Forget about Kerry, forget about everything bush says about Kerry. Just remember 9/11. You know exactly what you were doing and how you felt when the news hit. You remember that day very clearly. The president doesn't.
From The Center for Cooperative Research Time Line
8:50am: CIA Director Tenet is told of the first WTC crash while he is eating breakfast with his mentor, former Senator David Boren. Boren says Tenet is told that the WTC has been attacked by an airplane: “I was struck by the fact that [the messenger] used the word attacked.” Tenet then hands a cell phone back to an aide and says to Boren, “You know, this has bin Laden's fingerprints all over it.” [ ABC, 9/14/02 ] Another account has Tenet saying into the phone, “They steered the plane directly into the building?” Then he says to Boren, “That looks like Bin Laden.” In a reference to recently arrested Zacarias Moussaoui, he muses out loud, “I wonder if this has something to do with the guy who trained for a pilot's license.” [ Stern, 8/13/03 ]Why is Bush supposedly under the impression the crash was an accident well after Tenet has been told it was an attack? Does Tenet try to communicate with Bush at this time?
8:55-9:00am: Just after Bush arrives at Booker Elementary School and is briefly told of the WTC crash, he is whisked into a holding room and updated on the situation via telephone by National Security Advisor Rice. [ Christian Science Monitor, 9/17/01 ,Time, 9/12/01 ] Rice later claims, “He said, what a terrible, it sounds like a terrible accident. Keep me informed.” [ ABC News, 9/11/02 ]
School principal Gwen Tose-Rigell is then summoned to a room to talk with the President: “He said a commercial plane has hit the World Trade Center, and we're going to go ahead and go on, we're going on to do the reading thing anyway.” [ AP, 8/19/02 (D) ] One local reporter notes that at this point, “He could and arguably should have left Emma E. Booker Elementary School immediately, gotten onto Air Force One and left Sarasota without a moment's delay.” [ Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 9/12/01 (B) ]
Why doesn't he? Note that CIA Director Tenet has already been told it was terrorism and Bush certainly should have been told by Rice of the three known hijackings at this time, if he hasn't been told already. How could Bush continue to think there is only a single-plane accident?
Bush later makes the following statement: “And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower—the TV was obviously on, and I use to fly myself, and I said, ‘There's one terrible pilot.’ And I said, ‘It must have been a horrible accident.’ But I was whisked off there—I didn't have much time to think about it.” [ CNN, 12/4/01 ] He has repeated the story on other occasions. [ White House, 1/5/02 ,CBS, 9/11/02 ] However, it has been noted that Bush doesn't have access to a television until 15 or so minutes later. [ Washington Times, 10/7/02 ]
A Boston Herald article later says, “Think about that. Bush's remark implies he saw the first plane hit the tower. But we all know that video of the first plane hitting did not surface until the next day. Could Bush have meant he saw the second plane hit—which many Americans witnessed? No, because he said that he was in the classroom when Card whispered in his ear that a second plane hit.” The article points out that Bush had told the story more than once, and asks, “How could the commander-in-chief have seen the plane fly into the first building—as it happened?” [ Boston Herald, 10/22/02 ] A Bush spokesman later calls Bush's comments “just a mistaken recollection.” [ Wall Street Journal 3/22/04 ]
Mistaken recollection, indeed. Twice, he mistakenly recollected the same story and in public. I clearly remember the morning of 9/11 and the absolute terror we New Yorkers were feeling. I clearly remember wondering what the president was doing. It was reported on television shortly after the second plane hit that he was in Sarasota at a reading photo op and would give a statement after he was finished. I clearly remember thinking, WTF.
Either bush is mentally incompetant and thus unable to fulfill his duty as president of the United States or his people knew exactly what was happening and were trying to think of what they were going to say. Or both.
By the way, when Richard Clarke was allowed to be on the speaker phone, in the WH situation room after being continually cut off by Dick Cheney, Lynne Cheney insisted it be turned down because it was interrupting her viewing of CNN.