Cook The President's numbers were already sliding due to Iraq and gasoline and this just is another big hit. ... To repair perceived damage over the initial federal response Washington is throwing billions at the problems. Plus the administration's top officials have become frequent flyers to the disaster zone and the President has even been the face on smaller details with his how-to-guide on reaching FEMA.
Reached later, Master Sergeant Corine Lombardo said the soldiers had discussed their answers, but knew what they wanted to say, and practiced to appear articulate before the Commander-in-Chief. And a top spokesman for the Department of Defense also put out a statement trying to further clarify what happened. Saying in part text on screen 'No one intended to tell them what to think or how to express themselves. Going through likely questions in advance was meant solely to help the troops feel at ease. We certainly regret any perception that they were told what to say. It is not the case.' Still, what has happened with this is it has been a distraction from the message the White House wanted to give, and that was to highlight tomorrow's vote. Katie
Good morning, Katie. Now in advance of tomorrow's referendum vote in Iraq, the White House held this event and described it as a way to highlight that milestone and to thank the troops. Now in addition to the President talking about U.S. policy there, they handed the microphone to soldiers and that's the part that got interesting. A question-and-answer session via satellite.