July 14th, 2007
07:01 AM ET
7 years ago

Snow singed over remark on Iraq heat

WASHINGTON (CNN) - White House spokesman Tony Snow was left a bit verbally singed Friday after suggesting to reporters that Iraqi lawmakers - under fire in Washington for failing to make progress on meeting political benchmarks - were taking August off to escape Baghdad's scorching summer temperatures.

Asked by ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz during a press briefing if Iraqi officials were planning to take August off, despite another progress report due in September, Snow said, "It looks like they may, yes, just like the U.S. Congress is."

Pressed as to whether American officials had tried to talk Iraqi leaders out of their vacation, Snow said, "You know, it's 130 degrees in Baghdad in August. I'll pass on your recommendation."

"Well, Tony, Tony, I'm sorry," Raddatz replied. "There are a lot of things that happen by September, and it's 130 degrees for the U.S. military also on the ground."

"That's a good point," conceded Snow, who also noted that "it's 130 degrees for the Iraq military."

Snow went on to say "the Iraqis understand the importance" of making political progress, although he insisted that September's assessment by Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, is a report and not a "deadline."

Snow also said reporters should not assume that just because Iraqi lawmakers are in recess in August "that nothing is going on."

"Let's see what the parliament does during the course of this month. Let's also see what happens, because quite often, when parliaments do not meet, there are also continuing meetings on the side," Snow said. "There will be progress, I'm sure, on a number of fronts."

He also noted that the Iraqi parliament has "set a higher bar for their legislative accomplishments than we do because they're trying to operate on a basis not of a simple majority but consensus."

"It's probably a wise thing to do at the outset of a country that has been driven by strife for so many years. It's a tough business."

An interim progress report released Thursday found that Iraqi lawmakers had failed to make satisfactory progress on several key pieces of legislation, including division of the country's lucrative oil revenues and the political reintegration of people associated with deposed dictator Saddam Hussein's ruling Baath Party.

Critics in Congress, including an increasing number of Republicans, have expressed frustration that Iraqi leaders are moving forward too slowly as U.S. casualties continue to mount - frustration that's likely to increase if the Iraqis take August off as planned.

Later in the press briefing, Snow would not bite when asked if President Bush himself had suggested to the Iraqi leaders that their August recess was unwise.

"I'm not going to pass on the confidential advice the president gives the prime minister," Snow said.

Filed under: Iraq
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Mike Lusby, Annapolis Maryland

    Why should it be considered 'confidential' if President Bush advised the Iraqi PM that taking off the month of August was unwise ? Embarassing perhaps, if the PM ingnored such sound advice. But 'confidential', only if President Bush intends to mislead Americans into believing that the Iraqi gov't is doing all it can to meet the September 15th deadline.

    July 14, 2007 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  2. Ricky Coon, Panama City Beach, FL

    Snows comments only go to show how US troops are viewed as pawns (by US politicians) in a political game, expendable to the point of public outcry. I am a registered Republican and I voted for W. however at this point he is just making me look stupid. It is time to get out.

    July 14, 2007 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  3. Don Lee, Cloudcroft, NM

    I fail to see how Tony got "singed". I think he handled the remarks very well, considering the stupidity of some of these reporters.

    July 14, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  4. Dale Saginaw, MI

    Wouldn't it be nice if our US Congress held itself to the same standard as they expect from others.

    July 14, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  5. Larry Anglin, Hamilton, TX

    The record high for Baghdad during August is 118F. It does not reach 130F in Baghdad during August or at any other time.

    July 14, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. Sandy Orsky-Manassas, Va.

    I am pleased to see that the press took the time and trouble to ask Tony Snow a hard question. I feel our press (media) is failing the people of this country by not asking our officials and their representatives the hard questions that would bring needed truths that we the people need to know so we can demand changes. I feel Nancy Pelosi has failed to take action needed to impeach Bush and Chenney and we need to demand that she take the high ground and clean this mess up so that the new elected president doesn't have the power to duplicate what Bush and Chenney have put into place by this "I'm King" and above the law and therefore the people. We have to stop people from outsourcing our homeland.

    July 14, 2007 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  7. H. William Harrier Port Allegany Pa

    It just proves politicians are politicians whatever country they call home. Of course Tony Snow's kid doesn't have his hot boots on the ground over there mine does.

    July 14, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  8. Linda Carpenter, Phoenix, Arizona

    When will you write about the truth of the so-called
    Oil Revenue Sharing bill in Iraqi legislature! They will not pass it because it gives 2/3 of their oil to 5 oil companies for thirty years! Mobile, Exxon, BP and others would not have to share technology but would control Iraqi oil for the next thirty years! This is why Bush and Cheney went to war, why they won't change course, why they are shoving this down the throats of the iraqi people! I am most ashamed that Democrats also seem to be demanding this benchmark be met! Have they read the bill? Do they want to continue to rape Iraqis of their sole means of wealth? Is this what American power is all about? Stealing from a country after we illegally invade it and murder tens of thousands of innocent people?

