Conservative bloggers are in an uproar that the "liberal media" has put out "fake story" claiming "incorrectly" that Bush's chat with the troops yesterday morning was a pre-scripted fake event.
Well, an astute AMERICAblog reader sent me a link to a National Public Radio clip of the preparations for Bush's "unscripted chat" with the US soldiers in Iraq yesterday morning. If you listen to the NPR live feed, you not only hear the soldiers getting the questions in advance, you hear one soldier giving his scripted answer - and what's funny, he starts to give his answer even before getting the question! It doesn't get more scripted than that.
This first snippet from othe audio nips the debate in the bud over whether this was scripted. To wit, the Pentagon asst. secretary warns the troops what to do if they get a question that ISN'T "scripted." Thus, they had questions that WERE scripted, she just admitted it.
Deputy Asst. Defense Secretary Allison BARBER, prepping the troops: If he gives us a question that's not something that we've scripted, Captain Kennedy you're gonna have that mic and that's your chance to impress us all.Now we get to hear one of the soldiers start giving his answer before the woman impersonating the president even gets to ask her question:
CAPT KENNEDY: Okay.
BARBER: Which won't be a problem for you. Alright here we go.
BARBER AS BUSH: It's an honor to be speaking with the members of the 42 infantry division....Here you get to hear the president's pre-scripted question (as read by the DOD representative) and the soldier's pre-scripted answer:
BARBER: The president will continue to speak, and then he'll go into his questions.
BARBER AS BUSH: I'm interested in knowing...
CAPT. KENNEDY (INTERRUPTS BARBER): Good morning, Mr. President. [Laughter] Oh sorry. [More laughter] Okay.
BARBER AS BUSH: I'm interested in how your pre-elelection operations are going. Can you give me a quick update on what you've been doing for the last couple of weeks?From the White House Web site we get Bush's actual LIVE question that he asked the soldier - taking into account Bush's butchering of the English language it's the same:
CAPT. KENNEDY (giving his prepared in advance answer): Good morning, Mr. President, my name is Captain Brett Kennedy from xxx Valley, Washington, here in Tikrit. To my right is Iraqi Sargeant Major Akeel from the 5th Iraqi Army Division. We are working in northern Iraq right now with an operation we call Operation Saratago. It's a surge of operations to prepare for the referendum. We are currently securing 12250 polling sites through northern Iraq.
BUSH: Let me ask you some questions, Captain, if you don't mind. One of the, you know, questions I have is about the pre-election operations, about what you've been doing, and what are the -- what's your strategy, and how do you think it's going for -- to make sure the people have a chance to vote.Also from the White House Web site we get the text of the soldier's LIVE answer, it's basically verbatim the same prepared answer he gave during practice:
CAPTAIN KENNEDY: Good morning, Mr. President, from Tikrit. I'm Captain Brent Kennedy. To my right is Sergeant Major Akeel from the 5th Iraqi Army Division. We're working together here with the Iraqis in Task Force Liberty for the upcoming referendum. We're surging an operation, called Operation Saratoga, that includes the securing of over 1,250 polling sites. We're working right alongside with the Iraqis as they lead the way in securing these sites.The entire event was scripted in advance. It was all a big fake.