December 9, 2006

tonysnow-rs.jpg Tony Snow attacked David Gregory last week by calling him a partisan after the ISG report came out. The right wingers pounced on him which was very predictable. Snow gives a partisan answer this morning about the ISG that borders on the surreal.

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KURTZ: But they also state the policy is not working.

SNOW: No, what they said is that you need a new policy.

If the ISG said you need a new policy---then that means Bush's policy hasn't been working...Geez...

CNN provides the transcript via Reliable Sources.

Secondly, I'd only heard that particular formulation through a partisan (INAUDIBLE) as a critique of the president, rather than as a critique of the characterization of the report itself. Again, if you want to take a look at this, Lee Hamilton and Jim Baker, both, it pains (ph) to say, this is an opportunity to work at a bipartisan basis, we're not here to look back, we're not here to criticize. And so…

KURTZ: You're free -- you're free to dismiss questions as you see fit, but in this case, it seems like you're challenging the reporter's motivation. Do you think David Gregory is an honest reporter?

SNOW: Yeah, David is -- very often, I think David works very hard to be fair. And I've said that to him. But it is certainly worthwhile to question motivations -- or not the motivations, the assumptions of a question.

And then I proceeded to say, "OK, let's take a look" the question that David Gregory asked was, "Is this a rejection of the administration's policy…"

SNOW: No, but…

KURTZ: And, in fact, the "New York Times" and the "Chicago Tribune"

called it a "rebuke of the administration policy" and the "Wall Street Journal"

called it a "searing critique," so you're taking a position (INAUDIBLE) the administration is very different from the way news organizations are characterizing it.

SNOW: Well, yeah, but news organizations were characterizing, interestingly, in direct defiance and contradiction to what the people who wrote it said. And it is worth taking into account the motive's aims and objectives rather than saying, "Ah-ha, here's a searing critique." For instance, is it searing critique that this report says, at the beginning of its own segment on actions forward, that it says, and I quote, and this was not something I was asked about, "We agree with the goal of U.S. policy in Iraq as stated by the president."

KURTZ: The goal?

SNOW: "An Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself."

KURTZ: But they also state the policy is not working.

SNOW: No, what they said is that you need a new policy. What they also said is, the policy of precipitant withdrawal, which had been raised in the campaign season, "would be wrong for the United States to abandon the country through a precipitant withdrawal of troops and support a premature American departure from Iraq would almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence."

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