I couldn't believe my ears or my eyes. Was that President Bush finally, at long freaking last, (and much, much too late) defending himself?
Bush is a terrible communicator. He gives great speeches but speaking off the cuff isn't his thing and he doesn't like the press, you can see it in his body language. He's very uncomfortable.
The problems he's experienced in his presidency can be directly traced back to (1) A time when he failed to clearly articulate the plan or the rationale for something, or when he (2) Turned the other cheek and took the criticism for something rather than blame somebody else.
But back to today. President Bush's final press conference.
On Katrina: "Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there were 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed. ... Could things been done better? Absolutely. But when I hear people say the federal response was slow, what are they going to say to those 30,000 who got pulled off the roof?"
On popularity: “In certain quarters in Europe you can be popular by blaming every Middle Eastern problem on Israel. Or you can be popular by joining the International Criminal Court. I guess I could have been popular by accepting Kyoto, which I felt was a flawed treaty . . . And in terms of the decisions that I had made to protect the homeland, I wouldn't worry about popularity.”
On America's 'bruised image' overseas: "I disagree with this assessment that, you know, that people view America in a dim light," he said. "It may be damaged amongst some of the elite. But people still understand America stands for freedom."
On himself, a week from now: "I just can't envision myself, you know, the big straw hat and a Hawaiian shirt sitting on some beach. I wake up in Crawford on Tuesday morning—I mean, Wednesday morning, and I suspect I'll make Laura coffee and, you know, go get it for her."