Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
September 27, 2007

Bush To WAPO: I’m Truman, You’re … Eating Out Of My Hand

Bush-Hillary

While corporate media was being spun this week on the evils of Iran, it was also getting played on the campaign front.

This example involves a cute little post at WAPO’s campaign blog, The Trail.  The entry, titled “Bush to Hillary Clinton: I’m Truman, You’re Ike,” featured the photo above, and opened as follows:

Karl Rove may not think much of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chances of winning the White House, but it sounds like President Bush is less sanguine. At an off-the-record lunch a week ago, Bush expressed admiration for her tenacity in the campaign. And he left some in the room with the impression that he thinks she will win the election and has been thinking about how to turn over the country to her.

Does anything smell fishy so far?

Well, here’s my list:

1.  Any campaign piece that starts off with the words “Karl Rove” automatically deserves a double red flag.

2.  The Washington Post wants us to believe that Bush and Rove aren’t on the same page when it comes to anything political?  …All this time and WAPO still can’t read a misdirection play?


3.  An “off-the-record” lunch?  And Bush just happened to leave an impression … with reporters!.  Okay, perhaps I can interest you in some mortgage stocks?

4. A Bush expresses admiration for a Clinton?  In fact, Bush expresses admiration, period?

5. What’s this about ‘Thinking how to turn things over’??  Does anyone believe Karl (of the famed “permanent majority” obsession) gives up easily?  The wingnut Executive branch is already rigged like a political IED.

Amidst the Machiavellian stench, is it possible the WAPO blogger didn’t realize he was had for lunch?  I mean, he couldn’t tell from Rudy’s jump-the-gun Hillary attack ad that the Repugs are just salivating to run against Hillary, and that Bush/Rove was simply lending more weight to Clinton’s (media-given) air of inevitability?  Sheesh, Bush was even reported to mention Obama’s “inexperience in high office and national campaigning.”

(It gets even crazier, too.  In the next post, when Bush is asked who he likes on the Republican side, the blogger, in reference to Dubya, states:  “He’s not saying, of course, respecting the tradition of presidential neutrality until the nomination is settled.”  Even more Hil-arious is the post two entries later (“Can Hillary Be Stopped?) which is actually critical of the press for lending Clinton that air of inevitability.)

But then, I almost forgot the photo.

The first hint something is off involves the caption: “President Bush told a group of broadcasters that he was impressed with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.”  That’s great, where are the broadcasters? Rear left we have a legislative aid, former Chief of Staff Andy Card, former Sen. George “Macaca” Allen, and Sen. John Warner.  … But then, didn’t Card split about a year ago, and wasn’t Allen ridden out of town on a rail?

A little checking, though, makes more sense of the contents of the image — although not the caption or the context.  It seems that WAPO, probably after a two minute search on the terms “George Bush, Hillary Clinton” in the AP archive, came up with this six-year-old photo actually taken at the White House a mere two days after the 9/11 attacks.

By using the image out of context, WAPO suckers us on any number of levels:

Of course, the picture leads us to believe that the shot, having something to do with that lunch, practically happened yesterday.

In contrast to Bush’s scorched earth tendencies when it comes to bipartisanship or cooperation of practically any kind, the proximity of Dubya and Clinton reinforces the manipulation that Clinton, with Bush’s assent, is that much closer to stopping by the White House for the keys.

Most paradoxically and hypocritically, the photo is used (by the WH via the press) to give Clinton an election-year boost when the actual historical reference here is more closely associated with Clinton’s biggest political liability, which was catering to Bush in voting (a year later) to authorize the war.

