RTCA: Who Blew It?

Barbara Starr interrogates Donald Rumsfeld:

    Q I wanted to go back for a minute, if I might -- for both of you -- to the question of the seriousness of Iraq. . .it's difficult to ask, but with all respect to the Office of the President. . . .We understand and we know at neither of you gentlemen were at the Radio-Television Correspondents dinner last night here in Washington where the president spoke. . . The president made some remarks in a humorous fashion. . . And he said. . . showing a picture, "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere."  And then there was, in fact, laughter and applause from the audience.  And then he showed another picture: "No, no weapons over there."  Laughter and applause.  Another picture: "Maybe under here."  Laughter.

    So my question, really, truly . . . is it appropriate to make a joke -- seriously, sirs -- about the hunt for weapons of mass destruction, when both of you, of course, were involved in the difficult issue of sending troops to war for that hunt?  And did the news media also blow it by sitting there and laughing?  Did we blow it last night?

    SEC. RUMSFELD:  I think you have to -- to know what I would think, I would have had to be there. 

But if the question is really, "[D]id the news media also blow it by sitting there and laughing?", shouldn't that be a question for the press and not Rumsfeld? The media did, after all, have an answer for it -- right after Rumsfeld refused to give his:

    (Pause.)  (Soft laughter.)

Defense Department Operational Briefing [Defenselink]


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