Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Meeting the Press

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meeting the Press

Did the Prez have anything to say today? I heard something about it, but boy, did I have to dig to get some details. That's certainly one way of measuring irrelevance. He apparently wanted to talk about telecom immunity, but the reporters didn't seem too interested about that. In his opening statement, he insisted that telecoms be given immunity so they won't have to be accountable for what they may have done. And we can't have that. Unfortunately, the Prez didn't seem completely clear on just why the telecoms might get sued.

At issue is a dispute over whether telecommunications companies should be subjected to class-action lawsuits because they are believed to have helped defend America after the attacks of 9/11.

Nobody wants to sue the telecoms because they're believed to have helped America. It's because they're believed to have illegally spied on their customers. The lawsuit would help to determine whether the spying occurred or not. If the telecoms didn't do--or if they did but had a legally valid reason--then they win the lawsuit.

Of course, to find out about this at all, I had to go to the transcript of the presser. There's no mention of it in The Washington Post's report, and it only gets one line in The New York Times' account. There are some other interesting tidbits the media missed. Despite coming out with the intention of pushing the telecom bill, Bush was somewhat taken aback when the question was posed in a different context than he was expecting.

Q You can get the Congress to protect telecom companies from lawsuits, but then there's no recourse for Americans who feel that they've been caught up in this. I know it's not intended to spy on Americans, but in the collection process, information about everybody gets swept up and then it gets sorted. So if Americans don't have any recourse, are you just telling them, when it comes to their privacy, to suck it up?

THE PRESIDENT: I wouldn't put it that way, if I were you, in public. Well, you've been long been long enough to -- anyway, yes, I -- look, there's -- people who analyze the program fully understand that America's civil liberties are well protected. There is a constant check to make sure that our civil liberties of our citizens aren't -- you know, are treated with respect. And that's what I want, and that's what most -- all Americans want.

He quickly got back on point, arguing why the telecoms should be able to break the law with impunity. Elsewhere, he insisted that, although the economy doesn't look as robust as it might, he doesn't see a recession in the offing. Despite being right on top of economic issues, the Prez seemed completely nonplussed at the fact that some analysts have suggested we might soon see gas at $4.00 a gallon before too long.

Q What's your advice to the average American who is hurting now, facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline, a lot of people facing --

THE PRESIDENT: Wait, what did you just say? You're predicting $4 a gallon gasoline?

Q A number of analysts are predicting --


Q -- $4 a gallon gasoline this spring when they reformulate.

THE PRESIDENT: That's interesting. I hadn't heard that.

So apparently, even the president of the United States can learn something he didn't know.


At 9:25 AM, February 29, 2008, Anonymous Jim C. said...

Via Think Progress, we learn that maybe he really is paying attention to gas prices...

"Yet a few minutes later, Bush wouldn’t answer a question regarding donations for his presidential library because, he claimed, “I, frankly, have been focused elsewhere, like on gasoline prices.” "

At 1:35 PM, March 01, 2008, Anonymous Doug said...

I think he just meant that his focus on gasoline prices had preoccupied him for the last five minutes or so, keeping him from figuring out how much more Saudi Arabia could now afford to give to his library.


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