(image: Eric Draper/White House.  September 13, 2001. Washington, D.C. whitehouse.gov)

  • lytom

    Empty bowl, roses, pink scarf…
    “Earnest and pained expression” by the rising dictator trying to fake that he is doing all he can after 911.
    4 fascinated witnesses with smiles at the performance.
    Taking into account that this picture was taken 2 days after 911, it was a good performance! Democrats voted for war on Iraq!
    Going to the present time. They still do!!! and they don’t seem to be able to think past phrase “support our troops.” Now comes a new talking point given the situation “US just cannot abandon Iraq and let the chaos in!” Yes, don’t forget it is about oil and national security and terrorists coming to US…. It seems the long term stay occupation has been bought…

  • http://www.sherrychandler.com Bluegrass Poet

    I sort of thought the whole thing was meant to hurt Hillary with her base by indicating that she is George Bush’s heir and will continue his policies — the last thing her base wants.
    So this cuts many ways, doesn’t it?
    And here we thought Karl was castrated. Never happens. Never.
    Thanks for taking this on. I was wondering why nobody did. Especially the intimate photograph.

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    Wow, good catch, especially the blantantly misleading photo!!
    The whole spinning of Hillary on the right completely confuses me. I don’t know whether it will really affect Democratic primary voters, but it sure raises a host of strategic possibilities. Strange business.

  • KingElvis

    Yes. The this photo is blatantly misleading. They could at least have a caption saying when it was taken.
    I’m absolutely puzzled by Hill’s poll numbers. I don’t think she’s at all charming – add to that her status as a right leaning Dem who was wrong on Iraq – jeez what’s to like? Is it women who are all clamoring to have a woman president?

  • Doctor Jay

    I think they are all misunderestimating Hillary. But I think the guy they don’t want to face is actually Edwards, because he has that “Southern” thing down. And as a trial lawyer, he won’t be afraid to go into the den of the Nemean lion.

  • http://home.comcast.net/~sfs73/index.html MonsieurGonzo

    => Top Dems See 10-Year Iraq War Even if They Win
    while there are a handful of Americans who are just now coming to terms with the clarifying distinction that IRAQ is not a ‘War’ per se, something that can be won or lost, rather ~ it is an ‘Occupation’ that we can choose to do or not to do…
    …the fog lifts a little and what we see is ourselves as occupiers, no Old Glory, thus ~ ruling nothing, really: a landscape of rubble. The candidates are all talking “change the scene” with the nonchalance of some Extreme Makeover fantasy or episode of Flip This House on their empTeeVees, but no one, folks, is talking about ending The Occupation
    …save a few fools like Ron Paul or Dennis Kucinich, relegated to Court Jester clowns, yelling: but, the King has no clothes!
    Slowly it dawns on this handful of what, “early realizers?” (people ahead of the curve, such as here on the BAG) that, given we be in this ‘war’ biz for the forseeable future then what we need is a genuine War Leader : who can, at least, manage the mess AND the message.
    The obvious adults, Hagel, Bloomberg, Wes Clark ~ thay ain’t running, babe.
    Republicans? Giuliani “has the moral character of that white undertaker across town who sells caskets at inflated prices and burial plots down by the river flood-plain to the negroes.” Romney, the Mormon = Totally Corporate Man. “He’s not Hillary,” true ~ but who/what speaks from inside that bespoke suit??
    and Thompson is another dumb-as-a-post, slow-talkin’, droolin’ / drawlin’ while chawin’ southern caricature ~ appealing to all the alienated / angry working-class Lowest-Common-Denominator I wannabe A Man! men who keep pullin’ that lever for Daddy WarBucks “because Democrats are sissy white-collar college kids!” only to have it shoved up their asses six months later as they get laid off ~ outsourced or replaced by immigrants — or blown up serving AIPAC + OPEC as “patrol until shot at then call in the airstrike bait” in some hideously expensive military occupation in some fucking desert wasteland OilHole.
    You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and You. Will. Atone! (Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale?)
    Democrats? Hillary is not “Bubba Clinton II” in my opinion ~ Hillary is totally beholden to the => AIPAC; she’s their candidate. i predict she will screw all the women who pull the Hillary lever (just like the frustrated men who “see themselves” in someone like, say ~ a Fred Thompson) because Hillary’s legacy will probably be that woman, the warmonger :-/
    Edwards… oh, come on! for President?!! maybe a Vice-President, yes?
    Obama ..!
    So, this is my (typically long-winded :) way of saying:
    the BAGman’s image du jour? cherchez pas la femme, mais pour le chef de guerre.
    YouTube => U2, Nothing Changes, New Year’s Day.

