The Daily Show, July 13th
JON STEWART: I want to start tonight with a bombshell finding by a Senat committee that the intelligence gathered in the months before the Iraq war was [pauses, laughs] horrendously flawed. To many, it has raised questions as to whether the Iraq war was justified. Well, yesterday in a 32 minute speech in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, President Bush mentioned a phrase 8 times in 32 minutes that served as a powerful rebuttal to the naysayers.
BUSH: Today because America helped to end the violent regime of Saddam Hussein, and because we're helping to raise a peaceful democracy in its place, the American people are safer.
JS: Oh. Oh good! We're safer. That's why we did it, because America is safer. Granted, some have said that iraq now is a bigger breeding ground for anti-American groups, and even Tom Ridge has said that Al Qaeda plans to attack us before the election, so some might think we're less safe. But...
BUSH: The American people are safer.
JS: Well, he said it again. That was his second time. So, you know, even Bush's own State Department released a report that, uh, once that report was de-****ed up, it said that there were more terrorist attacks last year than at almost any point since it's been tracked.
BUSH: And the American people are safer.
JS: Okay, but let me ask you this, just for schnicks between the two of us. What criteria are you using to prove that. I mean, what evidence is there, other than you saying it?
BUSH: The American people are safer. ...And the American people are safer. ...The american people are safer. ...And the American people are safer.
JS: So, basically, what it comes down to is this: The Bush administrations strategy to fight terrorism is repetition. You know what? Give us one final America is safer, and this time, give it a flourish that says stop questioning me about any of this.
BUSH: And America, and the world, are safer.
JS: Boom! Nicely done. Alright, on the subject of security, as you know, last week Homeland Security Director Thomas Ridge appeared ata press conference to tell us this.
TOM RIDGE: Credible reporting now indicates that Al Qaeda is moving forward with its plans to carry out a large scale atack in the United States, in an effort to disrupt our democratic process.
JS: [zombie-like] American people are safer. Yes, [unintelligible] they're planning an attack to disrupt our democratic process. It's scary, I know, but we're not going to let Al Qaeda tell us what to do. In fact, our government has decided if Al Qaeda tries to disrupt our democratic process, we're going to respond. By disrupting it first.
This week's Newsweek reports that DeForest Soaries, Chairman of the US Elections Assistance Commission recently sent a letter to Tom Ridge, urging him to make contingency plans in the event of a terrorist attack on, or right before an election day. In response, Ridge has asked the Justice Department to see what legal steps the federal government could take to postpone the election.
Just floatin' it out there. A little trial ballon. Spitballin' the idea. That the President of the United States could, under centain circumstances, declare himself Caesar.
But, before we overreact, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice was on Wolf Blitzer last night [quote below from this CNN transcript] and I'm sure she's got a perfectly good explanation as to why the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are looking into suspending elections they have no jurisdiction over.
BLITZER: All right. Well, I just asked the question because there is this formal request for these contingency plans which has generated some concern.
RICE: Wolf, I don't know where that comes from. The Department of Homeland Security and our Justice Department are not certain where this has come from and exactly what people are talking about. The important point is we believe elections will go on as planned. We've done it before in this country. There is no reason to think anything else.
JS: You don't know where it comes from? Oh, let me fill you in. This guy here is DeForest Soaries [picture of Soaries], he heads the US Elections Assistance Commission. Your boss appointed him, here they are together [picture of Bush and Soaries shaking hands.] Ok. Then he wrote a letter to another guy [picture of Tom Ridge], I believe your boss appointed that guy too, who contacted the Justice Department [picture of John Ashcroft]. And that's where it came from. I can see why you're confused [picture of Rice], I meant this is a question of national security, and you're only, the uh, [pause] National Security Advisor.