It makes all of us a little crazy, actually

White House: Bush strategist turned critic is just a little whacked out because his kid is serving in Iraq.

Published April 2, 2007 8:04PM (EDT)

Former Bush-Cheney strategist Matthew Dowd went public this weekend with a more detailed and devastating version of the critique he's offered of his old bosses previously. In a New York Times interview, Dowd says that the president is "secluded" and "bubbled in," and that John Kerry -- the man Dowd helped Bush beat in 2004 -- was actually right about Iraq.

So how is the White House responding? By suggesting that Dowd is a little unbalanced. Gumption, sure, but that's nothing until you get to one of the reasons the White House is pushing for Dowd's alleged undoing: Unlike any current senior administration official, he's got a son serving in Iraq.


Believe it. Here's the transcript from today's White House press briefing:

Reporter: Just going to seek your comments on the Matthew Dowd interview over the weekend.

Dana Perino: I don't know Matthew Dowd. I wish I did. I have heard nothing but fabulous things about him over the years. I know people are very fond of him. Obviously, war brings out a lot of emotions in different people, and possibly changing emotions, as he laid out in the New York Times. And, obviously, not being a close friend of his, I don't know as well as others might about the personal journey he's been on over the past couple of years. But we certainly can respect his views, but respectfully disagree with some of the assertions that he made in the article ...

Reporter: What does that mean, personal journey?

Perino: Well, I think that he's had some personal hardship, and also he has a son who's volunteered to serve in our armed forces and he's going to be deploying to Iraq. And I can only imagine that that affects a parent's thinking ...

Reporter: He's raised "personal journey," which was used yesterday, as well, on television -- it seems to be implying it's really all about him, it has nothing to do with any legitimate disagreement with the White House.

Perino: No, I think he has a legitimate disagreement, but I also know that he has had some personal hardship.

Reporter: Is that related? Is that relevant?

Perino: I don't know. I don't know Matthew and --

Reporter: Then why do you bring it up?

Perino: Well, I think that -- he brought it up in the article, and I think that it's relevant. And I think that it's true that when you have a parent who is going to see his or her son or daughter heading off to war, in a war that is -- where we are fighting a very determined enemy, in which the Congress is not fully backing the troops, it would be a concern. And I'm just not going to judge him. I'm going to allow him to have his views and wish him well.

By Tim Grieve

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

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