FROM GUEST-BLOGGER RICK KLEIN, OF ABC’S THE NOTE
President Bush may have lined up a chip shot for some of his critics.
In an interview with Politico’s Mike Allen, President Bush went into more detail than he has previously about his decision to give up golf, in 2003.
"I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf," the president said Tuesday. "I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."
Surely the president offered this detail with the best of intentions, to show one small way in which he’s chosen to change his behavior because of the way it might be perceived, and not to equate the loss of American lives with his loss of a game most associated with the prep-school set.
But suffice it to say that Bush critics have taken notice. Representatives of several liberal groups contacted by ABC News said they are mulling advertisements or other PR efforts highlighting the comments.
The liberal group Americans United for Change sent an e-mail to reporters Wednesday with photos of the president hunting and fishing — and included a link to a video clip (made famous by "Fahrenheit 9/11") of the president calling on all nations "to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers" — and then telling reporters to "watch this drive."
(That golf game, it should be noted, came before the Iraq war, when US military efforts were limited to Afghanistan.)
"It does highlight how out of touch the president is," Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for Americans United, tells ABC. "You can react to something like this with anger or ridicule — either one works. We’re leaning on the sign of ridicule."
Leave the anger to VoteVets.org, a political action committee comprised of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans.
"I would say that thousands of Americans have given up a lot more than golf for this war," Brandon Friedman, vice chairman of VoteVets.org and a reserve Army captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said in an interview. "For President Bush to imply that he stands in solidarity with these families because he quit a game is an insult."
Friedman said his group is exploring Web advertising and other ways to circulate the president’s words on his sacrifice of his golf game — and here’s guessing his won’t be the last group to use it.
"We have to spread the word. We’re trying to get it out there, because it’s really reprehensible," Friedman said. "This is a guy who has not yet gone to a military funeral. It just shows how inhuman he is."
Think the president would like a mulligan?
– Rick Klein