Bush: Yes, Peter. Are you going to ask that question with shades on?Wallsten was wearing shades because he is legally blind.
Wallsten: I can take them off.
Bush: I’m interested in the shade look, seriously.
Wallsten: All right, I’ll keep it, then.
Bush: For the viewers, there’s no sun. (Laughter)
Wallsten I guess it depends on your perspective. (Laughter)
Bush: Touche. (Laughter)
He has a rare genetic disorder called Stargardt’s Disease. The disease is a form of macular degeneration that can be slowed “by wearing UV-protective sunglasses and avoiding exposure to bright light.”
Now Wallsten has said that there was no reason that Bush should know that he needed the shades to protect what's left of his sight and Bush later apologized, so end of story?
I don't think so...
Peter Daou thinks that Bush's "humor" is misplaced:
"Bush's clownish banter with reporters - which is on constant display during press conferences - stands in such stark contrast to his administration's destructive policies and to the gravity of the bloodbath in Iraq that it is deeply unsettling to watch. This may be impolitic, but wouldn't refraining from frat-style horseplay be appropriate for this man? Or at the least, can't reporters suppress their raucous laughter every time he blurts out another jibe... the way they did when Colbert put them in their place?"But, its more than that.
I agree with Daou that Digby's got it right when he commented about this AP story:
He stopped by Broward Community College, where government officials set up tents and tables with laptops to help dozens of seniors there choose among the myriad plan options available.Digby said regarding this incident:
Bush visited with some waiting in a courtyard where Frank Sinatra's "Young At Heart" played on the loudspeakers, then he went indoors where people were looking over the laptops. He walked around giving handshakes and hugs to those who rose for his entrance, and greeted a man who remained sitting in a wheelchair with, "You look mighty comfortable." (emphasis added)
"There's an interesting simple psychology involved in such things. If someone can coerce those in a group to help him attack a single member they become his accomplices. For instance, getting everybody in the press corps to laugh at a reporter's baldness makes those reporters part of the president's gang. And, of course, it intimidates them. If they stray, they too will be subject to that kind of public humiliation. It's the evil fratboy theory of social relations, very primitive stuff. That Bush may be reduced to plying this unconsciously with senior citizens in wheelchairs is not surprising, given his poll numbers."Now, watch the video of the Bush/Wallsten exchange at Crooks & Liars.
Bush is being pissy when he first asks, "Are you going to ask that question with shades on?"
Maybe he wanted to be able to look into Wallsten's soul, but I think this is just another example of Bush's supreme arrogance. Remember how upset he got with a reporter for calling him "sir" instead of "Mr. President?" I think Bush somehow believed that Wallsten addressing him in "shades" wasn't being servile enough.
For a great example of Bush's real character, take a look at this video.
You'll see that "during a commercial break on the David Letterman show, producer Maria Pope was on stage and discussing something with Letterman, and while she was standing there in front of Bush, George leaned forward, grabbed the back of her sweater and used it to clean his glasses."
That's the shitty little frat boy in action.
That's an arrogant little git.