CNN's Bash repeated debunked GOP talking point on Wilson

››› ››› JOE BROWN

On the July 14 edition of CNN's Inside Politics, White House correspondent Dana Bash repeated the GOP's false assertion that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV had claimed Vice President Dick Cheney sent him to Niger to investigate reports that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase yellowcake uranium there. In fact, Wilson never claimed Cheney sent him to Niger. Nevertheless, Bash reiterated the Republican talking point without telling viewers that it was bogus.

In an effort to deflect criticism of White House senior adviser Karl Rove, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has claimed that Rove leaked the identity of Wilson's wife, undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, in order to correct Wilson's false claim that Cheney's office had sent him to Niger. But the RNC supports this claim by distorting Wilson's July 2003 New York Times op-ed and his August 2003 appearance on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. In both instances, Wilson made clear that his trip was authorized by officials at the CIA, not Cheney.

From a discussion between Bash and host John King on the July 14 edition of Inside Politics:

KING: What does the White House think of Joe Wilson's stepping into the spotlight here?

BASH: They couldn't be happier, John. Politically, they were quite thrilled, actually, to see Joe Wilson come out today. Why? Because they think that he has a credibility problem, that if you go through the details of how this story started and where it is today, just the fact that if you go into why Karl Rove, they say, was calling Matt Cooper from Time magazine in the first place, it was to veer him off of the idea that the vice president was the one who sent Joe Wilson on this mission to Africa, and they say that turned out to be false. So they welcome the fact that Joe Wilson is here today.

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