Chris Wallace: Bush Is No Nixon
The "panel discussions" of Wonk Washington can be awfully tepid affairs -- maybe because they're not inviting Chris Wallace to enough of them.
After a screening of the new "Frost/Nixon" Monday, an A-listy panel (including director Ron Howard and author Jim Reston) began comparing Richard Nixon's misdeeds to George Bush's actions in the war on terrorism in casual we-all-agree-here style. The Fox News host jolted fellow audience members by sternly scolding the panel.
"It trivializes Nixon's crimes," Wallace said from his seat at the National Geographic theater. "Whatever George W. Bush did was after 9/11. . . and in service of trying to protect this country." Some applause, some boos from the media-political crowd.
Panelist Robert Dallek took the bait. "We historians look forward to having access to Bush's archives," he said, noting that the White House has tried to push back on records-keeping mandates "To make the judgment you make in such a confident way, we need to have the records."
Wallace: "You're making suppositions based on no facts whatsoever."
Dallek: "Oh, come on! You read the New York Times."
Ah, Nixon! Always gets the juices flowing. The flick, about David Frost's 1977 TV interviews with the ex-prez, stirred up everyone's feelings. Screenwriter Peter Morgan said he worried viewers might think Frost inflicted a mortal blow on Nixon when he got him to apologize for Watergate. "I have no doubt that within minutes, like with a science-fiction creature, the wound had healed."
The Reliable Source
December 2, 2008; 8:50 AM ET
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