive himself about the nonexisting weapons of mass destruction that served as a rationale for war?

Deep in the American psyche is the boy George Washington who said, I cannot tell a lie. They don't seem to make presidents that way anymore.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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