Bush Notes Dowd’s ‘Emotional’ Critique of War — With His Son About to Join Fight

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By: E&P Staff

At his press conference today, President Bush joined two of his chief spokesmen in suggesting that one’s views of the Iraq war can be strongly influenced or even changed if you happen to have a child who is joining the battle there.

Matthew Dowd, who directed the president’s re-election bid in 2004, had told The New York Times for an article on Sunday that his son was about to be deployed to Iraq — and partly for that reason he now opposed U.S. policy there and backs a withdrawal.

Bush said today, “Matthew’s case, as I understand it, is obviously intensified because his son is deployable. In other words, he’s got a son in the U.S. armed forces and — I mean, I can understand Matthew’s concerns.”

Critics of the war in Iraq have long charged that supporters of the war might feel differently about if they had a a son or daughter fighting in, or possibly headed for, that conflict. Surveys have shown that very few war supporters in Congress, the White House or serving as officials or campaign directors have children in the military and even fewer in the war.

Two leading Bush spokespersons — Dan Bartlett on Sunday and Dana Perino at her press briefing today — have since suggested that Dowd’s disenchantment with their man stems partly from “personal” reasons and “emotions.” Bush joined that angle today, attributing Dowd’s criticism on the war to to an “emotional” reaction.

Both Perino and Bartlett had noted that part of Dowd’s change in views has to be attributed to having a son getting ready to risk his life in a very difficult war. Bartlett said, “That can only impact a parent’s mind when they work through these issues.” Perino said, “I can only imagine that that affects a parent’s thinking.”

Of course, this was the point made by the antiwar types for years: That perhaps if more war supporters were in Dowd’s position they might be less willing to send so many into such danger.

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