  • Mona

    Now you are beginning to read the papers like a true Arab Michael! There is nothing in Arab print that is not there for a reason – I am impressed though with the fluency of your logic. It is not easy to parse the parallel narrative.

  • Mona

    Now you are beginning to read the papers like a true Arab Michael! There is nothing in Arab print that is not there for a reason – I am impressed though with the fluency of your logic. It is not easy to parse the parallel narrative.

  • Mona

    Now you are beginning to read the papers like a true Arab Michael! There is nothing in Arab print that is not there for a reason – I am impressed though with the fluency of your logic. It is not easy to parse the parallel narrative.

  • Asta

    So why was Bush in conference with Senator Clinton on 9/13/01? Where was the rest of the Senate?
    Sometimes I wonder….

  • margaret

    The “inevitable” candidacy of Hillary Clinton, as “declared” by KKKarl Rove, the Prez, and the Media just represents propaganda designed to make citizens feel hopeless and helpless against the powers that cannot be seen. It’s hard to fight this major mendacity. But, if Clinton is maneuvered into the candidacy by chicanery and “mind-control” and not by her virtues (if she has any, I haven’t seen them), then, I will not vote for her and I will write-in John Edwards’ name as a protest. And, I will register as an Independent and never vote Democratic, again, as long as I live. The whole process and most of the people who are part of it disgust me. (Sorry for the rant.)

  • tina

    Edwards, for God’s sake, it has to be Edwards. For calling Ann Coulter out on her toxic rudeness and making her literally pay, if nothing else. He’s got the right stuff, and the more I see of him the better I like him. And his wife has been a class act all her own. Watching the Repubs show their true colors, being vicious to her by talking about how she’s “using” her cancer will be fun, because it will backfire so totally.
    If Hil runs it will be Repub conspiracy. Are the Dems really nuts enough to run Bill Clinton’s wife???

  • Cactus

    There are so many ways in which this photo and caption are wrong my head is spinning. One would almost think that there is some collusion between WAPO (et al.) and the administration and Rove. Especially in light of today’s news that the admin. is holding “seminars” on how not to report on wire-tapping and eavesdropping shenanigans of the bushies. Looks like the WAPO blogger has decided that the media has elected Hillary. Unfortunately, he may be right. Everywhere I go (in mixed company) and everything I listen to I hear people overwhelmingly favor Edwards, with a few Obama and Kucinich. Hardly a mention of Hillary. Sounds to me like the establishment (including NYT and WAPO) wants Hillary because of her high negatives (even among democrats and women) and they think they can beat her by re-running Bill’s presidency. POC. Especially when they are running a campaign based on hate. However, Edwards could carry the south and the west as well as the traditional blue states. As Sumner Redstone said, republicans are better for business. Apparently he hasn’t looked around lately because most of the businesses have left; even the farmers have moved to Mexico. But then I suppose he was only referring to HIS business.
    M.Gonzo, I must correct you: Dennis Kucinich is nobody’s fool. In fact he is smart as a tack. People tend to underestimate him because he DOES speak the truth no matter what. He is also short, a cruel fact of nature that the establishment and voting public will not forgive.

  • http://justbetweenstrangers.blogspot.com/ acm

    Asta wrote:
    So why was Bush in conference with Senator Clinton on 9/13/01? Where was the rest of the Senate?
    um, he’s clearly meeting with a group of Senators, of which we can see three (and there are likely to be more behind Clinton’s profile). not much to work up a conspiracy theory about there…

  • arty

    The conspiracy element needs more of an answer than that. Try: it was the Oval Office, and there wasn’t enough room for all of them.
    Too conceptual? Try this: it’s two days after the attacks. Planes crashed in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Shown are a senator from New York, and the two senators from Virginia. Does it start to sink in?

