Conservative Radio hosts get talking points directly from Bush
The Republican party has launched a campaign to win back conservative radio stars who have "been turning against the administration on a variety of issues," and some of the biggest names (excepting the biggest) went to the White House for a presidential command performance last month, it was reported today 10/16/06. Big Story host John Gibson didn't make the cut but right-wing guest Mike Gallagher did.
Sean Hannity was among the invited elite who got their last-minute pep talk directly from the horse's mouth (some say it's the other end). Other invitees were Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Michael Medved.
Gallagher was, of course, effusive in his admiration and praise of Bush. If only we, the audience, could have the personal experience we too would become believers, we'd admire him as much as they do and see him as a remarkable guy and great president. In his gushing Gallagher said the experience was remarkable and life changing, and Bush was "so sharp, so with it." Gallagher has no doubt in his heart or mind that in Bush's every waking moment he is concerned about how to keep America safe from another terror attack.
Note: Three times during the discussion, twice from Gallagher and once from Gibson, it was noted that some conservative radio hosts were critical of Bush on taxes and the progress of the war. As Gibson put it, "there has been, shall we say, a loosening of discipline." Gibson asked Gallagher why we shouldn't look at it as Bush calling them in to say "shape up, you're supposed to be on my side!" Gallagher protested that they are "like a family" - they don't always agree but they "support the president unequivocally on terrorism, on taxes."
Gallagher was a little more forthcoming to the New York Times, who printed an article today revealing the secret meeting. Gallagher said "“This was clearly, clearly an effort to kind of rally the troops when the troops need rallying.”
More from the New York Times article :
For an hour and a half, Mr. Bush discussed his case for the war in Iraq, his immigration proposals...(snip)
The meeting, which was not announced on the president’s public schedule, was part of an intensive Republican Party campaign to reclaim and re-energize a crucial army of supporters that is not as likely to walk in lockstep with the White House as it has in the past.
And Mr. Bush granted an on-camera interview to Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel. The first of three parts ran Monday night.
(Mr. Limbaugh said that he met with Mr. Bush and Karl Rove, the president’s chief strategist, in the Oval Office in June, but generally tried to keep his distance to maintain independence.)
“You want to make sure that your friends are friendly,” said Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, who has been crucial to the effort and who was a conservative radio host who turned harshly critical of Mr. Bush just months before he went to work for him last spring.
“When conservatives are agitated at the president, radio hosts feel pressured to stand with the conservatives against the president to prove their independence,” said Tim Graham, an analyst at the Media Research Center, a conservative news monitoring group. But, Mr. Graham said, “realizing what life would be like if we lost the House is concentrating people’s minds.”
The White House and the Republican National Committee are hammering home that point in interviews, talking-point bulletins and a healthy dollop of pomp that only a White House can provide.
Mr. Snow said that while “any party has its
disagreements,” there was little division among Republicans on
the top two issues Mr. Bush has tried to push this year: terrorism and
The effort will peak on Oct. 24, when the administration will hold something of a talk-radio summit meeting, inviting dozens of hosts to set up booths on the White House grounds, where top cabinet officials are expected to sit for interviews.
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