Hi. I'm Bill O'Reilly, thanks for watching us tonight, the issue that might sink President Bush. That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo."
If it were a popularity contest, I believe President Bush would roll over John Kerry as most Americans see Mr. Bush as a regular guy and don't really know what to make of the senator.
The polls show that the president's support is more fervent than the senator's but millions of Americans do dislike Mr. Bush and are voting against him rather than for Kerry. But this election will be decided by non-ideological people, independent and distracted voters who are swayed more by perception than reality. President Bush has an intelligence problem, not his own. He is a smart guy, no matter what the nutty left says.
But on his watch, U.S. intelligence has let us down three times: failing to stop 9/11, faulty analysis on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and a bumbling plan to pacify Iraq after Saddam fell. Those three catastrophes and they are that, have hurt America badly.
The question is do we hold Mr. Bush responsible? I say no on 9/11 and WMD's, no sitting president, I believe, could have known what would happen in those situations based upon the CIA's nonperformance on 9/11 and disastrous prediction regarding WMD's. But the aftermath of Iraq is troubling. Enough people, including Secretary of State Powell and Brent Scowcroft, foreign policy advisor to Bush the elder, warned the president that Iraq could be a perfect chaotic storm.
Mr. Bush preferred to believe other analysts, many from the already- discredited CIA who told him the Iraqi people would be with the USA. Some of them are but most have not helped us out. So the president is essentially tied with John Kerry with 13 days to go. If the aftermath of Iraq had gone well, Mr. Bush would be up by 10 or more points, I believe.
But now it comes down to you, whether you believe the president has learned from past mistakes or not. John Kerry has not offered much on Iraq or the terrorism front. So it all comes down to whether we the people think the president has learned enough in this very trying time to protect us in the future.
That's the "Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
We thought we'd give the pro-Kerry Hollywood people equal time, just to be fair and balanced.
Ridiculous? It depends on your political point of view, and we have issued an open invitation to Mr. Damon to come in here like his pal, Ben Affleck, did, and he can bring the mill, and we'll spread it around and have a good time.