If you tuned in around 7:15 a.m. EST this morning then you probably happened upon a particularly spirited debate among Tavis Smiley, Joe and Jon Meacham. The primary focus of the discussion centered around yesterday’s 9/11 memorial services at ground zero – particularly of the visual of former President Bush and Laura Bush and President Obama and the First Lady touring the Michael Arad-created 9/11 memorial.
Joe discussed why it’s important to respect both former President Bush and President Obama. Both deserve our respect for their efforts against terrorism, he argued.
“We as one nation at some point need to step back and be able to say ‘Thank you President Obama, thank you President Bush,’” he said.
And here’s where the debate got interested, and I’ve excerpted some of it here and then posted the video below. Take a look.
Tavis Smiley, PBS host: “Just so we’re clear, we’re saying thank you to President Bush for what exactly?”
Joe Scarborough: “For doing just what Barack Obama is doing and doing everything he believes in his heart is keeping you and me and my family safe. Whether I agree or disagree with Barack Obama, I thank him for his service. I thank him for the sacrifices that his family makes. It is a horrific job; it is terrible on families. The strain is extraordinary, and he’s doing everything he can to keep America safe. And you know what? The guy right next to him [President George W. Bush], he did the same thing.”
Smiley: “The reality is though is that one of those guys lied to the American people. And when I say he lied, I say his administration lied. When you want to talk about the security of this country, Joe, and you cannot disconnect that. You cannot dismiss the fact that he got us in a war that is now the longest-running war in this country. Because his administration…say it Joe…LIED to the American people. They did not give us the proper information; we never did find a weapon of mass destruction.”
Jon Meacham, Random House: “Do you believe that George W. Bush intentionally misled the American people in the case for war?”
Smiley: “I didn’t say intentionally.”
Meacham: “You said lie. A lie is an act of intention.”