    July 14, 2007 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Keith, Huntsville, AL

    I think we missed the underlying message here; Iraq is in the middle of war and they're going to take off for the month of August while our soldiers babysit their country in 118 degree heat. The Bush administration is content to allow them to do so? I don't care if it's tradition, conditions now dictate that they stick around and continue to work while at war. If this is what they consider taking the situation seriously, then they need a new congress installed or we need to go home and let them deal with the repercussions.

    July 14, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. John, Athens Ga

    At this stage in the game should ANYBODY involved in this thing be getting a day off let alone a MONTH?!

    I think we should hold Tony Snow to the same standards we hold McDonalds cashiers.

    Martha should have asked to see his manager!

    July 14, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. J

    So, Don Lee thinks reporters are stupid for asking the questions that over 70% of the American people want to know the answers to? Don, I think you've been stuck in the NM desert way too long!

    July 14, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. Steve, Lyons, Colorado

    /*** Don Lee said:
    I fail to see how Tony got “singed”. I think he handled the remarks very well, considering the stupidity of some of these reporters.

    The only stupid people these days are the people like you, Don, too jingoistically braindead to do anything good for the country because, dammit, you love President Howdy Doody too much.
    If the Iraqi parliament takes August off, we should begin bringing home troops in September. And if you don't like it, Don, you phony patriot, why don't you enlist and go expose your own self to the horrors of war. Along with the rest of Congress, you prefer whining here in the States and acting tough.
    I'm sick of head-in-the-sand "patriots" who only worship the administration and could care less about the country as a whole.
    I'm glad the WH hired Tony Snow. This arrogant FOX "News" man is such an obvious and incredible liar that NO ONE is fooled, especially the American public.Or haven't you noticed your boy is hovering at about a 29% approval rating?
    As for you, Don, I'd suggest taking an IQ test before calling anyone else "stupid." You've got a lot of nerve, with this criminal administration running this country, calling people names when you yourself don't have the intellectual capacity to understand how this administration is anti-the people and pro-corporation.
    Only a complete ignoramus doesn't understand that we're currently being ruled by a burgeoning corporate facism and the likes of Dick "Criminal and Traitor" Cheney.

    July 14, 2007 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. Jarhead68

    Seems to me that Tony Snow was the giver of the singe, not the receiver. And to the poster who wants the media to ask the hard questions: Do you live under a rock? The DC press corps has been obnoxious in its relentless pursuit of a "gotcha" moment with regard to the Bush administration. They are actually shilling for the enemy and the democRat party, which, by the way, are one and the same.

    July 14, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. Steve, Lyons, Colorado

    Seems to me that Tony Snow was the giver of the singe, not the receiver.

    Ha ha! Good one. You mean, he didn't get singed lying about the heat every day, and allowing that the poor widdle Iraqi congresspeople wanna go home in the heat of August, BUT OUR FIGHTING MEN ARE FIGHTING DURING THIS SAME HEAT?

    What an idiot.

    And to the poster who wants the media to ask the hard questions: Do you live under a rock? The DC press corps has been obnoxious in its relentless pursuit of a “gotcha” moment with regard to the Bush administration. ***/

    The press has kissed Bush's butt for 5 years. It's about time they started getting some accountability from these criminals.

    They are actually shilling for the enemy and the democRat party, which, by the way, are one and the same.

    Sure thing, fascist. And Lugar and Heigal are also shilling for the enemy. So is 71% of the American public.

    Please continue your factless posting. It's humorous.

    July 14, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Sgt. Grogan Columbus Georgia

    Hey Larry Anglin, sure is nice of you to chime in with your heat report. I bet you got that off the internet didn't you? You know what you are talking about cause you looked it up on google. So it's fact cause you saw it on the internet. I know it's well over 120 in parts of Iraq that aren't Baghdad, been there done that. The hottest I saw in Al Asad was oh, about 128 with a heat index of 135. In August. On my 23rd birthday. I highly doubt you have been there and can tell everyone just how hot it isn't. Semper Fidelis idiot.

    Sgt. Grogan

    July 14, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Brad, Columbia, SC

    > They are actually shilling for the enemy and the democRat party, which, by the way, are one and the same.

    Well there's an intelligent comment. I'm not sure how we're to expect constructive political debate in this country when we have people who will call AMERICANS they disagree with "the enemy."

    July 14, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  17. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    130 degrees will seem cool compared to the fires of hell, Tony. Stop the BS. Have you no pride or shame?

    July 14, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  18. Ted Thomas

    I find it appalling that they are taking a month off, and Snow's comment even more so. It sure makes me wonder why the soldiers who fought the Revolution at Valley Forge didn't just take the winter off. Hey, it was cold!

