In the most widely published image from his Thanksgiving day trip to Baghdad, the beaming president is wearing an Army workout jacket and surrounded by soldiers as he cradles a huge platter laden with a golden-brown turkey.
The bird is so perfect it looks as if it came from a food magazine, with bunches of grapes and other trimmings completing a Norman Rockwell image that evokes bounty and security in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.
But as a small sign of the many ways the White House maximized the impact of the 21/2-hour stop at the Baghdad airport, administration officials said yesterday that Bush picked up a decoration, not a serving plate.
[T]he foray has opened new credibility questions for a White House that has dealt with issues as small as who placed the "Mission Accomplished" banner aboard the aircraft carrier Bush used to proclaim the end of major combat operations in Iraq, and as major as assertions about Saddam Hussein's arsenal of unconventional weapons and his ability to threaten the United States.
The White House has updated its account of an airborne conversation in which a British Airways pilot wondered into his radio if he had just seen Air Force One and was told that it was a Gulfstream 5, a much smaller plane. White House officials first said that the British Airways pilot had talked with the Air Force One pilot. Bush aides now say the conversation occurred between the British Airways pilot and an air traffic control worker.
British Airways said it has been unable to confirm the new version. "We've looked into it," a spokeswoman said from London. "It didn't happen."
White House officials do not deny that they craft elaborate events to showcase Bush, but they maintain that these events are designed to accurately dramatize his policies and to convey qualities about him that are real.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.