Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Rules of engagement?

Is it just me or has George Bush's people gone out of their way to describe the President as being "engaged"? It seems to me if you are engaged you don't need to remind folks that you are but I could be wrong. But anyway:

White House officials said Wednesday night that the transcripts and video obtained by AP show only a few moments in time and don't reflect that Bush was engaged before, during and after the hurricane hit.

"He issued emergency disaster declarations ahead of the storm. He told people in the region to listen to the warnings of state and local officials," said Blair Jones, a White House spokesman. "He received multiple briefings from multiple officials. ... He was engaged."

Brown described the president throughout the crisis this way: "I think he was engaged, but I think there was an overconfidence that FEMA had handled Sept. 11, we had handled the California wildfires, we had handled the 2004 hurricanes right in the middle of the presidential elections. Hey, we could do this, too.",2933,186546,00.html

Here are two...

In August 29th Videoconference, Former FEMA Director Michael Brown Said The President Was "Asking A Lot Of Really Good Questions I Would Expect Him To Ask." BROWN: "The President remains very, very interested in this situation. ... He's obviously watching the television a lot, and he had some questions about the Dome, he's asking questions about reports of breaches. He's asking about hospitals. He's very engaged, and he's asking a lot of really good questions I would expect him to ask." (Bill Walsh, "The Day Storm Hit, Bush Was Worried About Levees," The New Orleans Times-Picayune, 3/1/06)

The President Was Engaged In The Katrina Response And Mobilized Federal Resources.

(AP) WASHINGTON President Bush remained engaged during Hurricane Katrina but was overconfident that the Federal Emergency Management Agency could handle the destructive aftermath based on its record in previous disasters, former federal disaster chief Michael Brown said Wednesday.

White House officials said the footage reinforces what they have said to critics: that the president, at his Texas vacation home, was fully engaged from the opening hours of the emergency, while leaving operational decisions to the agencies in charge.

Oh yeah, and there's the fact that those unnamed White House sources tell Bumiller that Bush was "engaged in the fighting in Falluja," which is sort of like saying Bush was engaged in the fighting in Vietnam (on the other hand, it does help explain why things went to hell there.)

As Cardinal Pio Laghi, perhaps the last opponent of war President Bush will meet face-to-face prior to a U.S.-led attack against Iraq, made the case for peace, the president was engaged and attentive.

"If you saw the President's press conference today there was no doubt that Mr. Bush fervently believes he is doing the right thing in Iraq and effectively fighting terrorism. The President was engaged and challenging, especially to critics who have questioned his motives, like White House reporter Helen Thomas.

That is a quick perusal of the result of the first 5 pages of this Google search: "President Bush" "was engaged"

I picked the obvious stuff and Katrina seems to be the source of a lot of the need to show that Bush "is engaged" but after a bit the weight builds. It is as though everyone knows that there is a lack of gravitas that his own handlers know must be addressed.

But really... Have there been other Leaders of the Free World for whom the need to be described as "ENGAGED" has been so great?

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