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Jon Lovitz, Bush's Other Brain

by Steve Young

The old, "Yeah, that's what I meant" schtick
Jon Lovitz, Bush's Other Brain
The mastermind behind White House policy?
In light of the recent announcements by many in the Bush administration that, "the president should not have used that piece of intelligence (Iraq's attempt to buy uranium from Niger) in his State of the Union address," and in hopes of clearing his legacy completely, former President Bill Clinton has issued a statement, "I should not have had sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky."

Well, that should clear that up.

An absurd supposition? Why? If a sitting president can wipe the slate clean at a time when he was trying to convince the American people that invading Iraq was in our national security interests and mislead the country into a war where our men and women as well as thousands of Iraqi civilians would die, certainly an admission of having sex should put an end to the diatribe that still fills the AM dial.

It seems like the entire administration is in lockstep over this little "oversight."

Donald Rumsfeld testified in front of a congressional hearing this week saying that he just found out about the Niger report being false in the last couple days. And he said it with a straight face.

Is Saturday Night Live alum Jon Lovitz, running this administration?

Yeah, I, uh, didn't know about the forgery until just this week. I, uh, was out of the office and forgot to read any CIA reports or newspapers over the past year. Yeah, that's the ticket."

Then on this ABC's Sunday morning "This Week," Rumsfeld said that he meant he had heard about it a few weeks ago. Pressed, he said the weeks actually add up to four months.

Four week, yeah, that's what I meant. Y'see, in the Defense Department, saying "couple" means, um, "four" and "days" means "months." Yeah, that's what I meant."

This comedy bit gets even better. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who first said that the President using the statement, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," was a mistake, followed it up a day later by saying "the statement that he made was indeed accurate."

Yeah, when I said "mistake, I was saying that it was, uh, an "accurate mistake." You're allowed to do that when you're a president because, uh, all the Presidents are doing it. Yeah, that's what I meant."

Being that it is the British who are saying that the statement is true Rice was asked whether she or her colleagues in the administration had seen additional British evidence. To that Rice said: "The British have reasons, because of the arrangements that they made, apparently, in receiving those sources, that they cannot share them with us. We have every reason to believe that the British services are quite reliable."

Yuh. President Bush shares all the security-privileged information that lead Blair and the English to become our warring comrades in Iraq, and when the Bush administration becomes embroiled in as large a potential scandal as this has become, Blair refuses to share the information that would clear up the matter for his bud tout de suite because of his country's "arrangements. Even Lovitz would have a hard time waxing that's the ticket on this one.

And the jokes keep on keepin' on. Rice does Harry Truman proud when she passes the righteous buck saying that it was the CIA that cleared Bush's State of the Union speech in its entirety, including a sentence alleging that Iraq was seeking to buy nuclear material from Africa.

"If the CIA -- the director of central intelligence -- had said take this out of the speech -- it would have been gone," Rice said. "We have a high standard for the president's speeches." Rice also added, "I'm not blaming anyone here."

Well, I'm sure CIA Director George Tenet is breathing a sigh of relief. Now all he has to do is to come up with a Lovitz-inspired rational for missing that small detail.

My, uh, dog ate the speech. Yeah, that's it. I forgot to feed him that day and he's really fond of misinformation. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Another one of the administration's "Whose Line Is It Anyway" wannabe's, Secretary of State Colin Powell, who only eight days after the State of the Union, when addressing the United Nations, deliberately left out any reference to Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Africa. "There was no effort or attempt on the part of the president or anyone else in the administration to mislead or to deceive the American people," said Powell. "I didn't use the uranium at that point because I didn't think that was sufficiently strong as evidence to present before the world."

Yeah, that's it. I didn't tell it to the world because the world is, uh, a lot more important than the citizens of the United States. Yeah, that's the ticket..

Powell said he also read the State of the Union speech before it was delivered and understood it had been seen and cleared by the intelligence community

CIA officials say they warned members of the president's National Security Council staff that the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa. Even so, Tenet has an extenuating excuse, er, um, circumstance too. Intelligence officials say Tenet never saw the final draft of the State of the Union.

Yeah, I heard of it. But, uh, I was really busy with the, uh, spy, Bond thing. Y'know. Tenet, George Tenet. Yeah, that's the ticket.

And finally, what of the star of this hilarious sketch. Besides throwing the blame on the CIA and Tenet, President Bush said, "There's going to be, you know, a lot of attempts to try to rewrite history, and I can understand that. But I'm absolutely confident in the decision I made."

"Rewrite history?" Who's doing the rewriting? Isn't "rewriting history" something someone does when he takes the truth and twists it until it comes out sounding like whatever he needs to accomplish his own objective?

Steve Young is a Prism Award winner and a Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing and is author of "Great Failures Of The Extremely Successful" (Tallfellow Press). His last contribution to the Monitor was Condit/Levy: We Do It All For You

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Albion Monitor July 14, 2003 (

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