The White House Runs for Cover

Monday, November 06, 2006

The White House Runs for Cover

There's a point where the Washington instinct for denial and "damage control" starts to look very silly. Amid the Ted Haggard scandal, CNN reports:
Although Time magazine had put Haggard on its list of the nation's 25 most influential evangelicals, citing his White House access, White House spokesman Tony Fratto insisted Friday that it was inaccurate to portray Haggard as having close White House ties.

This 2004 article in the Wall Street Journal painted a very different picture:
... in his Palm Pilot, next to an electronic copy of the Bible, [the Rev. Ted] Haggard has one Monday appointment that stands out: "3 p.m.: White House." It's a weekly conference call Mr. Haggard dials into that's led by Tim Goeglein, the White House's liaison to the conservative community, and includes prominent religious leaders.

"We have direct access," says Mr. Haggard, senior pastor of the giant New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. "I can call [Mr. Goeglein], he'll take my concern to the president and get back to me in 24 hours."
And, according to Scripps-Howard news service:
Haggard was naturally on the "A" list of evangelical Christians invited to the Bush White House for the signing of a bill banning late-term abortions or to be called in advance of any announcement for a chat about pending Supreme Court nominees.
Part of why the White House has so little credibility these days is because of its knee-jerk instinct to try to deny reality.

The Bush administration has made this a habit -- whether it's "we're winning in Iraq" .... Iraq is in "the last throes" of the insurgency .... or "Haggard did not have close ties to the White House."

Any day now, the White House will insist that the earth is really flat.

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