CHRIS MATTHEWS: Has the president already made the—has he already, as they say in the stock market, discounted the calamity to come? Has he already discounted the probability that, at best, the rosy scenario, if you will, is that the top aides that have been mentioned in all the press leaks about this in the leak case are going to get shot with a very vicious kind of indictment or some kind of public report that humiliates them publicly and politically, and, therefore, he‘s relying more on Andrew Card and Dan Bartlett than the vice president‘s office or the chief political man?
FINEMAN (NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT): Well, that‘s my sense of it, Chris.
And I think, if you look—if you roll back the videotape of the days leading up to Katrina, if you look at the Harriet Miers nomination, Karl Rove is conspicuous by his absence.
MATTHEWS: As is the vice president.
FINEMAN: As is the vice president. So, I think that whole wing, so to speak, is one that Bush has been flying without for the last couple weeks.
The only similarity to my theory is that it still has the main handlers of the president more interested in their own troubles than helping the president, as they could choose to filter their advice through channels so as to insulate him from their legal situation.
It's clear that the president was only as savvy as these men made him appear, in any case.
And what was that confidential information Dobson felt he couldn't share before? Here it is, from the L.A.Times:
By Maura Reynolds, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Before President Bush nominated White House Counsel Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court, his deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove, called influential Christian leader James C. Dobson to assure him that Miers was a conservative evangelical Christian, Dobson said in remarks scheduled for broadcast today on his national radio show.
In that conversation, which has been the subject of feverish speculation, Rove also told Dobson that one reason the president was passing over better-known conservatives was that many on the White House short list had asked not to be considered, Dobson said, according to an advance transcript of the broadcast provided by his organization, Focus on the Family.
Dobson said that the White House had decided to nominate a woman, which reduced the size of the list, and that several women on it had then bowed out.
"What Karl told me is that some of those individuals took themselves off that list and they would not allow their names to be considered, because the process has become so vicious and so vitriolic and so bitter that they didn't want to subject themselves or the members of their families to it," Dobson said.
Asked if the pair ever discussed the issue of abortion, Dobson said he never asked. "You know, to be honest, I would have loved to have known how Harriet Miers views Roe v. Wade. But even if Karl had known the answer to that -- and I'm certain that he didn't, because the president himself said he didn't know -- Karl would not have told me that. That's the most incendiary information that's out there, and it was never part of our discussion."
If Bush lied about the reasons for the Iraq war should he be impeached? Here are the results of a poll:
Here's how the question was put: "If President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should consider holding him accountable by impeaching him." Fifty percent of the 1,001 Americans surveyed agreed with that statement, while 44 percent disagreed; 6 percent said they didn't know or declined to answer. The breakdown was not entirely on partisan lines. Twenty percent of Republicans surveyed agreed with the statement, as did 72 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents.
Too bad no one has the guts to start the process. Maybe after the Bush Administration indictments come down, 2006 elections are looming, and Republicans want to curry favor with their voters we'll see some action. It'll be interesting to see how fast they distance themselves from this doomed presidency.
Finally, Judith Miller is testifying again, this time about notes she recently found regarding yet another conversation with Scooter Libby. (And am I the only one bothered by a childhood nickname being used for someone in public service?)