  • Gahso

    How is WAPO held accountable for this? This is blantant misrepresentation.
    The looks on the faces of Warner and Macaca are amazing – “You sell it, Georgie boy. You’re the ballsy-est mofo..”
    .. and the truth be told, he is ballsy. Steal an election, then attack New York City and the Pentagon, destroy the Constitution, set a pre-emtive war precident… where does this end?

  • KansasKowboy

    Karl Rove and Bush just want to frighten the donors to the Republican party that Hillary just might be the Democratic candidate for the Presidency. To republicans Hillary is the greatest evil there is (again thanks to GOP propaganda). The Republican candidates are lagging behind in donations for the campaign. This “Hillary-will-be-the-one campaign” is just a ruse to get the republican donors to send more bucks to the republican candidates.

  • cr8vwave

    Hillary’s disdain is evident. Sure, her lips are playing host to a slightly upturned look – one typical of a person bemused by a story (or someone else’s idiocy) – but her eyes tell all.
    Uber-relaxed they hint at the violent berating she’s giving Bush from in her head. “Stupid, stupid man.” “Spoiled little brat.” “F-u, f-u, f-u!” Could it be that she has the ability to beat the whole lot at their own game by playing dumber? If so, good for her and anyone supporting her.
    And who cares what Bush had to say about her? Or how he ACTED in her presence? That is, after all, why it’s called an act. “Off the record” my foot. Anything OFF the record wouldn’t be ON record and available for public consumption.
    Bush can’t WAIT to turn the whole mess over to someone else. Of course he’s excited! This is like H.S. graduation for him. He’s gearing up for prom night. He can taste his freedom. Hell, he thinks he may just get laid in the end! He’s the guy who broke the Ming vase and bought a replacement before his parents found out. Who wouldn’t be happy about that??!!

  • http://www.groupnewsblog.net Hubris Sonic

    Nice post. Great dismantling of a truly bad story typically from the WAPO

  • demit

    The sycophantic smiles on the men in the background are priceless. Well, except for the guy on the end, whom I don’t recognize. Maybe he thought he was out of the frame and didn’t have to perform an act of idolatry for the camera. At any rate, a ringer. Andrew Card’s lovesick puppy gaze is just, um, eww.
    Hillary is not smiling with her eyes. The mouth says oh, haha, that’s a funny joke you just told, but the eyes are saying You Are Such A Dick. I want her to explain why she was savvy enough to see through George Bush then, but was, gosh, so completely taken in by his warmongering one year later.

  • MonsieurGonzo

    ref : “M.Gonzo, I must correct you: Dennis Kucinich is nobody’s fool. In fact he is smart as a tack. People tend to underestimate him because he DOES speak the truth no matter what…”
    hmmm… i thought that’s exactly what i was saying, Cactus; obviously, too clever by half :(
    The Jester character is (to my mind) a kind of ‘designated fool’ and is the only member of Court, thus allowed to speak truth to power = The King = the people, in a Democracy, fwiw.
    perhaps i should have written, “Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich have been marginalized as fools’ candidates for advocating ASAP ending the occupation of IRAQ.” …the inference shifted from “Kucinich is a fool” to the supporters of Kucinich are labeled as fools by the groupthink dKos/Democratic Party “Me, Too!” mob, because he is presumed un-electable.
    at any rate, anyone who bothered to click on the link = Dennis Kucinich in the post would have discovered not a picture of the man, but the woman Kucinich (and any man holding hands with a woman like that ~ in my humble opinion ~ is worth a second look :)

  • Cactus

    M.Gonzo: Too-shay!

Refresh Archives

Random Notes