Washington Post Taps Kerry Confidant For Bush-Bashing

Here’s the first paragraph from a front page article on Wednesday’s Washington Post titled “Aid Grows Amid Remarks About President’s Absence“:

The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.

The problem with the article is that they do an amazingly poor job of detailing the complaints. Other than an a throw away “It’s freaky” line attributed to some nameless and faceless government worker, only one other person will go on record with criticism of the Bush administration – “foreign policy specialist” Leslie H. Gelb:

Some foreign policy specialists said Bush’s actions and words both communicated a lack of urgency to an event that will loom as large in the collective memories of several countries as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do in the United States. “When that many human beings die — at the hands of terrorists or nature — you’ve got to show that this matters to you, that you care,” said Leslie Gelb, emeritus president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

So who is Leslie H. Gelb?

He’s president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to that a he was a columnist, a correspondent, and an editor at The New York Times. The Washington Post reporters clearly stumble by not revealing that the same Leslie H. Gelb they quote extensively was also a senior member of the Kerry Foreign relations team. Gelb was most likely in line for a senior policy position in a Kerry administration, yet somehow the Post didn’t think that bit of information was relevant in an article criticizing Bush’s handling of foreign affairs.

Gelb was identified as a senior Kerry adviser in an interview with Rand Beers, John Kerry’s top national security adviser:

Clearly, thanks to his membership on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Intelligence Committee, John Kerry has a background in foreign affairs. What kind of national security advisory group have you put together for his campaign?

We have within the campaign an increasing number of people who were among the lower rungs of the upper levels of the Clinton administration and an advisory group of senior-level types that goes beyond the Clinton administration. Then we have another circle of people who are on what we call our “policy teams,” who are experts on specific areas. They are either preparing papers on issues or are available for rapid reaction or are available to go out and speak to the press about issues at appropriate times.

…In the period before the primaries were settled, John Kerry and I both talked to a number of people. But at that time they were generally advising all of the candidates–with two exceptions: William J. Perry, former defense secretary in the Clinton administration, who signed on with Kerry last summer, and former Senator Gary Hart, who signed on in the early fall. Those are the two longest-standing senior people.

After the primaries were settled, Albright, Sandy Berger–who was [President Clinton’s] last national security adviser, but has since withdrawn from the campaign because of [the investigation of his removal of documents from] the National Archives–Richard N. Holbrooke, former ambassador to the United Nations for Clinton, and General John Shalikashvili, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all came aboard, as did, more recently, Leslie H. Gelb, the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.With that little bit of information the article reads like petty campaign sniping.

Update: Gelb’s less publicized history involves Richard Clarke, the Pentagon Papers, and meetings with the John Kerry’s VVAW organization.

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  1. julie December 29, 2004
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