Olbermann: 'Absurd' Bush defender 'had to be stoned'
David Edwards and Rachel Oswald
Published: Thursday March 12, 2009

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Former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer’s Wednesday attempts to spin the Bush presidency on Iraq and the economy were met with nothing but derision and disdain by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann who said Fleischer must have been ‘stoned’ to make such statements.

Appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews earlier in the day, Fleischer defended former President Bush’s legacy, saying “I think Barack Obama should say ‘thank you’ every day that he inherited a world without Saddam Hussein in it.”

He added that as a result of the Bush tax cuts, the country got “55 straight months of job creation.”

Fleischer also attempted to propagate the now widely discredited neoconservative theory that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were allies and that Hussein had a hand in 9/11 by saying, “After Sept. 11, how could we take a chance that Saddam might not strike again.”

To all of these statements, Olbermann on his Wednesday night program Countdown responded with “Fleischer had to be stoned” and that recent attempts by Fleischer and other Bush aides to spin the presidency were “patently absurd” and “almost insane.”

“We got this arrogant, condescending crap that Obama should basically be sending thank you notes to Bush every day for ridding the world of Saddam Hussein,” Olbermann said, asking Newsweek editor and MSNBC political analyst Jonathan Alter, "Is the idea that the more ridiculous you make the spin, the larger the yield?”

“I don’t think there’s too much reality,” Alter said of the Bush aides, adding “These folks are all in the legacy business. A lot of the Bush veterans can’t find jobs so they have plenty of time to go out and spin for their old boss.”

Politico's Mike Allen has reported on new attempts by former Bush aides to spin the administration's record.

Fleischer told Allen that the Bush pundits are “a loose confederation of people united in our belief in what President Bush did, and we’re freer now to talk about some things than we used to be — good and bad.”

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Mar. 11, 2009.

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