Amanda Ripley

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Double Standard? Bush v. Obama

30th Dec 2009 posted in Resilience

Josh Gerstein at Politico has a nice side-by-side comparing Bush’s reaction to the shoe bomber in 2001 to the Obama’s reaction this week. It’s an interesting notion, since both Richard Reid and Abdulmutallab, the suspect in this latest case, were said to have used PETN, a powerful explosive (more on PETN below). So what happened after that Dec. 22, 2001 bombing attempt (foiled by flight attendants and passengers) on an American Airlines flight from Paris?

t was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate…

...Bush was at Camp David when Reid used similar plastic explosives to try to blow up his Paris-to-Miami flight, which diverted to Boston after the incident.

Like the Obama White House, the Bush White House told reporters the president had been briefed on the incident and was following it closely….Bush did not address reporters about the Reid episode until December 28, after he had traveled from Camp David to his ranch in Texas.

To be fair, that was just three months after 9/11. Americans had not yet forgotten that terrorists were interested in attacking the country, and the bar for major news (and outrage) on the subject was lower. But still, an intriguing comparison.

Oh, yeah: To see what PETN looks like when it blows up, check out this CNN video. Pretty much comports with what the passengers I interviewed from NWA Flight 253 said he saw on the suspect’s lap… A loud pop, smoke—and, a minute or so later, flames rising above the suspect’s head.