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Friday, February 27, 2004

Headline of the day:

Look at this Reuters story: Bush to Limit Interview with 9/11 Panel to an Hour

Excerpt:
The panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States will get one hour to ask President Bush what he knew about events leading up to the suicide airline hijackings, the White House said on Friday.

"They are looking at an hour as you pointed out," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said when asked by a reporter whether he could confirm reports that Bush was limiting the meeting to an hour.
Can you believe it? First of all, it's foolish to stand by a specific time period. It would have been better politics to say something like, "as much time as the president can spare," instead of "one hour". And "one hour"? An easy to belittle amount. People spend more time in line getting a driver's license renewed.

Bush has spent many, many hours fund-raising (and traveling to fund-raisers). And don't forget, Bush has spent lots of time on vacation. Like the month-long one just before 9/11. This is amazingly bad politics.

From a Washington Post story by Mike Allen from August 7, 2001:
CRAWFORD, Tex., Aug. 6 -- By the time President Bush returns to Washington on Labor Day after the longest presidential vacation in 32 years, he will have spent all or part of 54 days since the inauguration at his parched but beloved ranch. That's almost a quarter of his presidency.

Throw in four days last month at his parents' seaside estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, and 38 full or partial days at the presidential retreat at Camp David, and Bush will have spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route.
Okay, it's number-crunching time. Bush was inaugurated on January 21, 2001. Labor day was September 3. The time span was 226 days, or 5424 hours. Take 42% of that, and you have 2278 hours "at vacation spots or en route".

Let's graphically compare Bush's one hour planned for the commission against the time he spent having fun prior to 9/11. Here it is:


TECHNICAL CLARIFICATION: In our initial post, we calculated in haste. We were too favorable to Bush! We figured 42% of the time from inaguration to August 6 (the date of the article) and came up with 1975 hours Bush was "at vacation spots or en route". But Mike Allen was reporting that Bush will have been away 42% of the time by Labor Day of that year, which was September 3. That comes out to 2278 hours .
And we read:
Rather than sitting down with all 10 members of the so-called 9/11 commission, Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have only agreed to meet privately with its chairman, Thomas Kean, and the vice chairman, Lee Hamilton.
Does this mean an hour for both Bush and Cheney?

We'll find out.

UPDATE: On the Yahoo message board associated with this story, we encountered the following post:
HE'LL PROBLY SHOW UP IN HIS FLIGHT SUIT
by: cveparts 02/27/04 01:01 pm       Msg: 812 of 1417       30 recommendations

CARRYING HIS PLASTIC TURKEY.WRAPPED IN THE "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" BANNER.
Folks are getting angry.



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