Condoleezza Rice: Bush's Bullhorn Speech "Probably The Most Important Moment Maybe In American History"

May 03, 2011 11:32 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

It didn't take long after the momentous announcement of Osama bin Laden's death for conservatives to start taking credit and claiming vindication for the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies. This morning on Fox & Friends, former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined the chorus of conservatives heaping praise onto her former boss, suggesting that Bush's bullhorn speech at Ground Zero was "probably the most important moment maybe in American history."  

BRIAN KILMEADE: The president in his speech — did a great job on his speech Sunday night — talked about coming together like we did on 9/11, he wants to see it happen again. Do you think a nice gesture would be to invite President Bush out on Thursday when he comes down to Ground Zero to greet the families?

RICE: Well, obviously, I'll leave that to the two of them and to the administration. But President Bush had at Ground Zero probably the most important moment maybe in American history. It was when this wounded nation watched their commander-in-chief stand on that rubble and say that they will hear us, we are going to avenge this. And it's not just avenging Osama bin Laden, as important as that is. But it's all the field generals that have been brought to justice over the last years, it is improving now the prospects for an Afghanistan that might actually be stable, it's a worldwide net against al Qaeda, it's victories of democracy in places like Iraq. And so, slowly but surely this is all coming into place and President Bush began that with that call to the nation — that clarion call to the nation at Ground Zero.

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Bush deserves credit for rallying the nation after 9/11, but the campaign to inflate his role in bin Laden's demise is misguided. As others have pointed out, it was in fact Bush administration policy to deemphasize the hunt for bin Laden. Yet, many conservatives are so reflexively partisan that they are incapable of celebrating a national victory without trying to turn it into a political victory as well.  

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