Today Accentuates the Negative of NIE

While the Today show noted there was some good news for the Bush side in the declassified NIE report they spent most of their time emphasizing the negative. Today host Matt Lauer, in an interview with William Bennett, stressed the portion of the NIE report most likely to hurt Bush, highlighted a poll of Iraqis to push the Democratic line of early withdrawal and then quoted Hillary Clinton's most recent attack on the administration.

At the top of the show Lauer opened: "On Tuesday the President declassified parts of an intelligence report that's both good and bad news for the administration. While it claims that a victory in Iraq would demoralize the terrorists it also says the war there has strengthened the jihadist movement."

Then during the 7am half-hour Lauer wondered if the NIE report could hurt Republicans as he asked Bennett: "Let's talk about this National Security Estimate 2006. Classified, leaked, now declassified. Some good news for the administration in here but here's what's getting a lot of attention. Quote, 'The Iraq conflict has become the cause celebre for the jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.' How bad is this intelligence, Bill, when the Bush administration goes to the voters in five weeks and says, 'are you safer today than you were before we took control?'"

Just a little bit later Lauer asked Bennett to comment on the results of a recent poll of Iraqis: "Let me go to something in the Washington Post today. These are results from State Department polling, Bill. These are questions being asked to Iraqis living in Baghdad. The question of, 'Would you feel safer if U.S. forces and other foreign forces were to leave Iraq?' Nearly three-quarters of Iraqis in Baghdad said they would feel safer. 65 percent said they wanted immediate pull-out of those forces. What do you do with those results if you're the President?"

Before ending the interview Lauer couldn't let Bennett go before citing Hillary's 9/11 slam of Bush:

"In, in the time I have left, which by the way isn't a lot, let me ask you about for, for a couple of years it seemed like we had the Clintons and the Bushes - scene out of Woodstock. A little bit of a love fest with 41 and Bill Clinton hanging out together. All of a sudden it's the Hatfields and McCoys with Hillary Clinton saying, in response to this whole Osama Bin Laden, 9/11 thing, 'I'm certain that if my husband had been showed a classified report entitled: 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the U.S.' he would've taken it more seriously than the Bush team.' Where's this going?"

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.