Sunday, December 12, 2004

The Fine Art of Questioning Bush

If you had one question to ask Bush, what would it be? I had pondered this question and was glad to see this article on how the reporters do it. Ideally, you need a question where no matter how he answers it, it tells you something. If he answers yes it means something, if he answers no it means something and if he won't answer it it means something.

CNN's John King said a rookie mistake is to ask convoluted questions, allowing Bush to answer only the part he wants to.

Every now and then, though, the press has its day. The master is John Dickerson of Time magazine, who has knocked Bush off script so many times that colleagues have coined a term for cleverly worded, seemingly harmless, but incisive questions: "Dickersonian."

He once asked Bush whether Muslims worship the same Almighty as Christians. (Bush said they did, prompting a stir among evangelicals.)
Excellent question. If he answers yes, he upsets the evangelicals, no he gets the Muslims madder at us (if that is possible) and deferring the question makes him look weak.
In April, Dickerson asked one of the most famous questions of Bush's presidency: "In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You've looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?"
Another great question. Bush went for the defer option and looked like a man who couldn't admit a mistake. Had he answered yes, he would have had to admit a mistake, and had he said no he would have looked even worse.

via The Seattle Times

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