At a press conference this morning, President Bush needled Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Wallsten after he stood up to ask a question wearing sunglasses. “Are you going to ask that question with shades on?” Bush said, telling Wallsten, “I’m interested in the shade look, seriously.”
But as Wonkette first noted, and which ThinkProgress subsquently confirmed, Wallsten is legally blind. Wallsten tells us he has a rare genetic disorder called Stargardt’s Disease. The disease is a form of macular degeneration that can be slowed “by wearing UV-protective sunglasses and avoiding exposure to bright light.”
Wallsten said Bush’s comments did not offend him at all. “I never advertise it to him. I’ve never told him.”
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Peter. Are you going to ask that question with shades on?
Q I can take them off.
THE PRESIDENT: I’m interested in the shade look, seriously.
Q All right, I’ll keep it, then.
THE PRESIDENT: For the viewers, there’s no sun. (Laughter.)
Q I guess it depends on your perspective. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Touche. (Laughter.)
Q Following up on the other Peter’s question about Karl Rove, you said that you were relieved with what happened yesterday. But the American public, over the course of this investigation, has learned a lot about what was going on in your White House that they didn’t know before, during that time, the way some people were trying to go after Joe Wilson, in some ways. I’m wondering if, over the course of this investigation, that you have learned anything that you didn’t know before about what was going on in your administration. And do you have any work to do to rebuild credibility that might have been lost?
THE PRESIDENT: I think that — first of all, the decision by the prosecutor speaks for itself. He had a full investigation. Karl Rove went in front of the grand jury like — I don’t — a lot of times. More times than — they took a hard look at his role.
Secondly, as I told the other Peter, I’m going to tell you, that there’s an ongoing trial, it’s a serious business. And I’ve made the comments I’m going to make about this incident, and I’m going to put this part of the situation behind us and move forward.