Dana Milbank and Mike Allen in the Washington Post report that a Bush operative helped write Allawi’s speech.
…details have emerged showing the U.S. government and a representative of President Bush’s reelection campaign had been heavily involved in drafting the speech given to Congress last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan, asked Tuesday about similarities between Bush’s statements about Iraq and Allawi’s speech to Congress last week, said he did not know of any help U.S. officials gave with the speech. “None that I know of,” he said, adding, “No one at the White House.” He also said he did not know if the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad had seen the speech.
But administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the prime minister was coached and aided by the U.S. government, its allies and friends of the administration. Among them was Dan Senor, former spokesman for the CPA who has more recently represented the Bush campaign in media appearances. Senor, who has denied writing the speech, sent Allawi recommended phrases. He also helped Allawi rehearse in New York last week, officials said. Senor declined to comment.
Just one question: Why was this bombshell on P. 20, and why was it combined with a separate story about DoD putting a positive spin on news from Iraq? Either story alone justified P. 1 treatment.