Friday, January 21, 2005

Boxer vs. Rice

Senator Boxer took her best shot at Condoleezza Rice in the senate confirmation hearings on Wednesday and came up way short. Much has already been written about Boxer's feeble criticisms and outright misstatements, including here and here and here and here. That Senator Boxer could make so many factual errors while accusing Rice of lying is ironic to say the least. There is one little tidbit that I haven't seen written about, the charge that Rice contradicted herself and President Bush on the issue of the speed with which Sadaam could be expected to produce a nuclear bomb.

Let's look at the quotes in context. First President Bush's statement from his October 8, 2002 speech to the Cincinnati Museum Center. From the transcript:

If the Iraqi regime is able to produce, buy, or steal an amount of highly-enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball, it could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year.
(Emphasis mine)

Note that "if". It is pretty clear. Bush was not making a statement about Sadaam's current capability to produce nuclear weapons he was using this hypothetical scenario to illustrate a point (if we let the situation get out of hand, it could deteriorate very rapidly and something bad could happen.)

Now for Rice. Here is the transcript of Rice's interview on NewsHour. And the key quote:
Nobody ever said that it was going to be the next year, but the question was that if it was possible that he might have one by the end of the decade, and if it was possible, as the national intelligence estimate said, that if he acquired fissile material, it might be far sooner than that.
(Emphasis mine)

In that interview, Rice made a clear distinction between what she was saying and what President Bush had said.

Talk about a selective quote. If Boxer had just quoted the whole sentence it would have been readily apparent that Rice made a clear distinction between what she claimed nobody had said and what President Bush had actually said.

There is a point where quoting out of context goes from being an honest mistake and becomes a deliberate attempt to mislead. Senator Boxer has crossed that line.

2 Comments:

Blogger David Flanagan said...

Good points and I agree completely. As I mentioned on Blogcritics.org, Dr. Rice was a vehicle for Democratic frustrations and an opportunity to vent and gain some face time on national TV.

David

7:11 PM  
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