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Donald Rumsfeld, Uncorked
NationalJournal.com | October 17, 2001 | Howard Mortman

Posted on 10/19/2001 6:26:58 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen

By Howard Mortman, NationalJournal.com

I must confess that I'm quite taken with Defense Secretary Donald Rumseld.

I'm just nutty about his press conferences.

I love the way he holds up well to the media. Robust, feisty, with some acidity, but very, very refreshing. He's a study in, well, oenology.

Listening to a Rumsfeld press conference is like drinking a fine wine -- a fine wine waiting to be corked since the Ford administration. He's great at reassuring relief from all the somber news. Rumsfeld is less solemn, more sommelier.

Everyone's palate is a little different. But here's my day-by-day tasting guide to Don Rumsfeld press conferences.

Sunday, Oct. 7:

QUESTION: Are U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan now? And more broadly, could you illuminate at all the so-called less visible side of this operation?

RUMSFELD: Not really. If we wanted it to be overt, we would have discussed it.

Tasting notes: Not fancy, just an everyday answer. Bright, fresh and expressing a vivid truth.

RUMSFELD: We certainly would not be using airdrops in portions of the country where we were not satisfied that it would be safe for humanitarian relations. We don't discuss operational activities.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can you tell us, is there any plans to send significant numbers of...

RUMSFELD: I answered that question before you asked it.

Tasting notes: Rich and ripe, this answer showcases the individual flavors of Rumsfeld accentuated by years of aging in Washington barrels.

QUESTION: Apparently, there were strikes in Kandahar and Kabul, and there's talk about the electricity system going down. Are you running the risk of being characterized as attacking the Afghan people rather than the military targets?

RUMSFELD: You know, in this world of ours, if you get up in the morning, you're running a risk of having someone lie and someone mischaracterize what it is you are doing.

Tasting notes: This answer has a brilliant color and a pleasing dry yet full-bodied flavor. It goes well when the questioner wants you to eat crow.

Monday, Oct. 8:

QUESTION: ... Yesterday, according to your figures and General Myers' figures, you dropped 37,500 MREs -- humanitarian MREs. Is this purely humanitarian, or is it also part of a psy-ops because on the humanitarian MREs there's a picture of the American flag...?

RUMSFELD: ... It is quite true that 37,000 rations in a day do not feed millions of human beings. On the other hand, if you were one of the starving people who got one of the rations, you'd be appreciative.

Tasting notes: Combines the vintners blend with the reserve. This is a special treat. No wimpy whines and no wimpy wines!

Tuesday, Oct. 9:

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, as far as talking about intelligence, are we getting enough help from Pakistan, because General Musharraf -- he has fired most of his top military aides and intelligence officials, so where do we stand now? And also, what role is India playing in this campaign? And finally, if we are going to drop medicine there, do they know what kind of medicine and how to use them?

RUMSFELD: You all have gotten in the habit of asking three questions at once. And it would sure make life simpler if you didn't.

Tasting notes: A beautiful, crisp and herbaceous answer. I think this answer is one of his best. A brüt champagne for a brute campaign.

QUESTION: ... A military effort here could be decade long.... Do you think that's within the realm of possibility? And could you also preview tonight's battle plan the way you have done for us the last two days?

RUMSFELD: That was a big improvement. You went from three to two [questions].

Tasting notes: This answer is aging quite gracefully. Soft and buttery, with a hint of pepper.

Friday, Oct. 12:

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I know you want to hold us to one question, so I only have one question for you, and then one for General Myers.

RUMSFELD: Uh-oh. We ought to have a new rule: You can ask two questions, and then we can pick the one we want to answer.

Tasting notes: Again, this is a lovely vintage for this wine. Drink now, but may still improve.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, it's been confirmed that among the targets that was hit was the Suburban vehicle that belongs to Abdullah Omar. Was that an effort to kill him?

RUMSFELD: How is that confirmed?

QUESTION: Reliable sources, sir.

RUMSFELD: I had a feeling that was the case.

Tasting notes: The expected tight, elegant, age-worthy wine from this secretary. Excellent. Take his cue: Buy a case.

QUESTION: Secretary Myers, I mean General Myers, can you just outline any British involvement in...

RUMSFELD: Now you've given my title as well as my...

QUESTION: Well, he's bigger than you are, Mr. Secretary.

RUMSFELD: He sure is.

Tasting Notes: Fantastic, gamey, evolved nose. Nice fruit and length. Creamy, keroseney, interesting nose. Very spritzy. Good for years yet.

