This is the nuclear bomb that's meant to destroy the story about the questioning of Donald Rumsfeld: an e-mail, leaked to Drudge, allegedly from a Chattanooga reporter claiming to have worked out the embarrassing question to Rummy in advance, in a conversation with a couple of soldiers. Expect the right-wing press to now declare the question a "fake" and compare it to CBS's National Guard documents. Expect the "liberal" press to whimper that it's been bad and deserves to be spanked.
A couple of problems with this. If the e-mail is real and the story is true, why did the soldier agree to ask the question? What did the reporter do -- put a laptop to his temple? Maybe the reporter suggested the question, but the soldier chose to ask it. (And if this story from yesterday's Newsday is accurate, the soldier's a Bush supporter.)
And what about the reaction? The e-mail says the reporter discussed the line of questioning with two soldiers. It doesn't say the reporter urged the rest of the troops to cheer when the question was asked. But that's what happened. You''ve seen the clip -- the cheering sounded pretty damn spontaneous.