CNN’s Candy Crowley was perpetuating one of the American media’s favorite myths about Barack Obama, that his mere election in 2008 had radically improved the United States’ image around the world after those disastrous eight years of Republican George W. Bush, whose policies and flunkies caused so many foreigners to really dislike the world’s sole remaining superpower.
Obama’s “supporters,” said Crowley, “say that in two years he has been able to return this country to a status of being liked across the world in a way that America was not liked during the Bush administration.
“That he has once again made America a beacon.”
The trouble for Crowley Sunday was that she was interviewing Donald Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld knows a little something about the world after being a military pilot, corporate executive, congressman, White House aide, Washington power-player and media adversary, as well as secretary of Defense during many of those Bush years.
“Do you agree with that?” she asked Rumsfeld with a straight face.
“Do you think that — that the U.S. is now looked at much differently than it was and much more positively than it was during your tenure?”
Rumsfeld is promoting his memoirs, “Known and Unknown,” and has been doing nonstop media appearances trying to sell as many copies as possible because he’s donated all proceeds to benefit military families.
“I think he has made a practice of trying to apologize for America. I personally am proud of America.”
Crowley seemed surprised at Rumsfeld’s ignorance about Obama’s powerful positive public image abroad.
She stated: “Well, he seems to be quite popular overseas in a way that President Bush was not. The streets aren’t full of people burning him in effigy.”
She continued: “There does seem to be a new — a chance to look at America in a different way than it did during the Bush administration. You don’t think that’s true?”
Rumsfeld replied: “I don’t think that’s true and I don’t think that there’s data that would support that.”
Crowley didn’t need any data. She persisted: “Even though the streets look differently?”