Let's hope that the conservative noise machine isn't paying attention, because McClellan's version of Bush's comment — in the hands of a Rush or Sean or Bill — is gold. It's a rallying cry for conservatives who may be questioning the growing cost — financial and human — of fighting this war.
Words are a funny thing. You change them ever so slightly, and you can create a completely new meaning.
McClellan's subtle revision of Bush's comments may have been inadvertent. We won't know unless someone in the White House press corps asks.
But minor changes in phrasing have greatly benefitted conseratives in the past. The most classic example of this came in 1999, when conservatives created, then preached the canard that Vice President Al Gore claimed to "invent the Internet." Within days, the fake quote had been accepted by the mainstream media as fact.
Don't believe it? On March 9, 1999, Gore was interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
BLITZER: I want to get to some of the substance of domestic and international issues in a minute, but let's just wrap up a little bit of the politics right now.Why should Democrats, looking at the Democratic nomination process, support you instead of Bill Bradley, a friend of yours, a former colleague in the Senate? What do you have to bring to this that he doesn't necessarily bring to this process?
GORE: Well, I will be offering — I'll be offering my vision when my campaign begins. And it will be comprehensive and sweeping. And I hope that it will be compelling enough to draw people toward it. I feel that it will be.But it will emerge from my dialogue with the American people. I've traveled to every part of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives ...
Blitzer didn't skip a beat during the interview. Why? Because it was well-established fact that within his role in Congress, Gore had championed funding the transformation of the Arpanet - a government-only vehicle - into the Internet, something the public could use. There are literally dozens of Internet experts who have been interviewed confirming this, and even Gore's colleagues, including the likes of Newt Gingrich, agreed that Gore was a leader on the issue.