The Washington Post is reporting that Tuesday (March 2), Bush had "an unusual 80-minute session in the Oval Office with five network correspondents who agreed that his comments would not be directly quoted or attributed to him."
Unusual indeed. First of all, Bush was willing to devote a full 20 minutes more to chewing the fat with these reporters than to the committee investigating 9/11. Where are Bush’s priorities?
Secondly, why meet with reporters and ask them to promise not to attribute quotes directly to him? I guess it is an attempt to build camaraderie with the press, something he enjoyed during the 2000 campaign.
But for my money – the President — any President — cannot and should be able to talk to the press on "deep background". He’s the President — the American people have an interest in what he says and does — and the press has a responsibility to report it. The press should simply have rejected the offer and walked out.
Maybe Bush will only participate in debates as long as everyone excepts his disclaimer that we shouldn’t hold him to anything he says.