Major Combat Operations In Iraq Have Ended
President Bush announced in a nationally televised address that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."
"In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment," Bush told the Navy men and women aboard the warship Thursday.
Bush also made a direct connection between the war in Iraq and the continuing war on terrorism. "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11, 2001, and still goes on," Bush said.. . . "The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror," he said. "We have removed an ally of al Qaeda and cut off a source of terrorist funding."
Worst President in history.
And the Worst Media in History, courtesy of Media Matters:
MATTHEWS: What's the importance of the president's amazing display of leadership tonight? . . .What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously. What does that image mean to the American people, a guy who can actually get into a supersonic plane and actually fly in an unpressurized cabin like an actual jet pilot?
MATTHEWS: Do you think this role, and I want to talk politically [...], the president deserves everything he's doing tonight in terms of his leadership. He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics. Do you think he is defining the office of the presidency, at least for this time, as basically that of commander in chief? That [...] if you're going to run against him, you'd better be ready to take [that] away from him.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Bob Dornan, you were a congressman all those years. Here's a president who's really nonverbal. He's like Eisenhower. He looks great in a military uniform. He looks great in that cowboy costume he wears when he goes West. I remember him standing at that fence with Colin Powell. Was [that] the best picture in the 2000 campaign?[...]
Will Chris Matthews own up to his embarrassing display today? Don;t hold your breath. Here's more:
MATTHEWS: Ann Coulter, you're the first to speak tonight on the buzz. The president's performance tonight, redolent of the best of Reagan -- what do you think?
COULTER: It's stunning. It's amazing. I think it's huge. I mean, he's landing on a boat at 150 miles per hour. It's tremendous. It's hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn't matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It's stunning, and it speaks for itself.
MATTHEWS: Pat Caddell, the president's performance tonight on television, his arrival on ship?
CADDELL: Well, first of all, Chris, the -- I think that -- you know, I was -- when I first heard about it, I was kind of annoyed. It sounded like the kind of PR stunt that Bill Clinton would pull. But and then I saw it. And you know, there's a real -- there's a real affection between him and the troops.
MATTHEWS: The president there -- look at this guy! We're watching him. He looks like he flew the plane. He only flew it as a passenger, but he's flown --
CADDELL: He looks like a fighter pilot.
MATTHEWS: He looks for real. What is it about the commander in chief role, the hat that he does wear, that makes him -- I mean, he seems like -- he didn't fight in a war, but he looks like he does.
CADDELL: Yes. It's a -- I don't know. You know, it's an internal thing. I don't know if you can put it into words. [...] You can see it with him and the troops, the ease with which he talks to them. I was amazed by that, frankly, because as I said, I was originally appalled, particularly when I heard he was going in an F-18. But -- on there -- but the -- but you know, that was --
MATTHEWS: Look at this guy!
CADDELL: -- was hard not to be moved by their reaction to him and his reaction to them and --
MATTHEWS: You know, Ann --
CADDELL: -- you know, they -- it's a quality. It's an innate quality. It's a real quality.MATTHEWS: I know. I think you're right.
What can you say about this? Just an embarrassment. More:
Later that day, on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Matthews said:MATTHEWS: We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like [former President Bill] Clinton or even like [former Democratic presidential candidates Michael] Dukakis or [Walter] Mondale, all those guys, [George] McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits. We don't want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a [Russian Federation President Vladimir] Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president.
It was not just Tweety:
From the May 1 edition of Wolf Blitzer Reports:
BLITZER: There was a riskier landing that the president wanted to make. The Secret Service, though, just wouldn't let the commander in chief ride in an F/A-18 strike fighter. But CNN's Kyra Phillips will be doing just that in a matter of only a few minutes. She's in the cockpit of this F/A-18 Hornet. Right now, Navy jets like this one, of course, helped win the war in Iraq. Now, they're headed home. We'll talk with Kyra as soon as she catapults off the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. That's coming up.
A little bit of history and a lot of drama today when President Bush became the first commander in chief to make a tailhook landing on an aircraft carrier. A one-time Fighter Dog himself in the Air National Guard, the president flew in the co-pilot seat with a trip to the USS Abraham Lincoln. And he then mingled with the pilots and the crew members of the carrier on its way back from a deployment which covered the war in Iraq and before that, the war in Afghanistan. From that same deck tonight, the president will make more history. He'll deliver a major address to the nation.
BLITZER: And the president clearly pleased by his own landing aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln.
[...]And as we mentioned, President Bush is no stranger to military aircraft. He flew F-102 fighter jets in the Texas Air National Guard. He joined at the height of the Vietnam War but was never sent overseas and never saw combat. There's a picture of the young George W. Bush in the Texas Air National Guard.
And Brian Williams:
On the May 1 edition of CNBC's The News with Brian Williams, Williams, now anchor of NBC's Nightly News, said of Bush:WILLIAMS: And two immutable truths about the president that the Democrats can't change: He's a youthful guy. He looked terrific and full of energy in a flight suit. He is a former pilot, so it's not a foreign art farm -- art form to him. Not all presidents could have pulled this scene off today.
And the NYTimes:
The print media joined in the collective swoon the following day. From a May 2, 2003, article in The New York Times by staff writer David E. Sanger:But within minutes Mr. Bush emerged for the kind of photographs that other politicians can only dream about. He hopped out of the plane with a helmet tucked under his arm and walked across the flight deck with a swagger that seemed to suggest he had seen Top Gun. Clearly in his element, he was swarmed by cheering members of the Lincoln's crew.
Even in a White House that prides itself on its mastery of political staging, Mr. Bush's arrival on board the Lincoln was a first of many kinds.
Never before has a president landed aboard a carrier at sea, much less taken the controls of the aircraft. His decision to sleep aboard the ship this evening in the captain's quarters conjured images of the presidency at sea not seen since Franklin D. Roosevelt used to sail to summit meetings.Mr. Bush was clearly reliving his days as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, more than three decades ago. "I miss flying, I can tell you that," he told reporters who bumped into him as he moved around the ship.
And the Washington Post:
Washington Post staff writer Karen DeYoung reported on May 2, 2003:Bush, who had taken off his helmet and thus avoided photographic comparisons to presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis's unfortunate episode with a tank helmet during 1988 campaign, jumped down in full flight regalia, a smile splitting his face. The Navy had planned an official greeting, with Bush being piped aboard and walking through two rows of "sideboys" saluting him -- a tradition that dates from the days when visiting officers were hauled up the side of the ship in a boatswain's chair.
And Scheiffer and Joe Klein:
The weekend news programs brought even more praise for Bush's performance. On the May 4, 2003, edition of CBS' Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer and Time columnist Joe Klein had this to say:SCHIEFFER: As far as I'm concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time. And if you're a political consultant, you can just see campaign commercial written all over the pictures of George Bush. KLEIN: Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me. And it just shows you how high a mountain these Democrats are going to have to climb. You compare that image, which everybody across the world saw, with this debate last night where you have nine people on a stage and it doesn't air until 11:30 at night, up against Saturday Night Live, and you see what a major, major struggle the Democrats are going to have to try and beat a popular incumbent president.
What will they say today? Will they own up to their complicity?
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