Koppel Wonders If Bush Knew About Libby, Quips WH Staff Have “Irish Alzheimers”

<img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="/media/2005-11-11-CBSLSDLKoppel.jpg" />As Ted Koppel approaches his last <i>Nightline</i>, scheduled for next Tuesday, he's making a series of interview appearances in which he's been generally reticent about revealing too much about his political feelings. But he let a glimpse slip through Friday night on the <i>Late Show with David Letterman, </i>when asked about Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Koppel suggested that “if Karl Rove is involved in this, you know, do you naturally conclude at some point or another that the Vice President and possibly even the President may have known that this happened?&quot; Letterman displayed the common public view of those uninformed about Joe Wilson's shenanigans as he offered this description of Libby's actions: &quot;It suggests a level of pettiness heretofore unconsidered, doesn't it though?&quot; Koppel then delivered a quip with serious undertones: &quot;It suggests that a lot of people in the administration suffer from Irish Alzheimers -- you forget everything but the grudges.&quot; <p><b>Video</b> excerpt: <a href="/media/2005-11-11-CBSLSDLKoppel.rm">Real</a> or <a href="/media/2005-11-11-CBSLSDLKoppel.wmv">Windows Media</a>. (Transcript of the exchange follows.)</p>
<!--break-->From the Friday, November 11 <i>Late Show with David Letterman</i> on CBS (taped on Thursday, November 10): <br /><blockquote>David Letterman, on the Libby indictment: “Is this the beginning of even bigger trouble for the administration, or will this go away -- he'll be exonerated or he'll be convicted?”<br /><br />Ted Koppel: “The problem is, is that whether he is exonerated or convicted, and of course he is innocent until proven otherwise, that process-” <br /><br />Letterman: “Well, we know he did it [audience laughs, as do Koppel and Letterman]. I don't know. I'm so excited about getting to work now.” [applause]<br /><br />Koppel: “You're a bad guy. [scattered laughter] The problem is, it's going to take -- the problem for him and the problem for the Bush administration -- is this isn't going to be over in two or three months. I mean, that legal process will go on for quite a while and in the interim, you know, there's all that doubt. And the immediate doubt is, is Karl Rove going to be involved in this? If Karl Rove is involved in this, you know, do you naturally conclude at some point or another that the Vice President and possibly even the President may have known that this happened?”<br /><br />Letterman: “It suggests a level of pettiness heretofore unconsidered, doesn't it though?”<br /><br />Koppel: “It suggests that a lot of people in the administration suffer from Irish Alzheimers -- you forget everything but the grudges.”</blockquote>Both laugh.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center