The Washington Post said the other day that after losing big in this month's midterm elections, George W. Bush has been delivering a "message" of "conciliation."
It's not true as a general matter -- yes, Bush sent Donald Rumsfeld packing, but he has also renominated John Bolton and a slate of extremist judges and rejected, out of hand, talk of withdrawal from Iraq -- and it's certainly not true as far as Sen.-elect Jim Webb is concerned.
As the Hill reports, Bush and Webb had words with each other recently at a White House reception for newly elected lawmakers. Bush asked Webb about his son, a Marine serving in Iraq. A source who heard about the conversation from Webb says he responded by saying that he really wanted to see his son brought back home. Bush reportedly snipped back: "I didn't ask you that. I asked you how he's doing."
The source says Webb, a Vietnam vet, was tempted to slug Bush in response but chose discretion over valor instead.
The White House won't comment on the frank exchange. Webb's spokeswoman confirms only that the two men had a "private conversation" in which Webb said that he wanted to see his son home.
Update: The Washington Post is up with a slightly different version of the Webb-Bush exchange. Things start the same way in the Post's telling, but the Post has Webb responding to Bush's initial question by saying, "I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President." Bush responds: "That's not what I asked you. How's your boy?" Webb's response, in the Post's version: "That's between me and my boy, Mr. President."