The White House Phone Rang at 3 a.m.
Remember back during the 2008 campaign Hillary Clinton ran that ad asking who you’d want to be in the White House when the “3 a.m. phone call” came?3 hours after midnight Eastern time this past Saturday, that 3 a.m. phone call came. The President of Poland, his wife, major government and military leaders, and others all died in a horrible plane crash in Russia.In Europe, the rumor is rampant, without any evidence, that Vladimir Putin was behind it. The confirmed story is that the Russian military repeatedly tried to persuade the Polish pilot to divert his craft due to zero visibility. The pilot, given the ceremony the Polish delegation was headed to, which commemorated the slaughter of thousands of Poles by the Soviets in World War II, refused. The plane hit trees on landing and all died.CNN has updated their story repeated. When I looked at it at 9:46 a.m. ET on Saturday morning, something very odd stood out.British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had released a statement.French President NIcholas Sarkozy had released a statement.An American Undersecretary of State for Public Affairs had released a statement.Sometime after that the White House released its statement (note: I’m told in an email the statement was actually released earlier, but still after sunrise). The White House blog had nothing at all until 12:48 p.m. ET.This shouldn’t be a partisan point. I am genuinely curious. Why the delay? Did the President sleep through the 3 a.m. phone call? If you think it is unfair to ask, just imagine if it were George W. Bush.