COMMENTS: Lame Duck Makes No Waves

George Bush made his final address as President of the United States to the General Assembly of the United Nations and received less coverage at the seat of world government than Sarah Palin did. Not a single White House correspondent was dispatched to cover Bush's speech for the networks' newscasts. Besides Palin, the General Assembly inspired a couple of other stories. The appearance by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran led David Martin, CBS' Pentagon correspondent, to update us on Teheran's extravagant publicity campaign in celebration of uranium enrichment centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear facility. The silver-tubed machines may be making fuel for a nuclear power plant or for a nuclear weapon. Either way, "no other country has ever done anything like it, declare a national holiday in honor of nuclear technology."

President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia sat down with NBC anchor Brian Williams for an In Depth discussion of his nation's recent crushing wartime loss at the hands of Russia, its northern neighbor. Williams recounted Georgia's command and control effort: "You at one time were personally directing elements of the battle giving orders over a regular cellphone and deciding when to move a brigade?" he asked incredulously. "Certainly I gave orders to respond," answered Saakashvili. "You know, our main army brigade was in Iraq at the time. We never called it back because we did not expect this kind of sweep Russian invasion."

Saakashvili recalled a separate telephone conversation with Palin. He called her "very interactive," "very amicable," and "ferociously smart."


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