Harriet Miers on Bush, Ashcroft, 9/11 and Barney

She may not have much of a legal paper trail, but Miers has had lots to say in "Ask the White House."


Tim Grieve
October 3, 2005 9:58PM (UTC)

Harriet Miers may not have written a lot of law review articles, Supreme Court briefs or judicial decisions, but that's not to say that she doesn't have a paper trail: As George W. Bush's staff secretary and deputy chief of staff for policy, she has written extensively for the "Ask the White House" feature that appears on the White House Web site.

Amid questions about Barney the First Dog and the kind of clock that sits in the Oval Office, Miers has answered queries about virtually every policy initiative of the Bush administration. Her answers, written and posted in something approaching real time, show Miers to be a reliable if sometimes ineloquent mouthpiece for all the usual Bush administration talking points: We're better off than we were four years ago, we're fighting terrorism and promoting freedom abroad, and we're leaving no child behind at home. Oh, and George W. Bush? He's a really, really, really good president.

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Here's a sampling:

Oct. 29, 2004: Miers advocated drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, insisted that the administration is "sowing the seeds of freedom" in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to bring "the goal of peace for all nations ever closer," and dismissed concerns over the lack of funding for the president's "No Child Left Behind" plan as the result of "a great deal of misinformation out there."

Oct. 14, 2004: When a writer suggested that Bush's tax cuts and other policies were aimed at helping big business more than "ordinary Americans," Miers said that she hoped the writer would "spend some time learning about what the president really has done for the American people, in tax relief and so many other ways." When another writer asked why Bush is "restricting federal funding on embryonic stem cell research," Miers said: "You should start from the premise that the president supports promising medical research."

Sept. 10, 2004: Miers defended the administration's efforts to draw links between Iraq and 9/11, said she appreciates "the president's calm, strong leadership" and declared that it would be a "great idea" to turn Sept. 11 into a national holiday. Miers said she was with Bush on 9/11, helping him prepare the remarks he would deliver from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, and she remembers that Bush praised her by saying, "Good hustle." "He made me feel good that I was contributing," she said. When a writer said that the United States is in "a struggle for civilization and the survival of the free world against anarchism and barbarism" and a "fight to preserve our way of life against extremists who would return us to the Dark Ages," Miers thanked him for expressing himself "so wonderfully." "I certainly agree with you," she said. "As I said before, we will persevere and we will not relent."

Aug. 11, 2004: Asked about her job at the White House, Miers said her principal responsibility is to "coordinate policy development for the administration." She praised Bush's staff and singled out Andy Card for leading it in a "remarkable" way. "You may have seen him on TV," Miers wrote. "He is from Boston. He does not have a Texas accent like me." She said that then Attorney General John Ashcroft was doing "an outstanding job." And she explained that metal horseshoes are "too heavy for Barney to lift, so he doesn't carry them around. Instead he moves them around with his nose."


Tim Grieve

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

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