Did Reid call Pace “incompetent” or didn’t he? Update: Politico stands by story

posted at 7:12 pm on June 14, 2007 by Allahpundit

Lefty blogger Bob Geiger was on the conference call and has what he says is the verbatim quote. And after having read it … I’m still not sure.

Reid was talking informally about George W. Bush’s refusal to dump Alberto Gonzales and told us what he said to Pace in a private meeting before Bush tossed aside the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff like a rotting fish.

Here’s exactly what Reid said:

“I guess the president, uh, he’s gotten rid of Pace because he could not get him confirmed here in the Senate… Pace is also a yes-man for the president and I told him to his face, I laid it out to him last time he came to see me, I told him what an incompetent man I thought he was.”

[I]n the context in which it was said — and based on Reid’s tendency to speak like the straight-talking, former boxer that he is — it all makes sense. And to those of us not looking for a Matt Drudge-worthy story, it hardly seemed remarkable.

Was he calling Bush incompetent? I.e., “I told him what an incompetent man I thought he was” = “I told Pace what an incompetent man I thought Bush was”? John Bresnahan, who wrote the story for Politico this morning, may have heard the quote and gotten confused about who was meant by that second “he.” I was confused too after the first read-through. In fact, I’m still confused because Geiger prefaces that excerpt by saying:

[T]hose of us who actually participated in the conference call heard the context in which Senator Reid made his comments. What he said about Pace was not said in the spirit of throwing some rhetorical red meat to a bunch of liberal bloggers by gratuitously bashing General Pace — which is certainly what one could infer from The Politicos “reporting” on this story.

And after the excerpt:

[M]ost Americans would probably use much stronger words than “incompetent” to describe the people who have helped Bush conduct this disastrous war and who have, by commission or omission, assisted in misleading the American people about how badly things are going.

Harry Reid talks every day about the thousands of American military dead and the tens of thousands wounded as a result of the Bush administration’s lies and incompetence. What he told us on that call was that he had the character to tell one of the principles in this mess exactly what he thought right to his face.

The boldfaced parts make me think Reid was calling Pace incompetent, which Geiger naturally finds to be A-OK because (a) he agrees with him, as doubtless do most of the nutroots, and (b) he had the guts to say it to Pace’s face, which redeems the insult by removing it from the realm of gossipy backbiting with bloggers. Unlike, say, calling Pace a “yes-man.”

Or maybe Reid did mean Bush and Geiger’s simply saying that the term would apply just as well to Pace.

So which is it? TPM Cafe looked high and low and, curiously, couldn’t find any lefty bloggers who remembered Reid saying anything along these lines. Odd how a dramatic anecdote about the Senate majority leader telling the Chairman of the JCS to his face that he considers either him or the president “incompetent” didn’t register in anyone’s consciousness except Geiger’s. Equally curious is Reid declining the opportunity to angrily deny the Politico story when asked about it at a press conference this afternoon. Read the report; he sounds like a guy who doesn’t remember exactly what he said, but thinks he might very well have said it and figures he’d better leave well enough alone. Note the bit too about him telling Pace “to his face” that he hadn’t done a very good job. That jibes with what Geiger says and makes me think he was talking about Pace during the conference call.

Oh, and he also said of Petraeus’s optimistic comments this morning, it “gives you a feeling that he’s not in touch with what is really going on in Iraq or just trying to make the president feel good.” And then there’s this, which I’m not seeing reported anywhere except Fox at the moment:

Asked if Reid considered Petraeus competent, Reid responded, “Not as far as I’m concerned.”

Do they mean Petraeus or Pace? If the former, it wouldn’t surprise.

Politico will probably have a follow-up on this in a few hours. Standby.

Update: Captain Ed talked to Bresnahan. No follow-up is coming, but they stand by their story.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Wow. I think I’ll have to wait for John Kerry to confirm what he really meant.

Spirit of 1776 on June 14, 2007 at 7:15 PM

I wouldn’t put it past Reid to say something as stupid and vile. He’s done it before and he can’t wait to do it again. Pandering to the nutroots.

Kini on June 14, 2007 at 7:19 PM

Either way, I’d still oblige to kick Reid in the @ss.

