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Day June 29, 2004

Bush Unscripted on Ireland’s RTE ONE

It’s hard to really understand how scripted and controlled White House press coverage is without a standard for comparison. Fortunately, Carole Coleman, the Washington correspondent for Ireland’s RTE, was given an exclusive interview with President Bush prior to his visit. It’s worth watching because you can see how Bush responds when asked hard-nosed questions by someone who was believes that’s what journalists do. Bush immediately becomes testy and upset, asking that he be allowed to finish his answers rather than moving on to a new question. The look on his face in several instances is distinctly angry.

In my personal opinion, Coleman wasn’t disrespectful, as has apparently been claimed. She tried to ask questions and follow-ups, and Bush gave long, rambling answers to every question, and disliked having an interviewer control the interview. I’m the wrong person to ask, of course, because I’ve never been impressed with the President’s public speaking abilities, but it does seem to me that he got ruffled and irritated quickly given tough questions.

A commenter on Indymedia.ie (Benny), said:

Wow…the way Bush handled himself was impressive, if folks in the US saw this interview they would naturally side with the president and be impressed with how the commander in chief handled the barrage of interjections and emotionally charged rhetoric. The fact that he did this interview was a HUGE courtesy to the people of Ireland. This wasn’t shown in the US, so it wasn’t to chase after Irish-american votes, however if they do see it, it won’t do his prospects any harm at all.

I couldn’t disagree more. I think people on both sides of the aisle would find Bush’s performance rude and undignified, unbecoming of our leader and chief representative on the world stage.

Is it just me, or are Bush and Cheney losing patience with critics?

Here’s the RTSP link for the interview (RealPlayer). If it doesn’t work clicking directly on the link, copy the shortcut and open it within the File menu of the RealPlayer. The interview starts at 20 minutes 40 seconds into the broadcast, and continues to 31:25 minutes. Indymedia Ireland also has an MP3 of the interview posted.