CNN's Henry: Bush speech quoting bin Laden "may help shake Americans out of any complacency they may feel"

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On September 5, both CNN's Ed Henry and the Associated Press' Merrill Hartson reported that President Bush's September 5 speech regarding the fight against terrorism was an attempt to fight American "complacency."

On September 5, both CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry and Associated Press writer Merrill Hartson reported that President Bush's September 5 speech addressing Iraq and the fight against terrorism was an attempt to fight American "complacency." On the September 5 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, Henry said, "President Bush today ... taking the extraordinary step of quoting [Osama] bin Laden's own words in letters to followers, as well as what he called grisly Al Qaeda manuals, to dramatize just how potent the terror group is right now ... [which] may help shake Americans out of any complacency they may feel almost five years after 9-11." And in a September 5 AP article, Hartson wrote, "President Bush used terrorists' own words Tuesday to battle complacency among Americans about the threat of future attack, defending his record as the fall campaign season kicks into high gear." Neither Henry nor Hartson cited any support for their suggestions of American complacency.

From the September 5 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

WOLF BLITZER [anchor]: In the run-up to the 9-11 anniversary and the midterm elections, President Bush today offered a counterterror scorecard. He claimed success, saying the terror network is being kept off balance. But is Al Qaeda staying a step ahead? Citing chilling quotes from the terrorists themselves, the president concedes that America is, quote, "not yet safe."

Democrats today claim that America is less safe than it was five years ago, and they count more failures than successes in the Bush administration's national security strategy. Topping their list and their campaign agenda: the war in Iraq. Our congressional correspondent Andrea Koppel is standing by on Capitol Hill. Let's go to the White House first. Ed Henry standing by with the latest from there. Ed.

HENRY: Wolf, nearly five years after vowing he'd get Osama bin Laden dead or alive, President Bush today acknowledged the terrorist is a major threat all around the world, taking the extraordinary step of quoting bin Laden's own words in letters to followers, as well as what he called grisly Al Qaeda manuals, to dramatize just how potent the terror group is right now -- a delicate balancing act for this president. On one hand, this may help shake Americans out of any complacency they may feel almost five years after 9-11 and politically, it's almost like a page ripped right out of the Karl Rove playbook that worked in 2002 and 2004, but this also, on the other hand, could play into the Democrats' hands, 'cause it's a mixed bag. The administration releasing today an updated "National Strategy for Combating Terrorism" that says Al Qaeda may be degraded but it is still, quote, "dangerous." And also, then, in his speech, the president saying Al Qaeda has been weakened, but then seeming to elevate bin Laden by comparing him to Adolf Hitler.

BUSH [clip]: Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is: Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say? America and our coalition partners have made our choice. We are taking the words of the enemy seriously. We are on the offensive. We will not rest. We will not retreat, and we will not withdraw from the fight until this threat to civilization has been removed.

From Hartson's September 5 AP article, "Bush Reminds Americans U.S. Is at War":

President Bush used terrorists' own words Tuesday to battle complacency among Americans about the threat of future attack, defending his record as the fall campaign season kicks into high gear.

Bush said that despite the absence of a successor on U.S. soil to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the terrorist danger remains potent.

"Bin laden and his terrorist's allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them," the president said before the Military Officers Association of America and diplomatic representatives [sic] other countries that have suffered terrorist attacks. "The question is 'Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?' "

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Terrorism
Network/Outlet
CNN, Associated Press
Person
Ed Henry
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
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