In the Arena

Bush Press Conference: The Important Stuff

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1. Mood: Non-combative, conciliatory. Refused to indulge in the McCain-Lieberman tactic of saying the “Democrat party”–he’s still calling it that, by the way–is undermining the troops. Called the Democrats “patriotic” several times.

2. Iraq–nothing new here.

3. Iran–significant retreat from intel briefing: he doesn’t know whether or not the Iranian leadership has ordered the Quds Force activities. Refused to directly answer Martha Raddatz’s question about whether he’s using Iran’s activities in Iraq as a pretext for war, then comes back to it later: “Is this a pretext for war? No, I’m trying to protect our troops.”

4. Quote of the Day: “Money trumps peace sometimes. Commercial interests can be very powerful.” The context was the refusal of the Europeans to clamp down harder sanctions on Iran, but there are other appropriate, oily contexts, I’d say.

5. Bottom line: Not much news here, but he didn’t do himself any further harm.