Monday, Oct. 15:

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the skipper of the Enterprise used the phrase "clean-up mode" to describe the state of the airstrikes, sort of suggesting that they're almost wrapped up. You seem to be suggesting they could go on for a while longer than you expected at the beginning.

RUMSFELD: Go with me.

Tasting notes: Bold and authoritative. Real meaty depth with some tannins. Quite pleasing to the palate. Serve immediately.

If this is a new kind of war, then Don Rumsfeld is a new kind of briefer. The Bordeaux of briefing. A fine cabernet in a fine Cabinet. Please pour me another glass.

Howard Mortman is senior columnist at The Hotline, the National Journal Group's daily briefing on politics.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
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1 posted on 10/19/2001 6:26:58 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Bump for our "just a little bit crazy" SecDef.
2 posted on 10/19/2001 6:32:46 AM PDT by 6ppc
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To: Stand Watch Listen
I am glad he is in that position. Wonder how Mad-ulin Halfbright would have handled the situation?
3 posted on 10/19/2001 6:34:58 AM PDT by duckman
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To: Stand Watch Listen
I consider my palate fully cleansed after eight years of spoiled, mealymouthed Clintonistas!!

Now if we could just get rid of Stephanopolous (a cheap near beer), and Bill Clinton (a screwtop, rancid Thunderbird), it could stay that way!

4 posted on 10/19/2001 6:36:30 AM PDT by SpinyNorman
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Great post, thanks, JL
SecDef is the man when dealing with the dimm media.
5 posted on 10/19/2001 6:37:45 AM PDT by lodwick
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Forget the White House or State Department briefings and set your VCR to record the SecDef and General Meyers on C-SPAN. They surgically rip the press with the touch of velvet gloves.
6 posted on 10/19/2001 6:37:58 AM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer
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To: Stand Watch Listen
What a morning! Pop Tarts, Gerbils, and SecDef groupies.
7 posted on 10/19/2001 6:38:38 AM PDT by FreedomFarmer
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To: Stand Watch Listen
I love the way Rumsfeld avoids questions that might cause our troops problems. He is pithy in a pleasing way and really makes me chuckle at times.
8 posted on 10/19/2001 6:39:40 AM PDT by Dustbunny
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To: Stand Watch Listen
His mind and his wit are unsurpassed by anything we have seen in many, many years. The distinction between Rumsfeld and his predecessor is as distinct as that between Bush and Klintoon.
9 posted on 10/19/2001 6:39:54 AM PDT by richwolo
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Most refreshing article! Rumsfeld finally receives the respect he deserves and the Dems. in DC who did their best to demonize him have disappeared into the sewers. (^:
10 posted on 10/19/2001 6:41:20 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Wonderful!! Thank you for posting this! I have become a big fan of Rumsfeld's press briefings, where he deftly smacks the press with an acidic smile. He is one of my favorites in this administration!
11 posted on 10/19/2001 6:41:21 AM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: Stand Watch Listen
I am lovin' this, but it makes me crave some Champagne. A little too early in the morning, don't you think?
12 posted on 10/19/2001 6:44:51 AM PDT by gramho12
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Watching Rumsfeld do these briefings and press conferences is a treat. Thanks for the post.
13 posted on 10/19/2001 6:45:21 AM PDT by michaelt
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To: 6ppc
Bump for our "just a little bit crazy" SecDef

Is this in reference to the Thomas Friedman interview by Russert? That was very interesting and one of the few things i agree with Friedman on.

14 posted on 10/19/2001 6:45:53 AM PDT by Trust but Verify
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To: Miss Marple
Nice to be in agreement with you. Rumsfeld is impressive.

Richard F.

15 posted on 10/19/2001 6:46:13 AM PDT by rdf
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: Stand Watch Listen
I love the way Rumsfeld puts the children of the press corps in their place so deftly that they don't seem to know what hit 'em.
17 posted on 10/19/2001 6:51:23 AM PDT by LiberteeBell
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To: SpinyNorman
Bill Clinton (a screwtop, rancid Thunderbird),

but so smooth

18 posted on 10/19/2001 6:51:48 AM PDT by oyez
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To: duckman
I don't even want to think about it.
19 posted on 10/19/2001 7:00:59 AM PDT by gulfcoast6
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To: Trust but Verify
Another great Rumsfeld article. I'd like to see an entire book of his quips.

