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A New Moment of Truth for Bush

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Disagreeable

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Will he be up to it?

Excerpts; link below; my emphasis.

"House Government Reform Committee Chairman Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) was stinging, saying he was "very disappointed in Libby, and the White House, and the vice president and the president."

"They should have taken care of this a long time ago," Davis said in an interview. "They should have done their own investigation. They're going to get very little sympathy on Capitol Hill, at least from me. . . . They brought this on themselves."

"The question now facing the embattled president is whether he will use this moment of vulnerability to reflect on what has gone wrong this year and why, and then look for ways to regain his effectiveness."

"But there is little way for administration officials to adopt the pose of business as usual with Libby under indictment. His departure from the White House staff removes a critically important player in the office of the most powerful vice president in the nation's history. His absence will put additional strain on a White House staff already suffering from fatigue, as the botched Supreme Court nomination of Miers and the response to Hurricane Katrina have demonstrated."

"But Bush is hardly immune from the problems that now surround his presidency. David C. King, associate director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, said the president might benefit from a public admission of mistakes on his watch. "He can at least give the appearance of being open to criticism and being willing to change," especially in light of the fact that "there is a larger question in this administration of whether there is willingness to hear dissent," King said."

"John D. Podesta, who was chief of staff to Clinton, said Bush may be more constrained by his troubles than Clinton was by his. Noting that Clinton's approval ratings remained above 60 percent throughout the impeachment battle, while Bush's are in the low 40s, Podesta said, "When Clinton said, 'I'm going back to do my work,' people cheered," Podesta said. "When Bush says, 'I'm going to do the job I've been doing,' people say, 'Oh, no.' "

"Given that reality, it may be difficult for Bush to regain the credibility he enjoyed earlier in his presidency with regard to the war on terrorism. "I very much doubt they will be able to repair the damage," said Tom De Luca, a professor of political science at Fordham University. "Once you lose credibility, it's almost impossible to get it back."

"More than Bush's credibility is on the line. White House officials face questions about their blanket denials that anyone in the White House was involved in the Plame affair, statements that now appear at odds with the facts."

"They wanted the president to restore honor and integrity to the White House," Shays said. "Whatever agenda the president wants to pursue, if he hasn't reestablished a strong ethical standard, he's going to fail. . . . Americans don't like to be lied to."

That sums up the challenge ahead for the president. Whether this leads to changes that begin to put the administration back on track is now squarely in Bush's hands."


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/28/AR2005102802150.html?sub=AR
 

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