Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Steele: Bush Was ‘Right’ To Wait Six Days To Respond To Shoe Bomber, But Obama Was Still Too Slow

By Amanda Terkel on January 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm

"Steele: Bush Was ‘Right’ To Wait Six Days To Respond To Shoe Bomber, But Obama Was Still Too Slow"

Share:

google plus icon

Continuing his book tour, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today and criticized President Obama’s remarks yesterday on the failed Christmas Day attack. He hit Obama for delivering it “two weeks after the event,” saying it should have instead happened on Christmas Day.

However, just a few moments later, Steele said that President Bush made the right move in waiting six days before commenting on shoe bomber Richard Reid in 2001, because “you can’t afford to go much further without being very clear the direction the administration wants to go on this matter”:

STEELE: And that kind of approach that the administration has taken, where it was two weeks after the event before the President stands up there. If he had given that speech on Christmas Day — that he gave yesterday?

BRZEZINSKI: You know, it took six days for President Bush to respond to the Richard Reid shoe bomber. [...]

STEELE: I think the timing was right in the moment because you can’t afford to go much further without being very clear the direction the administration wants to go on this matter.

Watch it:

First of all, Steele is being disingenuous in making it seem like yesterday was the first time Obama commented on the attack. In fact, one of conservatives’ main criticisms was that President Obama waited 72 hours before publicly commenting on the incident (even though he had been actively consulting with his national security experts, who were speaking with the press). So Obama publicly spoke about the attack in under six days — which Steele deemed appropriate in Bush’s case.

Second, Steele said a President should not comment “without being very clear the direction the administration wants to go on this matter.” Obama’s speech yesterday was intended to report on the findings of the ongoing investigations by his counterterrorism and homeland security advisers — something that couldn’t have been done on Christmas Day.

Finally, when President Bush did eventually address the shoe bomber, it wasn’t with a “clear…direction” about where the administration was headed; he mentioned it only in passing, when he said that an American Airlines flight attendant “saw something amiss and responded.” “It’s an indication that the culture of America has shifted to one of alertness, and I’m grateful for the flight attendant’s response, as I’m sure the passengers on that airplane,” he added.

Transcript:

STEELE: When you’re engaged in this type of battle, you clearly define the enemy. You don’t — whether your Republican or Democrat — you don’t then go trying to put them into a process that is outside what they’re doing.

BRZEZINSKI: What about former Vice President Cheney’s response?

STEELE: I think it’s been very interesting with the Vice President. Here again, I think the Vice President was dead-on. He set the marker. He said, “You cannot go into this game half-hearted. You’ve either got to be committed to dealing with it, and deal with it, or you’re not. You’re either going to withdraw or you’re going to commit.”

And that kind of approach that the administration has taken, where it was two weeks after the event before the President stands up there. If he had given that speech on Christmas Day — that he gave yesterday?

BRZEZINSKI: You know, it took six days for President Bush to respond to the Richard Reid shoe bomber. I mean, I don’t know. I feel like everyone’s jumping up and down and complaining about a commander-in-chief being cool —

SCARBOROUGH: You’ve crossed Mika by defending God’s vice president.

BRZEZINSKI: I don’t understand those comments. I really don’t. And the timing of them, as constructive for the country.

STEELE: I think the timing was right in the moment because you can’t afford to go much further without being very clear the direction the administration wants to go on this matter.

‹ PREVIOUS
Fox News chyron cast Dorgan and Dodd as ‘defecting Democrats.’

NEXT ›
Dodd headed to Treasury?

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.