Hume reported Bush "has stopped using the phrase 'stay the course,' " ignored Rumsfeld's denial earlier that day, administration's previous flip-flops

››› ››› BEN FISHEL & KURT DONALDSON

On the October 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report, host Brit Hume stated that "President Bush has stopped using the phrase 'stay the course' after his critics successfully equated it in many people's minds with military inflexibility" and that "today, the top military brass, both in Iraq at the Pentagon" were "insist[ing] that U.S. forces are constantly adapting their approach." However, Hume did not note that the same day, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld stated on ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show that "of course" Bush is not backing away from "staying the course," as the weblog Think Progress documented. Hume also ignored previous reports that the White House was rejecting "stay the course" as a characterization of the administration's strategy in Iraq, even as Bush continued to use it, as Media Matters for America documented.

From the October 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: President Bush has stopped using the phrase "stay the course" after his critics successfully equated it, in many people's minds, with military inflexibility. But today, the top military brass, both in Iraq and at the Pentagon, were at pains to insist that U.S. forces are constantly adapting their approach to meet conditions on the ground.

From the October 24 edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

HANNITY: A lot of debate has now emerged over the phrase "stay the course" and what that actually means. Well, the president is backing away from staying the course.

RUMSFELD: Oh, that's nonsense.

HANNITY: He's not backing away from staying the course.

RUMSFELD: Of course not. You know, I suppose the concern was that it gave opponents a chance to say, "Well, he's not willing to make adjustments," and, of course, just the opposite is true. The old saying is that no war plan survives first contact with the enemy. Why? Because the enemy has a brain. So our battlefield commanders have been making adjustments continuously as the situation has evolved, as the nature of the enemy, the mix of the enemy has changed from time to time, and they're doing a very good job out there -- General [George] Casey and General [John] Abizaid. I think that they probably just said that what they wanted the correct impression to be is that yes, we see what the adjustments need to be, we're making those adjustments, and the, to the extent staying the course left the opposite impression, why, wanted people to fully understand what actually was the case.

HANNITY: How many days has the new government been, in effect, in place?

RUMSFELD: Less than a baseball season.

HANNITY: Yeah, 146, I think, was the days, somewhere in there.

RUMSFELD: Something like that, yeah.

HANNITY: You know because --

RUMSFELD: We're so impatient, you know, as a people.

HANNITY: It's a big part of it, isn't it?

RUMSFELD: It is. Impatience is a good thing in the sense that it makes people want to get things done. On the other hand, it can be -- it can lead you to wrong decisions.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, ABC Radio Networks
Person
Sean Hannity, Brit Hume
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume, The Sean Hannity Show
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