Let’s just talk about lines of sight.
From all internal calculations, the new Bush PR team (led — from what I hear — by Andy Card) assumed that the cameras would just line up squarely behind Bush and set up that wonderful shot below. What they didn’t calculate, however, was that the top shot also provided a nice view of the pages of Bush’s script. In fact, with his head tilted slightly downward, it’s hard to really know, in the second shot, if Bush is looking at the troops, or still referring to written instructions.
The BAG has been tireless in examining how rare it is for Bush to venture out without formal written-, site- or story-lines. Today’s screw up seemed to strip away all doubt it could have been otherwise.
If you check out the post I did earlier in the evening for Huffington Post, you can see out-takes of the video proving Bush’s teleconference today with these U.S. actors soldiers in Iraq was completely canned. On the pages laid out in front of Bush are most likely the questions the soldiers had previously been coached to answer — in spite of the White House’s subsequent (and shameless) denial.
Just like the U.N. bathroom memo incident revealed a couple weeks ago, the evidence continues to pile up that Bush is only as good as what the last person told him to do or say. (My theory, by the way, is that the Harriet Miers situation exemplifies what happens in the occasional instance in which Bush keeps his own counsel.)
(image 1: Jim Watson/AFP. Washington/Tikrit. October 13, 2005. Via YahooNews. image 2: Reuters/Staff. Washington/Tikrit. October 13, 2005. Via YahooNews.)