And then there's this:

"Henry Kissinger once told Republican insiders that of all the despots he'd had to deal with, none was more ruthless than Donald Rumsfeld."
Time
http://www.time.com/time/pow/article/0,8599,109422,00.html

20 posted on 10/19/2001 7:07:48 AM PDT by angkor
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To: Stand Watch Listen
The press is now operating in Saturday Night Live Parody mode. If you'll remember back to the Gulf War, SNL ran a parody briefing in which reporters axed questions of "the general." Questions such are,

"General, which military secrets are we of greatest risk of losing to the Iraqis?"

"General, if there's one point in our attack where we're most vulnerable to Iraq, where would that be?"

"General, at what time and exactly where do you plan to strike, and can you give us a precise troop count in the attacking force?"

"General, can you provide a specific time frame when the photo-recon satellites are overhead?"

"General, what time do you anticipate bombing Saddam Hussein and which palace will you be bombing?"

"General, this is not for broadcast, just on broad background (every cameraman in the room zooms in, flashes popping, scribes furiously taking notes) can you draw us a map of the precise troop movements you plan to use?"

It was a parody then. They do it every day in real life now. Eight years of X42(i) have made them think that they'd actually get an answer.

Saturday Night Live doesn't need to do a parody of them. All they need to do is run the actual press conferences.

Michael

21 posted on 10/19/2001 7:09:46 AM PDT by Wright is right!
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To: gramho12
it makes me crave some Champagne. A little too early in the morning, don't you think?

On the contrary, mimosa (champagne mixed with orange juice) is an elegant way to start your day!!!!

Mix equal parts chilled champagne and orange juice. Mmmmmm.

22 posted on 10/19/2001 7:10:07 AM PDT by Carolina
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To: Stand Watch Listen
I'm not sure I understand all the comparisons to Madeleine "Not At" Albright. The SecDef for Clinton was even more of a wimp. William Cohen. What a stark contrast "he" is to the current office holder.
23 posted on 10/19/2001 7:10:17 AM PDT by Tex-Con-Man
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
I liked his answer about them not making cookies in those ammo dumps the best.
24 posted on 10/19/2001 7:14:47 AM PDT by Libertarian_4_eva
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To: Stand Watch Listen
I don't know why, but every time I see Secretary Donald Rumsfeld I'm reminded of Henry Fonda as Admiral Chester W. Nimitz in the movie Midway.
25 posted on 10/19/2001 7:15:04 AM PDT by RadicalRik
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To: 6ppc
My wife has got to see this!
26 posted on 10/19/2001 7:16:55 AM PDT by biblewonk
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To: Stand Watch Listen
"If this is a new kind of war, then Don Rumsfeld is a new kind of briefer. The Bordeaux of briefing. A fine cabernet in a fine Cabinet....."

But but but Hillary stole the silver somalier tasting cup!

27 posted on 10/19/2001 7:19:10 AM PDT by prognostigaator
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To: Stand Watch Listen
I love his press conferences too. I remember hearing him say some of these. Big Rumsfeld BUMP.
28 posted on 10/19/2001 7:28:44 AM PDT by cake_crumb
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To: Stand Watch Listen
I completely ADORE Sec. "mad dog" Rumsfeld! I think he does have icewater in his veins--in any case he is a true patriot that does NOT like 5000 of his citizens getting blown up--including those he knew personally in his own building. I think he takes this very personally.
29 posted on 10/19/2001 7:29:38 AM PDT by lawgirl
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To: Stand Watch Listen
RUMSFELD: You all have gotten in the habit of asking three questions at once. And it would sure make life simpler if you didn't.

LOL! I just love Donald Rumsfeld! He is a breath of fresh air in an administration that is already known for it's openness and honesty!

30 posted on 10/19/2001 7:32:19 AM PDT by mtngrl@vrwc
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To: Stand Watch Listen; JohnHuang2
Very, very clever. What a great SecDef. Thanks for the post SWL.

John-thought you'd find this a fun read. You might want to ping the gang--I would not be so presumptuous. ;^)

31 posted on 10/19/2001 7:34:51 AM PDT by eureka!
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To: 6ppc
I don't think Rumsfeld is "a little bit crazy" at all.

Rumsfeld is the MASTER of slapping down snivelling reporters with their stupid questions, but doing so with finesse and class. Having to deal with the same ridiculous "What's your mission, where are the troops,what kinds of weapons do you have?" questions every day requires the patience of a saint.

I LOVE THIS GUY!!!! He is one tough old bird, and I'm supremely grateful he's part of the team that's in charge right now.

32 posted on 10/19/2001 7:37:30 AM PDT by RooRoobird14
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To: SpinyNorman
Now if we could just get rid of Stephanopolous (a cheap near beer), and Bill Clinton (a screwtop, rancid Thunderbird), it could stay that way!

