Hume and The Man
Expect, insofar as people watched Brit Hume’s interview of Bush on Fox, Bush to get a bump in the otherwise southerly-trending polls. I watched only the last half hour, but Bush sounded about as smart and eloquent as I can imagine him ever sounding (note: this evaluation is relative to Bush’s usual speaking style, not an absolute statement). He smirked occasionally at somewhat inappropriate times, but otherwise came across well. Look for Saffire and similar hacks to describe his treatment of Chirac and Schroeder as magnanimous.
On the other hand, Bush was helped a lot by Hume’s friendly questioning. It wasn’t so much softball as T-Ball.
On a related note, I heard on NPR and elsewhere that the rumors are that Bush’s upcoming UN speech will be more demanding, almost rude, than polite and subdued (see, e.g., this and this)–reportedly, the president will basically again say to the UN, “If you want to be relevant, you have to give money and troops.” The implied message being, “otherwise, screw you.” I’m not sure I believe the hype, though. It smells more like an effort to push expectations down so it will be easier to claim success if the speech comes off even remotely well.
P.S. Here’s an amusing exchange:
HUME: How do you get your news?
BUSH: I get briefed by Andy Card and Condi in the morning. They come in and tell me. In all due respect, you’ve got a beautiful face and everything.
I glance at the headlines just to kind of a flavor for what’s moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves. But like Condoleezza, in her case, the national security adviser is getting her news directly from the participants on the world stage.
HUME: Has that been your practice since day one, or is that a practice that you’ve…
BUSH: Practice since day one.
BUSH: Yes. You know, look, I have great respect for the media. I mean, our society is a good, solid democracy because of a good, solid media. But I also understand that a lot of times there’s opinions mixed in with news. And I…
HUME: I won’t disagree with that, sir.