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 7:19 PM

He’s a tool, either way

heatherrc77 on June 14, 2007 at 7:20 PM

OT….why is the HA site suddenly making my firewall go nuts…….’this website wants to run the following add-on: ‘Microsoft Data Access – Remote Data Services Dat’ ‘??????

just started doing that….never before. ;(

Limerick on June 14, 2007 at 7:21 PM

Wow, that’s an awful lot of commentary and research about a single instance of gossip.

This being a conservative web site, I thought we were all agreed that Reid is a backstabbing, play-to-the-libs, opportunist. Why the need for making a case about it at this point?

There is nothing new in this story at all. Reid bashed to rev up his base and his base lies about it. Status quo.

unamused on June 14, 2007 at 7:23 PM

Either way, I think mr 19% is a ringing endorsement of his ability to judge character.

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on June 14, 2007 at 7:24 PM

Asked if Reid considered Petraeus competent, Reid responded, “Not as far as I’m concerned.”

Do they mean Petraeus or Pace? If the former, it wouldn’t surprise.

Petraus. It was on Brit Hume’s Special Report this evening.

The Apologist on June 14, 2007 at 7:27 PM

This was my e-mail to Reid;

You sir are a piece of schit. Gen. Pace has served this country well, and for you to embarrass him in front of his family, friends, fellow soldiers and citizens is as narrow minded and small of you as I’ve ever seen in American politics. I hope you rot in hell. You’re corrupt and you smell like a jackass. If we ever cross paths you’ll feel the slap of my hand upon your ugly sweaty face. Good day weasel.

Griz on June 14, 2007 at 7:28 PM

Pace is also a yes-man for the president and I told him to his face, I laid it out to him last time he came to see me, I told him what an incompetent man I thought he was.

He must have meant Boosh. I don’t think Dingy has the balls to call anyone incompetent to their face, especially a Marine General.

Wade on June 14, 2007 at 7:29 PM

Limerick on June 14, 2007 at 7:21 PM

Any ideas anyone…or am I just a paranoid ol man?

Limerick on June 14, 2007 at 7:32 PM

So if he calls the President of the United States incompetent, that’s okay. If he calls the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff incompetent, that’s bad.

Okay, I got it now.

dalewalt on June 14, 2007 at 7:37 PM

dalewalt on June 14, 2007 at 7:37 PM

Yes, because one is and one isn’t.

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 7:41 PM

I’m confused. Who called Harry Reid incontinent?

frankj on June 14, 2007 at 7:44 PM

Yes, because one is and one isn’t.

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 7:41 PM

Shouldn’t the Senate Majority leader show just a teensy bit of respect for the office of the President, if not the President himself?

dalewalt on June 14, 2007 at 7:47 PM

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 7:41 PM

LOL

Wade on June 14, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Shouldn’t the Senate Majority leader show just a teensy bit of respect for the office of the President, if not the President himself?

Yes, of course.

The big difference though that makes the President a bit more of a fair target is he’s a politician and Reid is of the party that directly opposes the President’s party. Ergo, he pretty much has to “attack” the President verbally.

Heck, John McCain is attacking Mitt Romney, who will get around to attacking some Republican sooner or later. It’s how politics is played.

Pace, however, is not a politician — he is a professional military officer with a grave responsibility. So the ONLY time it’s okay to call him incompetent is if he really is incompetent (in my opinion, he is highly competent).

Then you have to go for the throat and demand publicly the President remove a military leader who threatens the security of the Republic and its troops. That would be the responsible thing to do.

Scoring cheap shots at Pace while not calling for his removal for the good of America is very classless and would go over poorly with the American people to say nothing of the military.

Christoph on June 14, 2007 at 8:00 PM

Gen Pace was at my OCS and TBS graduations, and we have a picture of him with just about every member of my family. He and my dad chewed the same dirt in Vietnam, and reminisced about it for probably half an hour. My uncle busted his chops a bit about his lead jump wings. He was really a nice guy. Not that I really know him, but I felt a tremendous amount of surrogate pride that he was finally the Marine selected to be CJCS. Now this corrupt piece of crap Reid has engineered his downfall. I wish Pace had decked him. What a fucking turd.

JohnW on June 14, 2007 at 8:04 PM

Michelle is really laying into Geraldo right now! Oh man!

