I wish I could hang this on the nutroots but even al-Reuters is pushing it. It’s perfectly clear what Bush means: after 30 years of state-sanctioned terror against political dissidents, there are no peacemakers left in Iraq to reunite the country through their leadership and moral example as Mandela did in South Africa. That’s a line Ryan Crocker has used repeatedly, including in his testimony last week. Bush expressed it more forcefully here, but more effectively for having done so. Think Progress’s headline: “Bush inartfully suggests Saddam killed Mandela.” Not only do they have a funny, jerky little habit of misunderstanding members of the administration when the opportunity allows, their rebuttal to Bush in their post is feeble. If you want to criticism him for this, you’ve got two good grounds: (1) if the Mandelas were all dead before we got there, perhaps that should have been taken into account pre-invasion, and (2) the fact is there are a few Mandelas still left in Iraq. They just can’t get political traction.

Update: America’s newsman apparently demagogued this last night too. Prediction: If and when a reporter calls him on it, he’ll tell him to lighten up because it’s just a comedy show, dude. Clown nose off, clown nose on.