Quotes from the article:
The President's Grand ElusionWorth a full read.
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 21, 2004; Page A05
President Bush, an old F-102 pilot, showed at yesterday's news conference that he has not forgotten his evasive maneuvers.
As he fielded questions on everything from Iranian nukes to presidential personnel, the often blunt and plainspoken president employed the full range of artful dodges.
For all the bobbing and weaving, yesterday's news conference hinted at an emerging new style for Bush. In his first 45 months in office, he had 15 full-fledged news conferences, fewer than any other postwar president. Bush, a stickler for discipline, didn't want to make unintended news, or to be embarrassed by an unexpected question, as when he was asked what his biggest mistake had been. But since his reelection, Bush has had two news conferences in as many months.
Bush is finding that, with some careful deflection of questions, he can hold a nearly hour-long news conference without serious gaffes or unintentionally making news.
When the inevitable question came about the doomed nomination of Bernard B. Kerik to be homeland security secretary, Bush deftly avoided any mention of Kerik's various personal problems and any hint that the White House's vetting process had failed.
"And so the lessons learned is: Continue to vet, and ask good questions," he said. Only the chuckle and shrug of the shoulders accompanying those words suggested there might be more to the story.