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White House: Never mind

People are still trying to figure out the Bush inaugural address. Liberals hate Bush but what's interesting is how nervous he made the conservatives. The "realists" don't like nation-building, the military is nearly tapped out, no one is eager to rush into another Iraq-type situation, and Sy Hersh is warning us that Iran is next. So the White House follows up Bush's big address by saying, wait, never mind, it's nothing new, he didn't really mean it, it was just fancy rhetoric, a restatement of principles. An unnamed official told the Post that it's not a "discontinuity" of existing policy, but might portend an "acceleration" of policy (parse that!). Then Bush 41 rushes in to reassure his realist buddies that we're not about to start invading the Pakistans of the world. It's a strange follow-up to an essentially successful (from Bush's standpoint) speech. Pay no attention to that man at the podium!

By Joel Achenbach  |  January 24, 2005; 11:16 AM ET
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