Fox News Radio host John Gibson asked Liz Cheney for her thoughts on Barack Obama’s recent trip to Dover Air Force Base to witness the arrival of the bodies of U.S. troops who died in Afghanistan. Here is her response, via TPMDC:
“I think that what President Bush used to do is do it without the cameras. And I don’t understand sort of showing up with the White House Press Pool with photographers and asking family members if you can take pictures. That’s really hard for me to get my head around…It was a surprising way for the president to choose to do this.”
Pres. Bush didn’t used to do it at all, as TPM’s reporter points out:
It’s not clear exactly what Cheney is referring to when she says, “Bush used to do it without the cameras.”
It’s true that Bush’s Pentagon continued a long-standing policy of banning cameras at Dover when the nation’s fallen arrived in flag-draped caskets from foreign battlefields. (Upon taking office, Obama lifted the ban.)
So that covers “without the cameras.”
But as CBS’s Mark Knoller reported yesterday, Obama was the first president to visit arriving dead at Dover during the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq — meaning that when it came to taking trips to Dover like Obama did yesterday morning, Bush never used to “do it” at all.
Josh Marshall wonders if Fox will call her on this (HA!):
I’ve never been terribly impressed with Liz Cheney. … But I’m not sure I remember her fibbing on quite this scale before. But when Liz Cheney attacked President Obama for his visit to Dover Air Force Base to greet and honor the bodies of American servicemen killed in action in Afghanistan, she claimed that President Bush routinely did the same thing — only without cameras. Yet, there’s no evidence Bush ever did this. Not even once. Cameras or no cameras. Reporters who covered Obama and Bush say Obama’s the first to have done this.
Steve Benen remarks on “how pathetic Liz Cheney’s sense of decency has become.” (Emphasis in second paragraph below is mine):
President Bush didn’t used to “do it without the cameras”; President Bush didn’t used to do it at all. After seven years of the war in Afghanistan, Bush didn’t greet returning caskets once. He didn’t even want journalists to take photographs of the events, fearing that the images may turn public opinion against the war.
What’s more, President Obama didn’t “show up with the White House Press Pool.” The trip was not announced in advance — the White House wasn’t seeking publicity — and only a “small contingent” of journalists were allowed to attend. In fact, “most of the event was closed to media.”
As Steve (Benen, and Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog) also pointed out, though, some conservative bloggers did have the decency to give Pres. Obama credit:
Peter Hegseth at National Review Online calls it “a classy move,” while Rick Moran (brother of ABC’s Terry Moran) said, “the emotion that animated his face during this solemn, heart rending ceremony showed that he understands his responsibilities.”
Blue Texan offers photographic duct tape for Liz Cheney’s mouth: