WP: White House Briefing links

Dan Froomkin’s White House Briefing column in the online Washington Post, along with Media Notes, is one of the great sources of information you might have missed. He’s tapping alot of interesting stories today.

Quick summary and a link:


White House Going Negative
Tuesday, Jun 01, 2004; 10:19 AM

The White House is not a warm and fuzzy place these days, or so suggest two seminal articles from over the long weekend.

In The Washington Post, Dana Milbank and Jim VandeHei describe the unprecedented ferocity of the Bush campaign’s often deceptive anti-Kerry advertising blitz.

And in the New York Times, David E. Sanger describes a spectacular loss of discipline in the White House, now riven by vicious backbiting.

Meanwhile, Matthew Cooper writes in Time magazine that President Bush is now keeping Saddam Hussein’s gun in his study. Unloaded, we are assured.

Bushism Watch

“Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me.”

So spoke the president, pointing out Sen. Bill Frist’s wife in Nashville on Thursday. Here’s the text of his remarks, which were otherwise largely about health care technology.

Did Cheney Steer Contract to Halliburton?

Timothy J. Burger and Adam Zagorin write in Time magazine that they “obtained an internal Pentagon e-mail sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official – whose name was blacked out by the Pentagon – that raises questions about Cheney’s arm’s-length policy toward his old employer. Dated March 5, 2003, the e-mail says ‘action’ on a multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was ‘coordinated’ with Cheney’s office.”

CNN reports that the vice president’s office “denied Sunday that he was involved in a coordinated effort to secure a multibillion dollar Iraq oil deal for Halliburton, his former employer.”

Straw Men

Dana Milbank writes in The Washington Post about the president’s predilection toward using straw-man arguments.

“Bush is obviously not the first politician to paint his opponents’ positions in absurd terms,” Milbank writes. "But Bush has been more active than most in creating phantom opponents. . . . "

Flying the Friendly Skies

Scott Lindlaw of the Associated Press writes: "President Bush is using Air Force One for re-election travel more heavily than any predecessor, wringing maximum political mileage from a perk of office paid for by taxpayers.

"While Democratic rival John Kerry digs into his campaign bank account to charter a plane to roam the country, Bush often travels at no cost to his campaign simply by declaring a trip ‘official’ travel rather than ‘political.’

“Even when the White House deems a trip as political, the cost to Bush’s campaign is minimal.”

Ashcroft Watch

Michael Duffy and John F. Dickerson write in Time magazine: “Has John Ashcroft fallen out of favor at the White House? The question may not be whether but how far.”