The Note




We know what the Washington press corps thinks of the President's performance last night.

We have no idea what the body language of the senior White House staff during the cut-aways meant.

We know what Bill Kristol thought of the President's performance last night (thanks to Ron Brownstein's West Coast deadlines).

We know that Rand Beers shares the White House reporters' lust to have a Bush apology over 9/11.

We have no idea what swing state voters thought of the speech/presser — although we do have a look at swing state newspaper headlines below.

So, while we wait for the next round of polls (all of us except the President, that is), and for the Bush-Cheney just-cause joint appearance before the 9/11 panel, busy yourself by not overreacting to the Los Angeles Times story on Bush-Cheney scaling back its media buy or (yet) another Boston Globe look at John Kerry's Vietnam past.

President Bush meets with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and participates in a joint media availability at the White House.

Sen. Kerry holds several fundraising events in New York City and a political event with Sen. Clinton.

The 9/11 commission hears testimonies from CIA Director George Tenet and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

The FEC debates the fate of 527s.

ABC News Vote 2004: The President faces the nation:

Press coverage of the President's press conference last night focused on similar points across the board: the lack of acknowledgment of mistakes, errors, or responsibility by the president; his tone during the question and answer period compared to his prepared remarks (defiant/defensive versus calm and methodical), and the questions that he did not answer — first and foremost why he and Cheney are appearing for questions before the 9/11 commission together.

The Washington Post's Mike Allen was able to sneak in a follow-up question to try to get an answer to that one, but the president just repeated that he was looking forward to meeting with the commission.

The New York Times' Stevenson and Jehl examine Bush's statement last evening night which "strongly reaffirmed his plan to transfer sovereignty in Iraq back to Iraqis on June 30," indicating that "the consequences of failing to follow through on his commitment to bring stability to that nation were unthinkable". LINK

The New York Times ' Sanger writes that Bush "acknowledged no error, no change of course, and he gave no ground to the critics, including his Democratic opponent for the presidency, Senator John Kerry, who argues that Mr. Bush's strategy has been flawed since the day he decided to invade Iraq without the blessing of the United Nations. But it was his tone that was most striking — a solemn, determined call for toughness that the country has rarely seen since the day Mr. Bush announced the war against the Taliban in 2001, and against Saddam Hussein a year ago." LINK

For those reporters who can't seem to develop sources in this Administration who ever deviate from the (Republican) party line, Sanger has this passage of pure taunt: "It is not difficult to find aides to Mr. Bush who question whether the intelligence about unconventional destruction was flawed. It is easy to find members of the administration who question whether L. Paul Bremer III … should have disbanded the army, or taken on Moktada al-Sadr . . . without a clear plan … ."

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