Radio/television host Don Imus and White House Press Secretary Tony Snow attacked former President Jimmy Carter yesterday. Imus called Carter a “dope” and claimed his presidency had “humiliat[ed] America,” prompting laughter from Snow. Snow then drew two “comparisons” between Carter and Bush:
1. Whereas Bush “snuck off” to visit Iraq, Carter “used to sneak off and fish on the weekends.”
2. “[U]nlike in the Carter years, where…you had the humiliation of hostages being taken in Iran,” in Bush’s case, “you’ve got the president who’s showing up in Baghdad and talking with the new government.”
A couple points:
1) Tony Snow is in no position to mock President Carter for vacationing. President Bush has spent more time vacationing than any president in modern history, with 319 days worth as of August 2005. President Carter took 79 vacation days during his 4 years in office, the lowest of any president in modern history.
2) Kidnapping has become a “scourge of Iraqi unrest.” Tony Snow claims the hostage crisis in Iran was a humiliation for President Carter. But “at least 280 foreigners” — including many Americans — “and thousands of Iraqis…have been taken hostage since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003,” and Baghdad has become the “kidnap capital of the world.”
In any case, apparently it’s now acceptable for a sitting White House Press Secretary to publicly level ad hominem attacks against a former President of the United States.
Full transcript below:
SNOW: [Describing preparations for Tuesday’s visit to Iraq] We all snuck off and got ourselves on one of those big old Chinook helicopters. Made our way to Andrews, the President wearing a baseball cap, actually schlepping luggage. Who would think the a president would schlep luggage? So, we did a good pretty job of getting out of here without anybody knowing.
IMUS: Didn’t that dope Jimmy Carter — I shouldn’t refer to the former president as a dope. [Laughter] I apologize. Didn’t Jimmy Carter, when he was humiliating America, didn’t he carry his own luggage or something? [Snow laughs]
SNOW: I don’t think — he also used to sneak off and fish on the weekends at Camp David. The thing you got here is, unlike in the Carter years, where from November 4, 1979 until November 4, 1980, obviously, when Reagan was elected, you had the humiliation of hostages being taken in Iran. Meanwhile, in this case, you’ve got the president who’s showing up in Baghdad and talking with the new government.