Joe Klein Is Never Wrong. ‘Obviously.’

This morning, Time columnist Joe Klein was interviewed on MSNBC and heaped praise on President Bush’s response to the Iran NIE. Klein told Joe Scarborough:

The Bush reaction to [the NIE] — he didn’t try to block it. He didn’t try to postpone it. He didn’t spend weeks, he didn’t ask the intelligence community ‘give me a couple of weeks, let’s see if we can figure out some kind of negotiating initiative or some way to respond to this.’ He didn’t try to spin it to our advantage. This is an amazing moment of candor by the United States.

ThinkProgress criticized Klein for his comment that Bush’s reaction to the NIE was “an amazing moment of candor by the United States.” In a post titled “Misinterpreted,” Klein responds to our criticism:

This is wrong. OBviously, I was referring to the NIE itself as a remarkable moment of candor for the United States. I thought that Bush’s reaction to it was, literally, incredible. As in, not to be believed — which was made completely clear in my cover story.

In just a few short hours, Klein has gone from saying Bush engaged in an “amazing moment of candor,” to saying Bush is “not to be believed.” We appreciate the conversion, but we don’t appreciate the disingenuousness of it.


We weren’t “wrong” or “misinterpreted.” TV pundit Joe Klein explicitly said that an “amazing moment of candor” occurred in the context of “the Bush reaction” to the NIE; he marveled that Bush “didn’t try to block it” and “didn’t try to spin it.” But Time magazine blogger Joe Klein says, “I thought that Bush’s reaction to it was, literally, incredible. As in, not to be believed.”

So what was it? Was Bush’s reaction part of America’s “moment of candor,” or was it “not to be believed”? The two Joe Kleins should interpret one another, sort it out, and get on the same page. And maybe one of the Joe Kleins should apologize to the other.

As Atrios stated, “Is it possible for Joe Klein to admit error at all? He could just say: I misspoke, which is easy to do on live radio or television.”

UPDATE: BarbinMD recalls Joe Klein’s classic response to his FISA distortions: “I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who’s right.”