No one asked, but Bush apparently felt the need to respond to the good Doctor.
JOURNALIST: Mr. President, after the mistakes that have been made in this war, when you do, as you did yesterday, where you raised 2-year-old intelligence talking about the threat posed by al-Qaeda, itâ€™s met with increasing skepticism. A majority in the public, a growing number of Republicans appear not to trust you any longer to be able to carry out this policy successfully. Can you explain why you believe youâ€™re still a credible messenger on the war?
GEORGE W. BUSH: Iâ€™m credible because I read the intelligence data and make it abundantly clear, in plain terms, that, if we let up, weâ€™ll be attacked. And I firmly believe that.
Look, this has been a long, difficult experience for the American people. I can assure you al-Qaeda, who would like to attack us again, have got plenty of patience and persistence. And the question is, will we?
Yes, I talked about intelligence yesterday. I wanted to make sure the intelligence I laid out was credible, so we took our time. Failure in Iraq will cause generations to suffer, in my judgment. Al-Qaeda will be emboldened. They will say, â€œYes, once again, weâ€™ve driven the great soft America out of a part of the region.â€ It will cause them to be able to recruit more; it will give them safe haven. They are a direct threat to the United States.
And Iâ€™m going to keep talking about it. Thatâ€™s my job as the president, is to tell people the threats we face and what weâ€™re doing about it. Theyâ€™re dangerous, and I canâ€™t put it any more plainly to the American people, and to them, we will stay on the offense. Itâ€™s better to fight them there than here.
And this concept about, well, maybe, you know, let’s just kind of just leave them alone and maybe they’ll be all right is naive. These people attacked us before we were in Iraq. They viciously attacked us before we were in Iraq, and they’ve been attacking ever since.
They are a threat to your children, David.
And whoever is in that Oval Office better understand it and take measures necessary to protect the American people.
When America was attacked in relation to our government’s bombing of Iraq wasnâ€™t in the question at all.
This was more likely a deliberately dishonest attempt by Bush to portray Congressman Ron Paul as the one whoâ€™s soft on Osama bin Laden, as opposed to the president himself, who announced in very early 2002 that he was â€œtruly not that concerned aboutâ€ bin Laden at all.
And of course, it’s nice to note the obligatory threat to poor David the reporterâ€™s children for daring to ask the Pharaoh a question at a press conference.
Remember, this is the man whom Rudy Giuliani said, is “a great president” because of his understanding of terrorism.