Tony Snow Offers Defiant Clarification: Bush Is Not Frustrated Over Iraq

Today, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times offer accounts of Bush’s recent meeting with a panel of Iraq scholars. The NYT piece claimed that the participants came away with the impression that Bush is “frustrated that the new Iraqi government”¦had not shown greater public support for the American mission.” The Times offers these quotes:

“I sensed a frustration with the lack of progress on the bigger picture of Iraq generally “” that we continue to lose a lot of lives, it continues to sap our budget,” said one person who attended the meeting.[“¦]“I do think he was frustrated about why 10,000 Shiites would go into the streets and demonstrate against the United States,” said another person who attended.

More than 110 Iraqis were killed each day last month, and car bombs continue to erupt daily in Iraq’s most populous areas. Sixty percent of Americans oppose the war, yet the top concern for the White House this morning was to combat the impression that Bush is “frustrated” over these events and his own failing policies.

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At the press briefing, Tony Snow said he took “exception to [the] verb, or variations of that verb.” He’s not “frustrated,” but rather, “determined,” Snow later said of Bush’s disposition on Iraq. Out of touch is a better description. Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/08/snowiraq.320.240.flv]

Full transcript:

A number of newspapers today, a couple — the New York Times and the LA Times — had pieces about the president’s meeting the other day with Iraq scholars. Just a couple of nits to pick with the Times piece — and I have spoken with the note-taker in the meeting, I was in the meeting, I have talked to others in the meeting, and I have talked to all four scholars today. And all to a person take exception to a verb, or variations of that verb, that appear in number of times at the top of the piece — which is that the president is frustrated.

He is “frustrated that the new Iraqi government “” and the Iraqi people “” had not shown greater public support for the American mission.” All the participants said that that did not reflect the meeting they attended.

“A sense of frustration on the lack of progress on the bigger picture of Iraq generally.” Again, all of those in attendance said that that did not reflect their characterization.

And a paragraph that said, “The president expressed frustration that Iraqis had not come to appreciate the sacrifices the United States had made in Iraq, and was puzzled as to how a recent anti-American rally in support of Hezbollah in Baghdad could draw such a large crowd.” That was unanimously rejected as well.