Also, Pardons Were Granted To Staffers ‘Not Me’ And ‘Ida Know’

Ex-Bush aide takes blame for ‘Mission Accomplished’

Bush delivered a speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003.

(CNN) – It’s a moment President Bush has repeatedly called a mistake: Delivering a speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Spring of 2003 with a “Mission Accomplished” banner featured prominently behind him.

But the much-maligned photo-op wasn’t the president’s fault at all, according to former White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett.

Bartlett, currently a political analyst with CBS, said Tuesday he was the one who actually gave the final go-ahead of the event.

“Quite frankly, yours truly was the guy who actually signed off,” he said Tuesday. “I regret it to this day, because it did send the wrong message.”

In his final press conference Monday, Bush immediately cited the moment when asked by a reporter what mistakes he had made over the last eight years.

“Clearly, putting a ‘mission accomplished’ on an aircraft carrier was a mistake,” he said. “We were trying to say something differently but, nevertheless, it conveyed a different message.”

Bush has also previously defended the banner as pertaining to the mission of the crew on board the Aircraft carrier, not the Iraqi invasion as a whole.

Still, Bartlett credited Bush Tuesday for not blaming his staff for the misstep.

“[That’s] why he endears so much loyalty from people like myself and others who had worked for him,” Bartlett said.

Um, heh.

Let’s just go totally hypothetical here. Let’s imagine a world in which news organizations such as CNN are routinely outmatched in historical memory by liberal comedy blogs.

Because it seems as though this story used to be told a bit differently, doesn’t it? Here’s where ‘White House officials’ stood on the matter as of May 16th, 2003:

Keepers of Bush Image Lift Stagecraft to New Heights

WASHINGTON, May 15 — George W. Bush’s “Top Gun” landing on the deck of the carrier Abraham Lincoln will be remembered as one of the most audacious moments of presidential theater in American history. But it was only the latest example of how the Bush administration, going far beyond the foundations in stagecraft set by the Reagan White House, is using the powers of television and technology to promote a presidency like never before.


The most elaborate — and criticized — White House event so far was Mr. Bush’s speech aboard the Abraham Lincoln announcing the end of major combat in Iraq. White House officials say that a variety of people, including the president, came up with the idea, and that [Scott Sforza, a former ABC producer who worked for Dan Bartlett] embedded himself on the carrier to make preparations days before Mr. Bush’s landing in a flight suit and his early evening speech.

Media strategists noted afterward that Mr. Sforza and his aides had choreographed every aspect of the event, even down to the members of the Lincoln crew arrayed in coordinated shirt colors over Mr. Bush’s right shoulder and the “Mission Accomplished” banner placed to perfectly capture the president and the celebratory two words in a single shot. The speech was specifically timed for what image makers call “magic hour light,” which cast a golden glow on Mr. Bush.

But then we learned that this must all have been some kind of crazy, elaborate fib, for the fault belonged to the crew of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln:

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary

October 28, 2003

President Holds Press Conference
Press Conference by the President
The Rose Garden


Q: Mr. President, if I may take you back to May 1st when you stood on the USS Lincoln under a huge banner that said, “Mission Accomplished.” At that time you declared major combat operations were over, but since that time there have been over 1,000 wounded, many of them amputees who are recovering at Walter Reed, 217 killed in action since that date. Will you acknowledge now that you were premature in making those remarks?

THE PRESIDENT: Nora, I think you ought to look at my speech. I said, Iraq is a dangerous place and we’ve still got hard work to do, there’s still more to be done. And we had just come off a very successful military operation. I was there to thank the troops.

The “Mission Accomplished” sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed some how to some ingenious advance man from my staff — they weren’t that ingenious, by the way.

Neither was Scott McClellan, as it were:

Bush Steps Away From Victory Banner
October 29, 2003


After the news conference, the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, carefully elaborated on the president’s words.

