First Lady: Media 'Enjoying' Playing Up the President's Bad Approval Numbers

In an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos aired on Sunday's This Week, First Lady Laura Bush rejected the notion the media are “unfair” to her husband, but citing how the press puts low approval polls on the front page and how those she meets around the nation aren't nearly as downbeat as the media portray, she charged that “I think they're maybe enjoying this a little bit. I mean, that's what it seems like.” To which Stephanopoulos, surprised by the suggestion, exclaimed: "Enjoying it?" Mrs. Bush elaborated: "That's what it seems like a little when I read it in the paper. Because it isn't really what I see everywhere. I mean, I travel all around our country. I go to every part of our country, and what I see is that Americans are standing with our troops. They want them to succeed. They want them to be successful. They want the Iraqi people to be successful. They want the people in Afghanistan to be successful, and they want to rebuild the Gulf Coast. I mean, that's what I see everywhere in our country."

The relevant exchange on the May 14 This Week, from the interview pre-taped at the White House:
George Stephanopoulos: “How about inside the White House? How do you see your role? And has there ever been a moment particularly in the last year where you've woken up and said, 'you know what, we've got to get a handle on this, we have to turn things around'?”

Laura Bush: “Well, sure, of course, I wake up and think that a lot when I see the bad poll numbers on the front page of the newspaper. I didn't, back when poll numbers were good, I don't think they put them on the front page but now the bad ones are there.”

Stephanopoulos: “You think the press is unfair?”

Laura Bush: “No, I don't think it's necessarily unfair. I think it's just, you know, I think they're maybe enjoying this a little bit. I mean, that's what it seems like.

Stephanopoulos, taken aback: “Enjoying it?”

Laura Bush: “That's what it seems like a little when I read it in the paper. Because it isn't really what I see everywhere. I mean, I travel all around our country. I go to every part of our country, and what I see is that Americans are standing with our troops. They want them to succeed. They want them to be successful. They want the Iraqi people to be successful. They want the people in Afghanistan to be successful, and they want to rebuild the Gulf Coast. I mean, that's what I see everywhere in our country.”
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