What's the frequency, Kenneth?

George W. Bush is looking for Bianca. Where's Jeff Gannon when you need him?

Published September 22, 2005 6:37PM (EDT)

At the beginning of a press briefing at the Pentagon today, George W. Bush took a few relatively tough questions about Hurricane Rita, the administration's failure to capture Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, what he's going to cut to pay for Hurricane Katrina and why it's taking so long to secure Iraq's border with Syria. Just as it seemed that the president needed the breather that a friendly, Jeff Gannon-style query might provide, Bush called for a question from someone named Bianca.

There was silence.

"Nobody named Bianca?" Bush asked. "Well, sorry Bianca's not here. I'll be glad to answer her question."

When another reporter -- someone who wasn't Bianca -- offered to ask a question in her stead, Bush said he was "just trying to spread the joy around of asking a question." A minute or two after that, a female reporter tried to put a question to the president.

"Are you Bianca?" Bush asked.

"No I'm not," she said, "Anita -- from Fox News."

"OK," Bush said. "I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry."

Update: According to a White House pool report posted by Wonkette, the president's Bianca is Bianca Davie of Bloomberg News. Davie was in the room when Bush called out to her, but she didn't respond, Wonkette says, because she didn't have a question for the president. That wasn't the end of it for the commander in chief, however. Appearing a short while later with Jordan's King Abdullah II, Bush told reporters: "Hey, the king wants to know if Bianca is here."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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