COMMENTS: Bohemian Pilsener

All three networks sent their White House correspondents to accompany George Bush on his trip to Europe. First stop was Prague and first news was made by Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. In response to a NATO plan to install a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors in Poland, Putin announced that Europe would now be a Russian target. NBC's David Gregory quoted Putin: "Ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or some completely new systems--that is a technical matter." Bush's response, noted CBS' Jim Axelrod, was that NATO's defense was not a guard against Russian missiles but for those from Iran or North Korea. "Neither Iran nor North Korea has a missile that can reach Europe," Axelrod shrugged.

ABC's Martha Raddatz (subscription required) stepped away from the White House entourage to take a trip to the Czech village of Stitov where the radar will be built. And a very good idea that seemed too, judging by the freshly poured glass of pilsener that the local mayor enjoyed while he shared his fears of a renewed Cold War. Speaking of which, NBC anchor Brian Williams offered an odd formulation when he stated that "most Americans" who lived through the Cold War "welcomed the thaw" when it ended. Who does Williams imagine belongs to the minority that is nostalgic for those old days Back in the USSR? Was that backhanded Bush-bashing?


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