March 21st, 2007
Regarding recent dismissals of U.S. attorneys and the appearance of impropriety,
Q: If today's offer from Mr. Fielding is your best and final offer on
this, are you going to go to the mat in protecting the principle that you
talked about? And why not, since you say nothing wrong was done by your
staff, why not just clear the air and let Karl Rove and other senior aides
testify in public, under oath? There's been a precedent for previous
administrations doing that.
THE PRESIDENT: Some have, some haven't. My choice is to make sure that
I safeguard the ability for Presidents to get good decisions.
Michael, I'm worried about precedence that would make it difficult for
somebody to walk into the Oval Office and say, Mr. President, here's what's
on my mind. And if you haul somebody up in front of Congress and put them
in oath and all the klieg lights and all the questioning, to me, it makes
it very difficult for a President to get good advice. On the other hand, I
understand there is a need for information sharing on this. And I put forth
what I thought was a rational proposal, and the proposal I put forward is
Yes, it would be awful if public officials were held accountable publicly. Quite honestly, I find the parallel to Nixon's PR staggering.
The proposal is essentially to allow access to senior officials informally and without oath, coupled with the release of emails and documents. I do think that the Democrats have a responsibility to look at the documents released -- I have little doubt that they will-- but this sort of avoidance is a bit unsettling even assuming that Bush is correct about the dismissals having only the appearance of impropriety.
And while I'm on the topic of Bush, crisper wrote a short summary of history in Pete and Repeat Cross the Euphrates.