At a recent White House reception, President Bush asked Sen.-elect Jim Webb (D-VA), “How’s your boy?” referring to Webb’s son Jimmy, who is serving in Iraq. Webb answered, “I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” to which Bush responded, “That’s not what I asked you.” Webb then replied, “That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President.”
The right wing has been attacking Webb for his reaction to Bush’s question. Last night, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said Webb was “rude,” “inappropriate,” and “disrespectful,” because Bush was merely trying to extend a “nice gesture.” The National Review’s Corner called him “classless” and conservative columnist George Will labeled him “a boor.”
But according to Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), Bush was told that Webb’s son had a recent brush with death in Iraq and was warned to be “extra sensitive” when talking to the Sen.-elect. ThinkProgress yesterday spoke with Moran’s office and confirmed the congressman’s statement, first reported by hcc in VA:
Not only did Bush know about it, he was specifically briefed on the incident before meeting with Webb, and was cautioned to be extra sensitive in speaking with Webb about his son.
After such a briefing, Bush perhaps shouldn’t have been so surprised about Webb’s unwillingness to chit-chat about his son.