Compare & Contrast: Cheney’s dissembling performance with a surprisngly limp Tim Russert, and Rumsfeld’s straight shooting reality check: From AP, via Dow Jones News Wires:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday that he had no reason to believe that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had a hand in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.

At a Pentagon news conference, Rumsfeld was asked about a poll that indicated nearly 70% of respondents believed the Iraqi leader probably was personally involved.

“I’ve not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that,” Rumsfeld said.

This is a major change in political rhetoric from a senior member of the administration. Jospeh Schuman of the Wall Street Journal notes:

“President Bush and his senior aides almost never discuss the reasons for going to war in Iraq without mentioning the Sept. 11 attacks, so it’s not entirely surprising that polls indicate nearly 70% of Americans believe Saddam Hussein was involved. Still, the government has never offered proof of such a connection, and many independent terrorism and Middle East experts find such a scenario unlikely. Today, at a Pentagon news briefing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked about such polling numbers and whether he agreed with such responses. “I’ve not seen any indication that would lead me to believe that I could say that,” Mr. Rumsfeld answered, if a bit reluctantly. “We know he was giving $25,000 a [Palestinian] family for anyone who would go out and kill innocent men, women and children. And we know of various other activities. But on that specific one, no, not to my knowledge.”

I wonder if this is a first admission by the White House — or just Rummy shooting form the hip once more.

Category: Politics, War/Defense

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