LOL!

33 posted on 10/19/2001 7:48:13 AM PDT by KC_Conspirator
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To: Stand Watch Listen
bttt
34 posted on 10/19/2001 8:16:18 AM PDT by kayak
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Rumsfeld was CEO at Searle when my husband first started working there in the late 70s. Rummy, as he was fondly known, took no prisoners even then. He was known as a hatchet man, and many heads rolled as he successfully got Searle into a winning position.

Despite being a wealthy man then, though not nearly as much as he was later to become, the soles of his shoes had holes in them, and he just didn't care. There were too many more important things to him than that!

My husband went to see the movie "Rockie" around that time, and happened to be sitting in the row right behind Rumsfeld and his family. Rumsfeld was quite into the movie, cheering at various parts of it. A real gung-ho kind of guy!

35 posted on 10/19/2001 10:17:54 AM PDT by texasbluebell
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To: Stand Watch Listen
BUMP
36 posted on 10/19/2001 10:28:31 AM PDT by mercy
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To: Stand Watch Listen
I couldn't agree more with Mr. Mortman.

As a matter of fact, I would like to share a bottle of good red with Sec. Rumsfeld (May I call you Don?), in an alcove at the Tabard Inn, alone... . Sigh, the man is dreamy!

37 posted on 10/19/2001 10:30:17 AM PDT by hillsborofox
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To: hillsborofox
Correction: May I call you Rummy?
38 posted on 10/19/2001 10:31:24 AM PDT by hillsborofox
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To: hillsborofox
I adore Rumsfeld. He's wise, humorous and tough. He also looks incredibly like my grandfather (who re-upped during WWI). Loved this article!
39 posted on 10/19/2001 10:37:34 AM PDT by reaganite
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To: Stand Watch Listen
Speaking of the Department of Defense, I have to confess that I don't remember which radio show I was listening to nor who the military official was that was being interviewed, but the question was whether or not the Deputy Secretary of Defense was a "hawk". "No", replied the official. "I would describe him as a velociraptor."
40 posted on 10/19/2001 12:21:58 PM PDT by Two Thirds Vote Aye
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To: Two Thirds Vote Aye
OOOPS! Forgot to mention the Deputy Secretary of Defense is Paul Wolfowitz.
41 posted on 10/19/2001 12:25:02 PM PDT by Two Thirds Vote Aye
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To: Dustbunny
Did you see yesterday when they asked the General about troops and he was stuck for an answer and finally looked at Rumsfield and he said something like "They said General not Secretary." They both laughed and the question was completely avoided.
42 posted on 10/19/2001 12:30:56 PM PDT by tiki
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To: maica
bttt
43 posted on 10/19/2001 12:35:20 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: SpinyNorman
"It is therefore urgent that all Americans be quiet, stop asking questions, accept the orders of authorities, and let us get on with the important work of defending liberty, so that America can continue to be a beacon of freedom to all the world."

Donald Rumsfeld -- October 9

Savor the facist undertones! In other words he's saying, "shut up and fall in line". Afterall, if you aren't with them, you're with the terrorist -- there is no middle ground.

I guess this batch was too bitter for the conoseuir.

44 posted on 10/19/2001 12:53:12 PM PDT by RoarNLion
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To: gramho12
If you mix it with a drop of orange juice, morning is the right time to sip it.
45 posted on 10/19/2001 3:30:56 PM PDT by tillacum
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To: Stand Watch Listen
could we turn him loose on helen thomas?,or at least have him give Tom Ridge some pointers on dealing with that old biddy
46 posted on 10/19/2001 3:39:00 PM PDT by linn37
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To: linn37
i wonder if i'm the only woman who finds sec. rumsfeld a mega-babe. i know there are cheney chicks....but what about don?
47 posted on 10/19/2001 3:42:33 PM PDT by contessa machiaveli
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To: Stand Watch Listen
RUMSFELD: You know, in this world of ours, if you get up in the morning, you're running a risk of having someone lie and someone mischaracterize what it is you are doing.

I'll take four cases of that answer.

Reminds me of:" Either lead, follow, or stay the Hell out of the way."

48 posted on 10/19/2001 3:50:19 PM PDT by RobFromGa
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To: contessa machiaveli
I'm a Cheney chick who also thinks Don is a total mega-babe!
49 posted on 10/19/2001 3:59:45 PM PDT by EllaMinnow
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To: Stand Watch Listen
:)))
50 posted on 10/19/2001 4:06:59 PM PDT by Jefferson Adams
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