Five questions for the president

Variations on a theme: What did he know, when did he know it and what is he going to do about it now?

Published November 2, 2005 9:01PM (EST)

At a press conference in April 2004, a reporter asked George W. Bush to identify the biggest mistake he'd made since 9/11 and to describe the lessons he'd learned from it. The president couldn't come up with anything. "I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it," he said.

Well, here you go.

The president hasn't scheduled his next press conference just yet, but Washington Post White House correspondent Peter Baker has already set forth, in writing, some of the questions he'd like to ask when he does. Dan Froomkin called them to our attention, and -- just in case the president is reading -- we're reprinting them here:

1. Did Karl Rove tell you the truth about the CIA leak, and did you tell the American people the truth?

2. A variant: What did you know and when did you know it?

3. You promised in your first campaign to clean up Washington. "In my administration," you told voters in Pittsburgh in October 2000, "we will ask not only what is legal but what is right, not what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves." Do you think your White House has lived up to that standard in this episode?

4. You promised to fire anyone involved in the leak, and your spokesman said anyone involved would no longer work in the administration. Last week's indictment makes clear that "Official A," identified as Karl Rove, was involved. Are you going to fire Karl Rove?

5. Even giving Scooter Libby the benefit of the doubt legally, do you approve of the conduct that has now been documented?

There are the questions, Mr. President. Perhaps you can start planning for them now.

By Tim Grieve

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

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