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Morning Report 12/24/04Ghosts of White House Present


Another year’s gone by, and Osama still hasn’t been called on the carpet

Santa probably won’t bring me National Lampoon alum Anne Beatts for Xmas. It’s been 30 years since I first heard of her, and I know her only from afar (that damn order of protection), but I can’t say she never writes. In fact, just this fall, she discovered some Children’s Letters to Osama, which you can read at Modern Mirth magazine.

Stalking stuffer: A letter to Osama bin Laden, forwarded by Anne Beatts in Modern Mirth

Yes, yes, I know. You tsk-tsk that Beatts is being so, so cynical.

This is what’s cynical: On December 21, 2001, barely two months after 9/11, George W. Bush welcomed reporters to the Oval Office (see photo). The official White House transcript (a particularly rich document I also used for a Bush Beat item in November) is titled:

    President Highlights Administration’s First-Year Accomplishments:

    Remarks by the President and Mrs. Bush on Showing New Carpet in the Oval Office

This is not a joke; it’s the unexpurgated White House photo caption:

President George W. Bush hosts a meeting in the Oval Office decorated with the new presidential rug on December 20, 2001. The rug, which is unique to the Bush administration, arrived earlier in the week and was unveiled to the media on Friday, December 21, 2001. Members from the Office of Homeland Security and other White House staff attended the meeting. The participants included (clockwise from the bottom), President George W. Bush, Governor Tom Ridge, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Admiral Steve Abbot, Karen Hughes, Dean McGrath, Karl Rove, Albert Hawkins, Mitch Daniels, Josh Bolton, and Andy Card. White House Photographer Paul Morse is at left. White House photo by Paul Morse.

Bush is the gift to journalists that just keeps on giving. Until it hurts. Like the following passage from the December 21, 2001, session with reporters:

    THE PRESIDENT: But all in all, it’s been a fabulous year for Laura and me. We’re so grateful to be living in this compound, and I’m grateful to be working in this office. It’s a joy to walk in here every morning, realizing that I’m the President of the greatest country on the face of the Earth.

    Anything you want to say?

    MRS. BUSH: Happy holidays to everybody. Very happy New Year.

    THE PRESIDENT: Why don’t you say something about the rug?

    MRS. BUSH: Do you want to hear more about the rug?

    REPORTER: Where was it made?

    THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Terry. (Laughter.)

    MRS. BUSH: It was made, actually, in New York. Edward Fields is the company. I went and watched as it was being made. They have—it was very interesting. They have huge racks the rug is up on, and then they developed this electric needle that sort of looks like a drill, and the yarn is actually sort of painted on with this electric drill.

    We took a long time working on the design of it, and the colors. We went back and forth several times with strike-offs on the colors until we got what we liked. I think it’s really pretty. They’ve done a beautiful job.

    In late January, we’re going to ask everyone who had to do with the Oval Office—Scalamandre, who made the couches and—the fabric on the couches; Brunschwig, the fabric on the drapes; the Drapery House, which is also out of New York, that made them. The museums that loaned these paintings from Texas. Tom Lea‘s widow, Sarah Lea. W.H.D. Koerner‘s son, who we found through Joey O’Neill, who loaned that painting to us. So we’ll ask you back at that time to meet all the people who had something to do with the decorating of the Oval Office.

    REPORTER: Mr. President, can we ask you—


    REPORTER: Do you think that perhaps the ceasefires and the talks about possible surrender negotiations gave bin Laden a chance to sneak out of Afghanistan or—

    THE PRESIDENT: Ron, I don’t know where he is. I haven’t heard much from him recently. And—which means he could be in a cave that doesn’t have an opening to it anymore, or could be in a cave where he can get out, or may have tried to slither out into neighboring Pakistan. We don’t know. But I will tell you this: We’re going to find him.

This is the Bush regime. This is the Bush regime on rugs.

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