September 13, 2004


Memos debate eclipses content (USA Today, 9/12/04)

USA TODAY obtained copies of the documents independently soon after the 60 Minutes segment aired Wednesday, from a person with knowledge of Texas Air National Guard operations. The person refused to be identified out of fear of retaliation. It is unclear where the documents, if they are real, had been kept in the intervening three decades.

The White House, which was given copies of the documents by CBS, distributed them in e-mail to reporters Wednesday.

Bartlett, the White House spokesman, who was interviewed by CBS, did not address specifics contained in the memos but said as he has before that Bush fulfilled his service obligations. Bartlett cited as proof the fact that Bush received an honorable discharge.

No matter how it turns out, for now the controversy over the documents has blunted criticism of Bush's Guard record, which has been a persistent irritant for Bush since he first campaigned for the White House. It has sapped the power from an issue that had appeared to be a weapon for the Democrats against Bush.

Democrats claim they're going to keep flogging the issue anyway though. That seems risky.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 13, 2004 7:35 AM

When all you've got is a wet noodle...

Posted by: M. Murcek at September 13, 2004 8:12 AM

The race isn't over yet (says an experienced BoSox fan) but it seems, if Kerry and the DNC continue to push the guard story, that they have run the worst campaign ever. There were/are enough issues relating to Iraq, the economy, and social issues that Kerry could have run a very close race with Bush and possibly beaten him. By focusing on what Bush did 35 yrs ago seems to imply that the Dems thought that was enough to push Bush out of office despite his 4 yrs as president.

Posted by: AWW at September 13, 2004 8:18 AM

It's what must happen when such as Michael Moore are your paragons. And when Moore's "methods" for ascertaining truth become your accepted methods.


The eternal question: When falsehood is hailed and promoted as truth, does it necessarily become true?

Posted by: Barry Meislin at September 13, 2004 8:30 AM

Why on Earth should the dubious authenticity of the "memos" not eclipse their content? The contrary suggestion is tinged with idiocy, if not outright lunacy.

By refusing to present their chain of transmission for these documents, their reasons for accepting them at face value, and the "experts" to whom they recurred for corroboration, the mandarins of CBS News have done more harm to the credibility of Old Media journalists than could have been accomplished in any other way.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at September 13, 2004 8:32 AM

I know some people who are demanding that Bush answer the 'charges'. They don't believe that the memos are forged (using the Boston Globe article - now debunked as 'case closed'), but even if they are forged they believe it was a right wing dirty trick and besides Bush hasn't answered the charges from the memos and anyway he's Hitler and...

I have been keeping my distance from these people as I'm afraid they may burst into flames at any moment.

Posted by: NKR at September 13, 2004 9:04 AM

The Kerry campaign is certainly uninspired, and the candidate is hopeless, but they're not completely incompetent. They've been running all this stuff through focus groups to see what sticks. If this is what they're pushing, it's because they think this is what works best. That doesn't mean the Guard stuff is strong, necessarily, just that it is the least weak argument.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 13, 2004 9:48 AM

a prediction:

CBS will come clean soon -- 'mea maxima culpa'..
they have NO CHOICE. if they can't:
1) keep from being duped
OR, at least
2) report the errors that led to their being duped;

then, what good are they?

this will tend,on balance, to work to W's advantage. wa can call it "Bush phony scandal fatigue syndrome' (Joe Wilson, Dick Clarke, etc..)

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at September 13, 2004 10:16 AM