WisCon on June 14, 2007 at 8:05 PM

Go Michelle! I was hoping for a live blog for Michelle taking down Geraldo.

CrimsonFisted on June 14, 2007 at 8:06 PM

dalewalt on June 14, 2007 at 7:47 PM

Yes. However, he was calling George W. Bush incompetent, not the office of the Presidency. Just like I would die to protect our government, however, I think it’s being run by a bunch of dumb@sses at the moment.

The thing here is, Reid is no better. He’s worse. That’s like pot calling kettle black.

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 8:08 PM

pffffffffffffffttttttttttttttttt Geraldo

CrimsonFisted on June 14, 2007 at 8:09 PM

They’re all “undocumented Americans” to Geraldo.

WisCon on June 14, 2007 at 8:09 PM

He pulls these statistics out of his a$$. How can an illegal pay taxes legally?

CrimsonFisted on June 14, 2007 at 8:09 PM

The term “criminal illegal alien is redundant. One is already a criminal if here illegally. What part of that does Geraldo not understand?

rightside on June 14, 2007 at 8:14 PM

Wait, they’re opening businesses? I thought they were just doing the jobs Americans won’t do.

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 8:15 PM

Assimilating? Where? Geraldo, you are a jerk.

CrimsonFisted on June 14, 2007 at 8:15 PM

We need to know who is here JUST from a disease point of view. TB anyone?

CrimsonFisted on June 14, 2007 at 8:17 PM

BECAUSE THEY COST US SO MUCH MONEY IN WELFARE AND HOSPITAL COSTS!

CrimsonFisted on June 14, 2007 at 8:18 PM

It is invasion.

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 8:19 PM

He is referring to the 19th century. HEY! Geraldo, this is the 21ST!

CrimsonFisted on June 14, 2007 at 8:19 PM

Geraldo accuses everyone else of trying to pull at people’s emotions, then starts with calling it “racism” and goes into babies being ripped out of their mother’s arms. How do you spell hypocrite? G-e-r-a-l-d-o

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 8:20 PM

Why did Geraldo keep bringing up only hispanics? I love how there are exactly 12,000,000 “undocumented workers” in this country. By the way, calling an illegal alien an undocumented worker, is like calling a drug dealer and “unlicensed pharmacist”

This country cannot possibly ever find out how many are here illegally, ergo, it is impossible to be able to fully implement any program that deals with immigration reform, until such time we do know how many there are.

rightside on June 14, 2007 at 8:23 PM

Man, did we hijack this thread or what? Heh.

rightside on June 14, 2007 at 8:24 PM

Oh, and another thing. How dare he compare the illegals in this country, to my ancestors. My ancestors gave up everything they had, cut ties to their country, crossed the ocean, waited on Ellis Island, hoped to be granted entry, learned English, got jobs, and supported themselves. All legally.

These illegals don’t want to wait, so they cross the border anyway. They take American jobs, refuse to assimilate, send their money back home, increase crime, use the health and education system we pay for, then demand we do more for them.

You know what, I’ll pay another $1 for a head of lettuce, if I don’t have to pay for them to be here, breaking our laws.

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 8:24 PM

calling an illegal alien an undocumented worker, is like calling a drug dealer and “unlicensed pharmacist”
rightside on June 14, 2007 at 8:23 PM

Excellent. Put it on a tshirt, a billboard, a bumpersticker.

CrimsonFisted on June 14, 2007 at 8:25 PM

I laid it out to him last time he came to see me

When was the last time President Bush “went to see” Harry Reid? To me, it’s clear enough that Reid is claiming he called Pace incompetent to his face. Which I doubt very much, by the way.

RWB on June 14, 2007 at 8:29 PM

Oh, and another thing. How dare he compare the illegals in this country, to my ancestors. My ancestors gave up everything they had, cut ties to their country, crossed the ocean, waited on Ellis Island, hoped to be granted entry, learned English, got jobs, and supported themselves. All legally.
amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 8:24 PM

I never quite thought of it that way. Very true. Now Geraldo is dancing on their graves. All of their graves.

CrimsonFisted on June 14, 2007 at 8:30 PM

Reid is the anti-Romney.

