In the morning, the president, in a speech to the Israeli Knesset, suggested that Democrats want to appease terrorists, the way some wanted to appease Hitler. In the afternoon, the White House thought it best to play dumb.
Q:There’s some question about his comment here about “some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong” — you know the passage. And he talks about the “false comfort of appeasement.” This is being seen in some quarters as a slam on Senator Obama. Is this in any way directed at Senator Obama?
PERINO: It is not. And I would think that all of you who cover these issues and have for a long time have known that there are many who have suggested these types of negotiations with people that President Bush thinks we should not talk to. I understand when you’re running for office you sometimes think the world revolves around you — that is not always true and it is not true in this case.
Q: But, so, not aimed at him — do they include him?
PERINO: He’ll have to speak for himself as to what his policy is and you guys can know it well.
Yes, of course, the Bush gang is completely innocent. Who, them? Travel to foreign soil to slander a U.S. political leader in the midst of a domestic presidential campaign? How could we have ever gotten such an idea in the first place?
Oh, right, I remember now — from White House officials who conceded this morning that this was precisely the point of Bush’s cheap and pathetic smear attempt. CNN’s Ed Henry reported, “White House aides are acknowledging that this was a reference to the fact that Sen. Obama and other Democrats have publicly said that it would be ok for the U.S. President to meet with leaders like the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.” And NBC’s John Yang also spoke with a White House official who said Obama was one of Bush’s intended targets.