The banner ”was suggested by those on the ship,” he said. ”They asked us to do the production of the banner, and we did. They’re the ones who put it up.”

The man responsible for the banner, Scott Sforza, a former ABC producer now with the White House communications office, was traveling overseas on Tuesday and declined to answer questions. He is known for the production of the sophisticated backdrops that appear behind Mr. Bush with the White House message of the day, like ”Helping Small Business,” repeated over and over.

Well, okay. So in a manner of speaking, CNN was correct in reporting that Mr. Bush had repeatedly called the Mission Accomplished banner a mistake.

Maybe one day a mistake will be discovered that is genuinely the fault of President Bush, and if we find one, we’ll be sure to write it down on the Internet so that CNN can include it in a story.


Comments: 38


He’s taking the Mission Accomplished Banner back with him to Texas because, you know, it keeps him and Laura warm at night.


All hat, no cattle.

Full of shit, right to the bitter end.

Santa Claustrophobia

I remember when they announced the invasion of Afghanistan. It seemed to me to be curiously timed to fit in during halftime of that Sunday’s football games. If ever there was an administration poised to take prime advantage of the modern media this was it.

How could it possibly go so wrong? Oh, that’s right… The message sucked.


Buy my bullshit once, shame on you … buy my bullshit twice – STILL shame on you. Gotcha!

Looks like that Shit-Shovel is going to stay welded to his claws right to the bitter end.


[That’s] why he endears so much loyalty
Endears… inspires… using words in a meaningful way is vastly over-rated.
I am shocked, shocked that a man can admit the loyalty he feels to the leader of one political party and still be appointed to the supposedly neutral position of “a political analyst with CBS”.


Also enjoyed Bush’s “I was disappointed there were no WMDs in Iraq” statement at his final pisser. Shouldn’t he have been happy there weren’t any?

Or was he just disappointed that the intel he &/or Cheney had cooked for them wasn’t true?

Five more days. Keep holding your breath & clenching your sphincters, because anything might happen.


And Smut-C, here in the gawd-blessed & very, very special U. S. of A., we have “balance,” which means an incompetent jerk from a failed Democratic admin. is at CBS, sitting on the other end of the see-saw from Bartlett & keeping everything on an even keel.

I am so proud to be an American.


Ah yes, magic hour light. It is indeed special. Archaeologists, when surveying for remains of human occupation, use it to identify and photograph topographic anomalies. In fact, it is said that if one views the Oval Office at just the right angle, at the right time of day, and on the right day of the year, one can still make out the faint outline of a small sign that rested on the President’s desk roughly 60 years ago.


“[That’s] why he endears so much loyalty from people like myself and others who had worked for him,” Bartlett said.

Apparently Bush cock has addictive qualities because his flunkies just can’t spit it out.


the faint outline of a small sign that rested on the President’s desk roughly 60 years ago
That Truman was such an egotist with his “Buck stopping here” business. Everything had to be about him.


Well, Ida Know and Not Me are involved in the cartoon mafia.

It also looks like one of them helped send a minor criminal to Gitmo.

On a serious note, I half expect the bastard to pull a Fletcher and issue blanket pardons to everyone involved.


Jeez, dudes.

You don’t expect the “Party of Personal Responsibility” to ever take the blame for anything, do you?


Well that’s the trouble when you “us(e) the powers of television and technology to promote a presidency like never before.”

Sometimes you end up looking like an ass. Often, in fact.


This is central to my point!

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Because I believed at the time that what Saddam Hussein represented was, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, was a terror-sponsoring state – so designated by the State Department. He was making payments to the families of suicide bombers; he provided a safe haven and sanctuary for Abu Nidal and other terrorist operations. He had produced and used weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological agents. He’d had a nuclear program in the past. He killed hundreds of thousands of his own people and he did have a relationship with al Qaeda. Now, we’ve had this debate, keeps people trying to conflate those arguments. That’s not to say that Saddam was responsible for 9/11; it is to say – as George Tenet, CIA director testified in open session in the Senate – that there was a relationship there that went back 10 years.

