Let’s call this hung-out-dry watch.
This piece in Time describes the evolution of the administration policy toward Israel over the last few weeks. And particularly how the president himself at a few points seemed painfully out of the loop even on what his own administration was doing. Here’s a key graf …
But that afternoon, when he finally made a statement, Bush seemed unaware of what his Administration had been up to. And he was working without a net: none of his top aides had followed him to Texas. “Everyone was on vacation,” says a chagrined White House official, “and they pretty much stayed on vacation.” Staffing the President was a junior press aide normally assigned to Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge, and it showed. “I can understand why the Israeli government takes the actions they take,” Bush said. “Their country is under attack.” Given the U.N. vote that very morning, the message was incoherent. And the imagery and atmospherics were all wrong: wearing an open-collar shirt and rocking back and forth in his chair, Bush looked like his pre-Sept. 11 self, a little bit scared and a little bit scary. A top official said later, “It was a mistake.”
Who’s the now-humiliated press guy? It must be Gordon Johndroe, Tom Ridge’s spokesman. It’s obvious from the description in the piece. But this Reuters story, for instance, identifies him as the guy staffing the president during the time in question.
This is called blaming it on the help.