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What He’s Trying to Say

Posted by alanmirs on October 30, 2006

According to White House officials, Snow does play a bigger role than
previous press secretaries did in helping to design the day’s responses
to anticipated press inquiries. But Snow’s more obvious success has
been within the theatrical confines of the press room — in deflecting
damaging stories before they gain traction, in phrasing the president’s
position more eloquently and precisely than Bush himself is able to and
in imposing the White House’s line on the story of the day.

Watching Snow in that room when he is working fluently and well is
really something; the press secretary is gloriously glib. One Wednesday
in the middle of September, he rebuffed a grandstanding network
television reporter who had brought a big dictionary into the briefing
room, trying to force Snow to square the definition of “fascism,” with
its references to an ideology of the supremacy of a strong centralized
state and powerful bureaucracy, with the president’s claim that the
terrorists of Al Qaeda were “Islamofascists”; Al Qaeda, obviously, has
no bureaucrats at all. Snow replied that bin Laden had called for the
adoption of Sharia across the Muslim world and said he wanted to
re-establish the Islamic caliphate, stretching from
Spain to Asia. “It fits,” Snow said, not smiling, just plain and factual, “all of the descriptions you’ve had.”


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