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White House puts spin on "The Commander Guy"


White House clarifies Bush's answer

By The Associated Press and Reuters

WASHINGTON The White House is trying to clarify something: President Bush is "a commander guy" but not "the commander guy."

Or something like that.

After a speech Wednesday, Bush took questions from his mostly friendly audience, including one on how to secure more positive stories in the media about the situation in Iraq. The president said those who believe in his policies need to speak out.

He then took a shot at Democratic congressional leaders who want to set a timeline for withdrawing troops, something he opposes.

Bush contended he had the authority to send the troops.

"The question is, who ought to make that decision?" Bush said, appearing before the Associated General Contractors of America. "The Congress or the commanders?"

Trouble developed over how he answered himself.

The White House transcript of the event released that day recorded Bush saying "I'm the commander guy." This had columnists and bloggers poking fun at what appeared to be a reference to his commander-in-chief status, one that recalled the president's "I'm the decider" statement a year ago when rumors about an administration shake-up abounded.

So the White House sprang into action to try to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino took to the podium Friday to clarify, while acknowledging that "you might find it a little strange."

"It's been reported that the president said, 'I'm the commander guy.' He did not. What I recalled was that he said 'I'm a commander guy,' meaning that he's one of the people that listens to the commanders on the ground," Perino said.

The White House released a corrected transcript and changed the one on the Web site.


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