    Oh, and ...

    Wow. I find it so interesting that the right are so quick to attack ones patriotism for the mere act of speaking out. Are you seriously going to tell me that freedom of speech and political protest – in other words praticing democracy – is a threat to our spread of democracy? I seem to remember an act of protest called the Boston Tea Party, that lead to the formation of this very country. Of course, those guys were just a bunch of loud mouth, long haired, pinko, Clinton-votin for, tree hugging commies.

    July 14, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  19. Dennis, IN

    Let me see if I have this right....

    1) We can't leave Iraq now because the terrorists and other insurgents will take over the country if we do leave.

    2) If the terrorists and other insurgents take over the country because we leave, they will have a base in the Middle East that they can use to attack and harass our interests in the region at will.

    3) About 20 Combat Brigades are now deployed in Iraq. With the support personnel to those brigades included there are ~162,000 US troops in country and ~30,000 additional forces in Theatre.

    4) A large portion of our National Guard is unable to respond to home emergencies because they are deployed in Iraq.

    5) If the reports are true, it appears that Al Qaeda has rebounded in the last few years and is now in a position of comparable strength that is the strongest it has been since 911.

    6) Iran is taking advantage of the position that our military is in right now and causing mischief wherever possible.

    7) North Korea is taking advantage of the position that our military is in right now and causing mischief wherever possible.

    8) The Army is having problems meeting their enlistment goals.

    Prior to 2003, Saddam Hussein and the Iraq military was ‘contained’ by a far smaller number of troops and aircraft than we currently have deployed in theatre. We had Al Qaeda on the run in Afghanistan. The US Military was in a position that would allow it to deploy Combat Brigades to just about any hot spot in the world very rapidly and effectively.

    Since that time we have lost many of the tactical and strategic military advantages that we had enjoyed just five years ago. We are now in a position where it is taking 10 times as many of our forces to ‘contain’ the enemy in Iraq as it did prior to 2003, and our casualty rate is now far higher.

    Osama bin Laden’s primary purpose for the 911 attacks was economic in nature. He wanted to inflict as much economic damage to the US as possible and the total economic damage done in those attacks was close to the $30-35 Billion dollar range (including the impact to the Airlines industry).

    Since 2003 the US has spent some $250-300 Billion (more or less) on the war in Iraq. Based on the situation we are in now, we have spent all that money and are now in a worse position, both militarily and economically than we were in prior to 2003.

    It is not Tony Snow who we should be worried about for getting singed for the response to his remark about the August temperature in Iraq.

    What we should be worried about is the fact that we have an Administration that has blown it, both tactically and strategically and has gotten this country into a situation in which we are worse off now, and more vulnerable to attack, than we were in 2003.

    Of course it would not be in our interests to abandon Iraq to extremists and pull out en masse at this time. That would be as foolhardy as the strategic planning that got us into this position in the first place.

    The problem is that the President is unwilling to come clean with the American people and simply tell them that he made a mistake. If he simply had the courage to do that he could still find that the American people could support his effort to minimize the overall damage that his administration has done.

    That would take true leadership.

    Time is running out, and until that kind of leadership is shown we will continue to be plagued by problems 1 through 8 above as well as many others that we will suffer through.

    In the meantime…I am so sick of those on both extremes of the US political spectrum. They are using the dire situation that the US is in right now to advance their own political agendas rather than to work toward a solution to the mess we are in. That would take leadership also, and that seems to be something that was lost somewhere between 911 and today.

    July 14, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. Mike White

    It seems pretty obvious that Tony meant it as a joke. If anything, I think that Raddatz got singed for not having a sense of humor.

    July 14, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  21. Lee, Jamaica Plain, MA

    Jarhead68, for all my life I have tended to lean towards democratic candidates and policies. But your clever use of capitalization in "democRat" has so impressed me that I will be a staunch and reliable GOP voter for the rest of my days. Thanks!

    July 14, 2007 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  22. snaber1959

    They are actually shilling for the enemy and the democRat party, which, by the way, are one and the same.

    Jarhead are you an OILMAN?

    July 15, 2007 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  23. Glenda, McEwen, TN

    If our men and women are on the ground in these extreme conditions, no one should be taking time off. This is absurd. While they take off let's bring our troops home, because they apparently don't need help anymore.

    July 15, 2007 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  24. matx, Houston, TX

    George Bush takes off the month of August, too. See? The Bagdad lawmakers are just following his example.

    July 15, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. beerad phoenix, az

    130??? Baghdad weather is just like phoenix...it's unfortunate the disingenuous and flat out lies this admin puts out – even if they don‘t have to lie, they do. There’s something wrong in America when a guy like Bush can be elected TWICE. For those that voted for Bush (twice) – thanks for nothing! STOP voting for these seasoned politicians people!!! they're killing us!

    July 15, 2007 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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