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Webb: Reports Of Rude Exchange Bush’s Fault

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Webb, Bush off to shaky beginning

White House denies Sen.-elect’s claim of leaks after icy greeting

BY PETER HARDIN
Nov 30, 2006

WASHINGTON — Sen.-elect Jim Webb contends the Bush administration wants to paint him as a "hothead."

The former Navy secretary, whose election in Virginia put Democrats over the top in captur- ing the U.S. Senate, voiced that view yesterday.

A White House spokeswoman flatly denied Webb’s charge.

"That is not true. At all," said spokeswoman Dana Perino in an e-mail.

Webb confirmed published reports of an exchange at a private White House reception when he declined an invitation to be photographed with President Bush, and next declined to answer Bush’s question about his son stationed in Iraq.

He was told, Webb volunteered in an interview, that someone at the White House leaked a report of the episode, although he didn’t know if that was true.

"I think one of the strategies of the administration, it seems to be to try to say early on that I’m a hothead, you know, or that I can’t work in the political process, or whatever."

When informed of Webb’s remarks about a possible White House leak and a strategy to depict him negatively, White House spokeswoman Perino said, "None of it is true."

Webb pointed to a recent syndicated column by Robert Novak that suggested Webb was an old enemy of Robert Gates, Bush’s nominee for secretary of Defense.

"I don’t even know him," Webb said of Gates.

Webb said he holds "a great respect for the presidency — with a ‘y’ on the end," has worked as a committee staff lawyer in the House and for five years as an official at the Pentagon, four of them as a political appointee.

"So I know the drill. I’m looking forward to working with people in this administration. I’ve got good friends on the Republican side," added Webb, a former Republican.

Regarding the White House episode, Webb gave this account: He was attending a reception for newly elected senators, and he declined an invitation to be photographed with Bush. Webb was forthright in disagreeing with Bush on the campaign trail and called the Iraq war a "strategic blunder of historic proportions."

Afterward Bush approached him and offered, "Congratulations." Webb thanked the president and introduced his wife to the chief executive. Bush went on, "How is your boy?"

Webb, who notes that he wouldn’t talk during the campaign about his son stationed in Iraq, answered with a response something like, "I would like to see them come home."

Bush wasn’t deterred, saying, "I didn’t ask you that, I said how’s your boy."

Webb held firm. "It’s between me and my son. Me and my boy," he insisted.

Of Bush’s question, Webb said yesterday, "I think even he would probably understand that’s a little bit over the line." He said the question was not an easy one to answer "when your son’s in combat."

The White House did not comment on Webb’s characterization of the exchange…

It’s probably to the good.

Bush probably doesn’t really want to know how "penis mouth" Webb relates to his son.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, November 30th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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