Yesterday, we learned that the 11 House Republicans met with the president and his senior aides at the White House this week for an “unvarnished” conversation about the administration’s war policy in Iraq. Various media accounts of the 90-minute meeting suggested that the GOP lawmakers are nervous about what the war is going to do to the party’s future.
This certainly wasn’t good news for the White House, but an adept political operation could spin the meeting fairly easily. Indeed, Dana Perino was on CNN last night articulating a positive message: “They expressed frustration, because of a lack of progress. The president understands that. He’s right there with them on that. And I think that, if you look at our party, we are ones that like frank exchange of views. We have a big tent. And discussions like this are OK. They’re good to have. And that’s why the president was very happy to have them at the White House.”
See? The meeting was a good thing after all! Or at least it was, right up until the White House started stepping on its own spin.
Top Bush administration officials lashed out at a pair of House Republicans at the White House yesterday after details about a contentious meeting between President Bush and GOP legislators were leaked to the media earlier this week.
The confrontations are the latest indications of an intensifying rift between Bush and congressional Republicans.
Reps. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) attracted the ire of White House officials for allegedly speaking to reporters about a Tuesday meeting between Bush and centrist Republicans on the Iraq war.