Monday, August 23, 2004
( 10:12 AM )
TBogg informs us that W is having trouble enticing his good buddy Tony to come on over and put on a show for Bush's re-election efforts. Bush even wants to give a medal to ol' Tony, but Tony just won't budge.
BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair is refusing to fly to the US to receive a medal bestowed on him by the nation for his support over last year's Iraq war, a London newspaper reported today.
US President George W. Bush has put huge pressure on his closest ally to pick up the Congressional Medal of Honour in person, the Sunday Mirror said, quoting a senior British government source.
Mr Blair is immensely popular with large sections of the American public for his staunch support of the Iraq war and the White House believes a visit by the prime minister now would provide a much-needed boost to Mr Bush's re-election campaign, the weekly said.
"There has been a lot of telephone traffic between the White House and Downing Street over the medal in recent week," the Sunday Mirror quoted a senior government source as saying.
"George Bush wants the prime minister to come to Washington and pick up the medal, which is the highest honour America can bestow on a foreigner.
But Blair isn't buying it. He's playing his cards close to the chest because, like any head of state, he doesn't want to screw up a relationship with the next leader of the US if it isn't Bush (which it won't be). Also, he knows he'll be skewered by his own citizens for accepting this award while coalition forces are being killed daily.
"But he has refused for more than a year now and for good reason. He cannot possibly accept an award for the Iraq war when British and American troops continue to risk their lives there."
Mr Blair is concerned also that a trip to the US now would effectively be giving a boost to Bush ahead of November's presidential elections.
"The Democrats are watching the situation very carefully and there would be uproar if Tony travelled to Washington to meet (Republican) Bush so close to the presidential elections," the government source said.
"But Bush isn't letting up. The White House has already let it be known that they feel slighted because of this and believe they can use this to put pressure on Blair to get him out there."
So if Blair has refused this for a year now, what pressure does the Bush administration think they can put on him? Blair is often a sucker but he's not a total idiot. He knows his own power is threatened right now and he isn't going to trot over here and show support for a president more hated by his own British population than any other US president in history.
The Bushies seem to be getting a little desperate, no?