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Bush Defends, Explains Comment on DeLay
Yahoo News/AP
December 16, 2005

WASHINGTON President Bush said Friday his statement that former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was innocent of criminal charges in Texas was meant to signal confidence in the justice system and not to make a pronouncement about the individual case.

"The point I was making was 'innocent until otherwise proven,'" Bush said in an interview to Friday for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." "It's a belief in the system, and that's not always the way people are treated here in Washington as you know."

On Wednesday, Bush was asked on Fox News Channel whether he believed DeLay was innocent, and he replied, "Yes, I do."

Spokesman Scott McClellan said Thursday that Bush was exercising his "presidential prerogative" in commenting on the case.

DeLay, R-Texas, was forced to step down as the No. 2 House leader in late November after he was indicted on a state charge of conspiracy to violate election laws. A second grand jury indicted him on charges of conspiracy to launder money and money laundering. The initial charge has been dismissed, but a judge has let stand the later charges.

Bush was also asked Friday about the CIA leak case, in which a special prosecutor is examining whether anyone in the administration revealed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame in 2003.

Columnist Robert Novak, the first to reveal Plame's name in print, said this week he was confident that Bush knows who leaked the information. All Bush would say in response was: "I appreciate his bold assertion."

On another topic, Bush said he doesn't agree with a report from the former Sept. 11 Commission that accused the government of failing to make enough changes since the 2001 terrorist attacks to protect the country.

"I think this country is making good progress toward securing the country," Bush said.

Continuing its work as a private entity called the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, the panel said the Bush administration and Congress had not moved quickly enough to enact the majority of its recommendations of July 2004. It issued an assessment of the government's counterterror performance as a report card that gave failing grades in five areas and issued only one "A."

"They're right on some and they're wrong on others," Bush said.

As an example, he said the administration does not deserve the mediocre grade it got on dealing with Pakistan. The president said that securing Pakistan as an ally in the war on terror and against the Taliban in Afghanistan was a major step.

Bush opens his mouth and screws up. Nothing new. The hypocrisy factor is getting old, but what the hell. Preciously the Bush White House said it was inappropriate to comment on an ongoing indentation (CIA leak case), but now Bush is commenting on an ongoing investigation. Either he lied dozens of times about not commenting on the CIA case or he's lying now. No matter. He's an idiot and even his supports know it. The president should never say someone is innocent or guilty until after the investigation and trial are over. But more is no ordinary president. He's an idiot and a hypocrite.