At a House GOP retreat today in Cambridge, MA, Bush’s microphone was accidentally left on for a few minutes during what was intended to be a private session to discuss the domestic spying program, allowing the press to hear his remarks.

After six minutes of public remarks by the president, reporters were ushered out. "I support the free press, let's just get them out of the room," Bush said, intending to speak behind closed doors with fellow Republicans and take lawmakers' questions…

[J]ournalists back at the White House [were able to] eavesdrop on Bush's defense of the eavesdropping. His private statements were basically no different from what he's said in public.

"I want to share some thoughts with you before I answer your questions," Bush began. "First of all, I expect this conversation we're about to have to stay in the room. I know that's impossible in Washington."

He was right.
Anyone else think this sounds like a set-up? “Even in private, the president doesn’t change his story!” At least, you know, until the “mistake” was realized and the mics were turned off. That whole “I support the free press, let’s just get them out of room” bit seems to perfectly straddle a fine line between curt and rude, giving it the aura of genuine candor without really being something for which he could be criticized.

Maybe I just need a tinfoil hat, but considering that critics’ biggest complaint seems to be the appearance of something to hide—why circumvent FISA if it was all legit?—this just stinks of the trail of slime Rove’s grimy little fingerprints leave on everything he touches. Pathetic.

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