Geraldo is the Quervo Quisling.

profitsbeard on June 14, 2007 at 8:36 PM

It’s pretty clear to me that’s what he’s saying about Pace and Petraeus. It’s also pretty clear that the reason none of the Lib sites reported it is it isn’t news to them. It’s commonplace and unremarkable as far as they are concerned, thus proving their nonchalance in the smear of the military. Obviously, criticizing the military is fair. Impugning their credibility and honor is not.
Additionally, Christoph has it mostly right. Questioning the credibility and decisions of the President is fair game, as he is an elected official and politician to boot. Of course respect is a necessity, but it has to go both ways.

SouthernDem on June 14, 2007 at 8:37 PM

rightside on June 14, 2007 at 8:23 PM

Agreed. You know, the Minutemen are just the “Undocumented Border Patrol”. People who practice medicine without a license are just “Undocumented Doctors”. People who hold people against there will are just “Undocumented Policemen”.

amerpundit on June 14, 2007 at 8:45 PM

UPDATE THE POST–
LINKY

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday that he told liberal bloggers last week that he thinks outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace is “incompetent.”

Reid acknowledged similarly disparaging Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Iraq.

But Reid, whose comments to bloggers first appeared in The Politico, also told reporters: “I think we should just drop it.”

Topsecretk9 on June 14, 2007 at 8:52 PM

Topsecretk9 on June 14, 2007 at 8:52 PM

I guess that ends the side controversy to this controversy.

frankj on June 14, 2007 at 8:56 PM

No, we should not drop the matter of Harry Reid making disparaging comments about General Pace and General Petraeus. Harry Reid is actively seeking to undermine military men who are vastly his superior in ability and character and at a time when we have our military forces in harm’s way. Harry Reid is a no good lowlife who should be driven from office.

Phil Byler on June 14, 2007 at 9:02 PM

Reid is a worm, either way, even this aside.

Entelechy on June 14, 2007 at 9:57 PM

Reid is a worm, either way, even this aside.

Did you notice his “I think we should just drop it.”

Old ‘turn tail and run Harry’. He’s well versed in those tactics, isn’t he?

tree hugging sister on June 14, 2007 at 10:11 PM

Reid very much needs to be sent to Iraq for a few days, without body armor or body guards and put out on the streets of Baghdad.

doriangrey on June 14, 2007 at 10:20 PM

I don’t know…reading all their replies of “I don’t recall”…they all seem the same, as if they worked this out ahead of time, i.e., “what do we say when the press starts calling and asking if Reid actually said that?”

Iowa Voice on June 14, 2007 at 10:24 PM

Sounds very similar to well Kagan (D-Wis) claimed to have told off Cheney and Bush and called Laura Barbara! The incidents never happened because he is too much of a coward to actually confront some face-to-face but it reflects his true feelings!

Can almost guarantee it that Reid never actually said those things to Pace or Patreous (sp) but wanted to appear tough in front of his nutroots and moonbats and was reflecting his true feelings!!

SSG Fuzzy on June 15, 2007 at 1:00 AM

I don’t know…reading all their replies of “I don’t recall”…they all seem the same, as if they worked this out ahead of time, i.e., “what do we say when the press starts calling and asking if Reid actually said that?”

Iowa Voice on June 14, 2007 at 10:24 PM

They embargoed ala TOWNHOUSE LIST SERV — Oxygen starving baby!

I guess that ends the side controversy to this controversy.

frankj on June 14, 2007 at 8:56 PM

Indeed it does. So, so, so sad Liberal Bloggers have absolutely zip cognizant skills and the memory less than Libby or a flippin’ NEWBORN.

Topsecretk9 on June 15, 2007 at 1:46 AM

“STORY CONFIRMED — BY HARRY REID”

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Thursday that he told liberal bloggers last week that he thinks outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace is “incompetent.”

Reid also disparaged Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of Multinational Forces in Iraq.

But Reid, whose comments to bloggers first appeared in The Politico, also told reporters: “I think we should just drop it.”

Harry Reid is just the genius politician of our day, isn’t he?

Christoph on June 15, 2007 at 3:10 AM

Pot. Kettle. Black.

doingwhatican on June 15, 2007 at 4:09 AM

Has nobody else noticed the Hillary endorsement in the caption photo to this story?

her Do Better

Freelancer on June 15, 2007 at 5:36 AM