Furthermore, we don’t torture, couple of bad apples (heh heh), and besides it was totally worth it, trust me:

As we dig in and look at hundreds of cases, we may well find a few people who were not properly treated. You know, I ran the Pentagon. I know that you can’t absolutely guarantee, at all times, that everybody’s doing it the way they’re supposed to be doing it.

I can tell you what the policy was; I can tell you that we had all the legal authorization to do it, including the sign-off of the Justice Department. I can tell you it produced phenomenal results for us, and that a great many Americans are alive today because we did all that. And I think those are the important considerations.

Stupid Iraqis were to blame for the whole mess (because our reconstruction efforts were flawlesss!):

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, make mistakes – I can think of places where I underestimated things. For example, talking about Iraq, the extent of which the Iraqi population had been beaten down by Saddam Hussein was greater than I anticipated. That is, we thought that the Iraqis would be able to bounce back fairly quickly once Saddam was gone or the new government established and step up and take major responsibilities for governing Iraq, building a military and so forth and that took longer than I expected.


Sorry, I just found out. NOT RICARDO MONTALBAN!!! Come back, Senor Montalban!! Quien es mas mach, Senor Lamas, o Senor Montalban? SENOR MONTALBAN!

Oh, I’m in mourning. Bush be damned. Well, Bush be damned regardless, but still.


Here’s how Bartlett put it in an interview with Texas Monthly one year ago (brackets in the original):

Me personally, [I regret] the “Mission Accomplished” banner. I wish I could have back the decision to sign off on that. I think the intent behind it to this day holds true. “Mission Accomplished” was the motto of the aircraft carrier that had just spent ten months in a war zone both in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we wanted to celebrate what they had done. But it left a wrong impression symbolically with the American people that our work was done in Iraq, and obviously that wasn’t the case.

But for me the good stuff comes earlier in the interview, in the discussion of media and access to the White House (again, brackets in the original; ellipses as well).

What about the blogs?

We had to set up a whole new apparatus to deal with the challenges they pose. Are they real journalists? The Washington Post, for example, has journalists who are now bloggers. Do you treat them as bloggers? Do they get credentials?

Let’s think of it as a practical matter. If one of those journalists-turned-bloggers, Chris Cillizza, e-mails you to say he needs an interview, and at the same time one of the Post’s print reporters—say, Dan Balz—e-mails you and says he needs an interview, and you can do only one . . .


Because the print edition of the Post has more of an impact?

Because Balz is on multiple platforms. He’s booked more easily on television. He’s read by more people. He influences people a bit more. Now, the question might not be as much Chris versus Dan as maybe, “Is it Dan Balz or one of the guys at [the conservative blog] Power Line?”

Yeah, or what if [conservative blogger] Hugh Hewitt called?

That’s when you start going, “Hmm . . .” Because they do reach people who are influential.

Well, they reach the president’s base.

That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.

Sadly, No!’s mission not necessarily accomplished—eternal vigilance, the sun rises in the east and sets deeply in the west, and all that—but certainly validated.


Yeah, Montalban. He could do anything.
Well, at least where he is he doesn’t have to look at Bush obfuscating his patrician keister off.


No, I was just last night informed via email complaining about my own blogging that the sky is indeed falling via Muslims living in Western countries. All of our missions must start anew.

a different mikey

Way back there in the nineties one could drive around New Mexico and there would be road signs cueing you to another bit of New Mexico history on the AM radio, read by RICARDO MONTALBAN. I just kept it tuned to that station and he would fade in and out of the ether with tales of the Olde West.

Does he live there still, haunting the byways of NM with that corinthian leather accent?


Deeeeep in the Dark Matter…


First Patrick McGoohan, and now Señor Montalban!? Man, this week fuckin’ sucks.


