"The administration's attempts to discredit Clarke have backfired. They have merely given the story legs and hurt the administration. The issue of whether Rice should testify should keep the story alive for several more news cycles," said University of Chicago political scientist Robert Pape.Note the last sentence in particular. Is there an ideological struggle underway in the President's inner circles?
"The Bush administration and its allies have certainly not helped the story go away," said Howard Opinsky, a Republican operative who ran media relations for Arizona Sen. John McCain during his 2000 presidential bid.
"Instead, they adopted the risky strategy of trying to refute his charges, which makes it appear that they have something to hide," he said.
Clarke accuses Bush, who is running for re-election on his record of fighting terrorism, of being obsessed with ousting Iraq's President Saddam Hussein at the expense of fully focusing on the war against terrorism.
The White House at first questioned an assertion by Clarke that President Bush asked him immediately after Sept. 11 to investigate whether Saddam was involved but on Sunday it confirmed that the conversation had taken place.
It's hard to imagine that all that money and experience are being used to such a paltry end without there being some sort of internal crisis to blame.