Do not get between Elisabeth Bumiller and her juicy White House scoops! Months after taking the WH's "unofficial" bait and enthusiastically reporting on the President's reading of the "beer- and sex-soaked novel" (Messy!), Bumiller was on "The Chris Matthews Show" yesterday, defending herself and the president on what looked to be like slow-going through the book's 688 pages:
MATTHEWS: Here is the president returning to the White House with a book in his hand, but if you take a closer look using our very own high-tech satellite imagery it turns out that the book is "I Am Charlotte Simmons." Elisabeth, you report he was reading that in February. He must really like that book.Nicely spun! No wonder the WH gave her that story. The only problem? That's not the WH's line. They've been telling people -- specifically, TIME's John Dickerson -- that the reason for "Charlotte Simmons's" cameo was not Bush's "Reading Rainbow"-like pace but rather, "Bush's biking partner for the day, Mike Wood, had borrowed the book...and had returned Bush's copy that day." Who to believe? They both sound so plausible -- unlike Newsweek's story, which reported that Bush had flushed the book down the toilet, triggering protests and riots on the Upper East Side.
BUMILLER: I'm still reading that book.
MATTHEWS: The doorstop?
BUMILLER: It takes a while to read and it has some ups and downs... As he said before, he gets through about 20 pages a night and he's out cold, so I think it takes a while.
Speed-reading with the President [Wonkette]
"The Chris Matthews Show" [TVEyes.com]