It’s the “I didn’t do it boy” Presidency


Also enjoyed Bush’s “I was disappointed there were no WMDs in Iraq” statement at his final pisser. Shouldn’t he have been happy there weren’t any?

That occured to me too, while listening cringingly to his presser.


What I love is that his “biggest” mistake was a photo-op that turned our wrong. Not policy, or some actual behavior on his part. The only thing that went wrong was the directing.

For fuck’s sake, that’s like if a doctor killed half his patients and then said the biggest mistake he made was the horrible color he painted the waiting room.

Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist

“[That’s] why he endears so much loyalty from people like myself and others who had worked for him,” Bartlett said.

Is endearing loyalty like espousing CO2?

I’d have an easier time accepting Bush’s explanations for things if they didn’t all follow several other contradictory explanations of the same things.

There are still a few days to go – I can’t wait to see what acts of gobsmacking chutzpah still remain in the Bush admin!

Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist

It also looks like one of them helped send a minor criminal to Gitmo.

I think the creature in that strip is the “Grimace” McDonaldland character.

Geesh, I’m such a suburbanite 1970s TV-head.


The Partner has been regailing me with the lowlights of Cheney’s speech, to which the P had the intestinal fortitude to listen and I did not. I can’t tolerate the very sound of Cheney’s and Bush’s voices anymore, and prefer to hear the lies and nonsense by proxy. I only managed to listen to about three minutes of Bush’s pisser drivel. It’s like I’ve been sensitized or developed an allergy to the moldy spores of bullshit wafting out from anything they say. Exposure produces a spike in blood pressure and an urge to break things.

Very sad about Senor Montalban. We de-mothballed and watched The Wrath of Khan last night in his honor. Of course, from that picture James Doohan and DeForest Kelley are also missed.

The Goddamn Batman Accomplishes Missions All The Goddamn Time, But He Doesn't Put Up A Goddamn Banner, He Just Tells Jim Gordon To Switch Off The Signal, Heads Back To The Goddamn Batcave, Has A Nice Hot Cup Of Ovaltine, And Calls It A Goddamn Night

Doesn’t taking responsibility for something usually entail some sort of penance or act of reparation? Still waiting for W to do so after he took responsibility for the fuck-up with Hurricane Katrina.

And how many press secretaries and/or communication directors has this man had? I only remember the last one–you know, the hot, kind of crazy one.


I always liked Montalban. He set up the Nosotros Foundation, which promotes Latino artists in the US. I don’t think he ever gave up his Mexican citizenship.

Una poca de gracia.


He’s taking the Mission Accomplished Banner back with him to Texas

Actually, he’s keeping it to put up at Jenna and not-Jenna’s weddings


Is endearing loyalty like espousing CO2?
My theory is that when the stooge started talking, he intended to praise Bush for “engendering loyalty”, but ‘gender’ is too close to ‘sex’, so his subconscious censor mechanisms changed it to ‘endear’ when he was half-way through.
It is a theory and it is mine.


I wish Lehrer had actually asked Dastardly Dick (“Nyih-ah-ah!!“) about the war crime he admitted to in public.

I really wish he had.


Here’s where ‘White House officials’ stood

Maybe there should be a link to illustrate how stupid the whole “White House officials” crap got.


All hat, no cattle.

Full of shit, right to the bitter end.

The criticism of the terrible man who presented dear leader in a less than flattering light was , was , was , Voracious !


Still, Bartlett credited Bush Tuesday for not blaming his staff for the misstep.

So, for “not” we should read “almost immediately”.

They’re compulsive liars, aren’t they? They just have to lie about the smallest fucking things just because they can. I tell you, it would be nice if CNN actually, like, knew stuff.


Wait, what was the singer of Glass Candy convicted of?

Cue bad joke drum roll….


Bartlett, currently a political analyst with CBS,

Damn the liberal media!



Because we just like saying it. Balz. Balz. Balz. Neh-heh-heh-heh.


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