Each newscast led with its White House correspondent's analysis of the false start. NBC's David Gregory was blunt with Amb Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy to Baghdad: "Do you really expect people to believe this was not a snub?" "Oh, absolutely." And ABC's Martha Raddatz (subscription required) called it "a huge embarrassment" especially when the canceling foreign leader has "150,000 of your troops in his country." The White House "insisted that Bush was not snubbed," CBS' Jim Axelrod noted.
All three agreed that al-Maliki's no-show was spurred by a pair of factors: political pressure back home in Baghdad and the leaking of an insulting White House memo by NSC Advisor Stephen Hadley.
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