In Argentina, the president takes questions but doesn't answer

Asked about Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and his own political woes, Bush keeps changing the subject.


Tim Grieve
November 4, 2005 11:13PM (UTC)

It seems like we were saying just a few hours ago that, even as George W. Bush is off visiting South America, political problems are continuing to mount for him back home. That wasn't exactly accurate. It would have been better to say that, even as George W. Bush is off visiting South America, his political problems have gone along for the ride.

The president took five questions from the traveling press pool at the Sheraton Hotel in Mar del Plata, Argentina, today. One of the questions had something to do with Venezuela. The rest were about Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and the troubles the president is facing as a result of their efforts to leak the identity of Valerie Plame.

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Not surprisingly, Bush didn't have much in the way of answers.

The AP's Nedra Pickler started things off by asking Bush whether Rove had told him the truth about the Plame case and whether the president owed the American people an apology for those White House assurances that Rove and Libby hadn't been involved. Bush said he wouldn't talk about the case during the course of a "serious investigation," then he tried to change the subject to the war on terror, the economy, hurricanes and Sam Alito.

The next reporter asked the president what he's going to do to recover from the "beating" he has taken in recent weeks, whether there will be staff changes at the White House and whether it would help if Patrick Fitzgerald would wrap up his investigation soon. The president again declined to answer on the grounds that a "serious investigation" is continuing, then tried to change the subject to the war on terror.

Next up, a reporter asked if there were discussions within the White House about the status of Rove's future employment there. The president declined to answer, saying that "the investigation on Karl, as you know, is not complete" and that he wouldn't talk about the case until it is.

The reporter followed up with a question about new polling that shows the president's approval rating -- and his reputation for honesty -- continuing to head south. The president again talked about the war on terror, the economy, hurricanes and Sam Alito.


Tim Grieve

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

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