New York Times chief military correspondent Michael Gordon asserted that "President Bush did listen to his generals over the past year and a half, and he did as -- implement the strategy that General [George W.] Casey [Jr.] advocated, and it didn't work." Fox News host Fred Barnes asserted that "the president is not doing what his commanders on the ground have urged, mainly because their policy has failed." But these assertions ignore reporting that Bush had been determining troop levels in Iraq and has "never left the decision to commanders."
Tim Russert let Newt Gingrich claim, without challenge, that the Internal Revenue Service "said there was nothing wrong" with funding a college course he had taught with tax-deductible donations. However, in its final report, the IRS wrote that "if the [House] Ethics Committee had rendered full cooperation with our examination, the transcripts might have affected our conclusion."
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On Meet the Press, host Tim Russert let former Reagan adviser Ken Adelman assert without challenge that "no one knew" that intelligence indicating Iraq had weapons of mass destruction "wasn't true" prior to the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. In fact, members of the intelligence community, including senior CIA analysts, challenged the accuracy of the intelligence that Iraq had WMDs.
Meet the Press host Tim Russert failed to challenge Sen. John McCain on the feasibility of his call for sending more U.S. troops to Iraq and his statement that "[w]e're either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months." Russert also failed to note that at the time McCain made a 2005 statement that ethanol mandates are "harmful" and "will result in higher gasoline costs for states," the price of oil had risen past the threshold at which McCain had previously claimed that ethanol mandates "make sense."
During a debate between Maryland Senate candidates, Tim Russert read conflicting comments about the war in Iraq made by GOP candidate Michael Steele, but he failed to prompt Steele to explain the contradictory statements. An Associated Press story about the debate did not note the conflicting comments that Russert read, nor did it mention Steele's assertion that he believes the war has been "worth it."
On Meet the Press, Tim Russert cited a Barron's report that predicts Republicans will retain both the House and the Senate in the November midterms. Barron's predicted the outcome by determining "which candidate had the largest campaign war chest," adding, "We ignore the polls," and claimed that its "method" of predicting election outcomes in the past has "certainly" been reliable. Barron's gave no indication, however, that its method has changed in each of the last three election cycles and, in past elections, has included the use of polling data.