“Tonight we’ll be taking questions from “Stretch”, “Dolce”, “Poncho”, “Fine”, “Skippy”, the “Will-Meister”, “Junk in the Trunk”, “Peckerhead”, and “Fishlips”. The rest of you can just sit down and shut the hell up.”

On the eve of George Bush’s third Prime Time press conference it is worth remembering that a little over one year ago, the Dodgeball Champion-in-Chief held a press conference where the reporters who were allowed to ask questions were pre-selected:

March 7th, 2003, at an official press briefing, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer twice admitted under questioning that the President’s staff preselected which reporters to call, and the order, for the East Room Press Conference on the evening of March 6th, 2003. This Press Conference was President Bush’s eighth solo news conference since inauguration, and the second formally presented in the East Room during prime time.

Mr. Fleischer responded to a reporter’s query over a short gaffe in which the President was heard to say to a reporter, “You’ll be there in a moment,” upon which he then called CNN correspondent John King and remarked “…this is a scripted…[pause]”, after which an outburst of laughter from the press pool could be heard. The president then moved directly onto the next question.

So you have to wonder, with his withering poll numbers and the public’s increasing disatisfaction with his job performance, whether he’s going to take a chance with any “journalist” who’s not on his team.

Personally, I won’t be home in time to see the post-mortem, but I imagine Peggy Noonan will make her way onto Hardball where she will tell us how “masterful” Bush is and how he really has “grown in office and in stature”.

Later an MSNBC janitor will mop up under her chair.

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....