During today’s White House press conference, Press Secretary Tony Snow again tried to deny the fact that prominent conservative members of Congress are increasingly abandoning the President’s failing policies in Iraq. Sen. Dick Lugar’s sharp critiques of the President’s Iraq policies were merely pleas for “some bipartisan comity,” Snow said.
One reporter asked Snow if delusional characterizations of conservative defections would cause the American people to “perceive you and the White House as isolated and out of touch on this?” Snow responded, “No, no more than I think that they look at you and think that you guys are focused on defeat.” The press room erupted in groans.
“Wait a minute. That’s not my question,” the reporter shot back. Snow lashed out in his defense, “You just asked me if I’m clueless and I asked if you were defeatist.”
The fact is that conservatives in Congress and the American people are abandoning the President’s Iraq strategy in record numbers. Just 19% of Americans see the surge as a success and in the Senate today seven Republican senators defied their leadership and voted in support of a measure that would have limited the number of troops available for deployment in Iraq.
QUESTION: Are you at all worried that, as, sort of, these basic questions are answered and the answer that comes back is not exactly — and it’s not black or white; it’s gray, and all — are you worried that the American people listen to this sort of debate and perceive you and the White House as isolated and out of touch on this?
SNOW: No, no more than I think that they look at you and think that you guys are focused on defeat.
QUESTION: Wait a minute. That’s not my question.
SNOW: Well, you just asked me if I’m clueless and I asked if you were defeatist.
QUESTION: Wait a second. Hang on. You have Republicans, Voinovich, Lugar, Domenici, people who are involved in shaping a new course for the mission, and they are leaving the president.
Every time this gets asked about, you tell us, no, that’s not what’s happening. When people listen to this back and forth, do you think the inference many Americans draw is the White House is the last place to get the fact that the Republican Party is leaving them?
SNOW: No. I think the White House is the last part trying to say public opinion polls are not what the war is made of.