No kidding. White House spokesperson Dana Perina yesterday said that despite Bush’s big gambles on Iraq, on his ‘bring it on’ battle against global terrorists, and possibly on Iran, “The President is not a gambler.”
Although the next question was about the “Scowcroft Letter” which Daniel Levy, Robert Malley, Henry Siegman, and I have been helping to promulgate, the more appropriate question should have been:
When did the President actually stop gambling?
Here is the exchange on both the President’s new aversion to gambling, particularly with regard to Middle East peace, and comments about our Annapolis Summit letter:
MS. PERINO: I would say it’s an important initiative. The President is not a gambler. The President wants these parties to come together for the sake of peace and stability and democracy and freedom in the Middle East. He understands there’s a root cause here, in that region, and he has dedicated a significant amount of time and resources and effort to bringing them together, and I think that it’s well worth it.
Q Is he familiar with the Scowcroft letter, I guess signed by a bunch of other folks, as well, saying basically that if there is either nothing accomplished at this session, or very little accomplished, it risks devastating consequences in the region?
MS. PERINO: We are aware that there has been a lot of posturing and a lot of communication in the walk up to this conference, and there are people that have a lot of experience, like the gentleman you mentioned, who were here before, they’ve seen the difficulties of trying to establish peace in the Middle East. We recognize that at the Annapolis conference we are not going to have instant results. What you are going to have, however, we hope, is a discussion of the core issues, the substantive issues that can get the Palestinians and the Israelis to a place where they can have negotiations to get to the two-state solution that they say that they both want to get to.
There’s a lot of difficult issues that come with that. There’s a lot of history, and there’s a lot of tension. But I think that the motivations on all sides have been genuine, and we are hopeful that we have a good conference. And I look forward to giving you more information about the President’s participation as soon as I can.
— Steve Clemons