Thursday, January 19, 2006

Issue a Terror Alert -- But Who'll Tell George?

Why bother? Those stupid terror alerts were all election year political theatre anyway.

They didn't even tell King George La La La I Can't Hear You Bush about the Bin Laden tape today, until after he was finished with his folksy bullshit speech. Because there is no real threat. Because George Bush can't do anything about it anyway. Look at Katrina. Look at Medicare. All he would do is appoint some incompetent flunky and after the disaster hits, say, "You're doin' a heckuva job, incompetent flunky."

Threats, humor and timing

STERLING, Va. - President Bush had not been informed of the new audiotape of Osama bin Laden issuing a new threat of attack against the United States on Thursday morning until after he finished a 74-minute public appearance here to tout successes in the economy -– a theater-in-the-round-like event in which Bush parried and joked with his audience in the freewheeling manner of a seasoned television talk-show host.

"The president was informed about the audiotape shortly after his remarks in Sterling, Virginia, earlier this morning," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said later in Washington. "The intelligence community is continuing to analyze the tape to determine its authenticity and if there is any actionable intelligence. If there is any actionable intelligence, we will act on it."

That could help explain Bush's ebullience and the playful spirit in which he fielded questions from a friendly audience on the floor of a warehouse at JK Moving and Storage. Anyone holding a BlackBerry would have learned just a minute before that event that Al Jazeerah was airing the tape of bin Laden's threat. The email alert from ABC News arrived at 10:15 am EST. Bush started speaking at 10:16 am.

Toward the end of his upbeat and light-hearted exchange with his audience, the president was asked a pointed question – its point enhanced by what the president learned after his appearance here -- by an educator from Marymount University: "Most people in this room today are leaders of some type… And my question to you is how do you remain upbeat when you're surrounded by the burdens of leadership?"

"My faith and my family and my friends, for starters. I like going home to be with my family," Bush said.

"I'm proud to tell you that my friends that I knew before I became in public office are still my friends," Bush added. "One of the coolest things to do in my presidential work, one of the – (with an aside to reporters watching from above, eliciting laughter from the audience) – seeing if you're paying attention up there – things I like to do, is to welcome my buddies, and Laura feels the same way, people we grew up with -- we both grew up in Midland, Texas. I remember having some of my friends that I went to 1st grade with, a guy I grew up across the street with, Michael Proctor, they came up to have dinner at the White House.

"You know, and they kind of walk in there," the president explained. "You can imagine what it's like. It's a great honor, pretty awe-inspiring deal. They walk in there and, kind of, 'What are you doing here, Bush?'"

What are you doing here, Bush?

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