At his Press Conference today, President Bush expressly admitted that he lied last week when he said that Donald Rumsfeld would remain Defense Secretary for the next two years (only to announce today that Rumsfeld is being replaced). When the President was asked about this discrepency, he simply admitted that "the reason why is I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign. And so the only way to answer that question and to get you on to another question was to give you that answer."
That the President would so brazenly lie is not, of course, surprising (although the lie was so glaring that even conservatives James Joyner and Byron York objected to it). But what is surprising, and encouraging (although it should be commonplace), is that the Washington Post is more or less calling this what it is:
Asked about that comment, Bush said he made it because "I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign," Bush said. He appeared to acknowledge having misled reporters, saying, "And so the only way to answer that question and to get you onto another question was to give you that answer."
He added later, "Win or lose, Bob Gates was going to become the nominee."
The phrase "misled reporters" in this passage should have been replaced with "misled the nation," since that is what the President actually did. What possible justification is there for the President to definitively assure the country that Rumsfeld is staying when he was actively in the process of replacing him? That a major election is about to be held is a reason which compels disclosure of such an important matter, not which justifies its dishonest concealment.
We've become so accustomed to being lied to in this manner by our political leaders that the President can just casually admit to this (just like he can casually admit to breaking the law), and it causes only the most minor of controversies, if that.