Tuesday, October 10, 2006


From Sarah Wheaton at the New York Times blog The Caucus:

The White House pushback on the Bob Woodward book "State of Denial" is operating in a bizarro public relations universe where the press staff trumpets the administration's worst data to the media.

...In his book, Mr. Woodward said he had a secret report showing an upward trend in casualties.

We declassified that document ages ago, the White House shot back.

Then on Sunday on Meet the Press, Woodward insisted that, yes, the information was being kept classified.

...in an email today called "Setting the Record Straight," the second by that title, the administration again contested Mr. Woodward's version, saying the Pentagon released a public version "within days" of the May 2006 report containing the data Mr. Woodward cited.

The White House also took issue with this exchange:

MR. RUSSERT: They say the president in May and throughout the year has always said Iraq is difficult, going to be more difficult. Saying exactly…

MR. WOODWARD: But, but, but he didn't say that. He said it's hard, everyone knows it's hard, but he said the terrorists are in retreat. Sorry, that is not retreat. Wake up. That's the reality....

We already did that truth-telling, the administration protests. The press release says that the public report called terrorist elements "resilient," and continues:

Far from hiding an increasing trend in violence, the report notes that "overall, average weekly attacks during [this] period were higher than any of the previous periods."

The White House release then begins to look like a Democratic piece, highlighting color charts showing increasing violence. We wonder if, in its zeal to show it's not in a "state of denial," the administration isn't actually digging a deeper P.R. hole.

I love it -- it's so important for the Bushies to prove they're right about everything that they're desperately trying to demonstrate that they were right about their own incompetence before Woodward was....

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