Bush to make statement on Georgia

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UPDATE #2 - When listing the number of interviews or press conferences, I overlooked Condi Rice’s interview with ABC News’ Charles Gibson on Tuesday night.

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UPDATE - Another change. The president’s statement will now take place at 11:15.

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President Bush will make a statement on the situation in Georgia at 11 a.m. today, the White House said.

Besides a 9-minute interview with NBC’s Bob Costas in Beijing on Monday, and a briefing in Beijing the day before, Mr. Bush and members of his administration have avoided answering any questions on-camera from reporters about Georgia’s war with Russia since the conflict began last Thursday evening.

Since Mr. Bush returned Monday evening from Beijing, the White House has conducted itself somewhat abnormally, scheduling a briefing Tuesday by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley that was then canceled, and failing to initially announce a time for the president’s statement on Wednesday morning.

Even off-camera, the White House has answered questions on the conflict only a few times since it began.  After Hadley’s briefing on Tuesday was cancelled, the regular midday on-camera session was not held. Press Secretary Dana Perino’s morning gaggle was cancelled Wednesday to make way for the president’s statement.

And when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke to reporters on Tuesday at the White House, she did not take any questions. Rice also canceled a press briefing Wednesday morning after it was decided that the president would make a statement.

The only two question-and-answer sessions I count from the White House, besides the president’s interview with Costas, are an on-camera briefing with Perino and two National Security Council officials on Sunday, and then a 15-minute off-camera gaggle with spokesman Tony Fratto on Tuesday morning.

 

Jon Ward, White House correspondent, The Washington Times

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