(From the official White House web page:)
After holding a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President George W. Bush poses with fellow birthday celebrants in the East Room Thursday, July 6, 2006. The President celebrates his 60th birthday today. Pictured with him are, from left. Todd Mizis of the U.S. State Department; Raghubir Goyal of the India Globe and Asia Today; and Richard Benedetto of USA Today. White House photo by Kimberlee HewittEverybody else in the room celebrating birthdays that day, were invited up by the president to share the spotlight with the Canadian Prime Minister and to have formal pictures taken and released.
Raghubir Goyal, in his question to the president, mentioned the coincidence of their birthdays being the same day. The spontaneous dialog went like this:
PRESIDENT BUSH: Welcome. Thank you for your birthday gift.The State Department's Todd Mizis is wearing clothes that don't fit--and that ends his story right there. Raghubir Goyal, of the India Globe, is looked upon as probably one of the biggest jokes in the White House press corps--he's not as obviously corrupt as Jeff Gannon was in lobbing softballs but he can always be counted on to turn the talk at a pivotal moment to third-world cow sanctions, and the like.
Q: Mr. President, happy birthday.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, very much. Yes.
Q: It's also my birthday.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Today's your birthday, too?
Q: Yes, sir.
PRESIDENT BUSH: It is? Come on up. Come up, come up, come up. (Laughter.) Come on.Get up here. Anybody else have their birthday today? (Laughter.) It's your birthday? Yes, sure. It is your birthday? Come on. (Laughter.) It's amazing everybody's birthday.
(The press sings "Happy Birthday.")
PRESIDENT BUSH: Dear Richard---he just told me he's 30 years old. (Laughter.) Happy birthday. Happy birthday.
END 12:34 P.M. EDT
Benedetto was a White House reporter for USAToday during George H.W. Bush's presidency, and he obviously made some connections with the higher ups.
Richard Benedetto also just happens to be one of the scores of USAToday and other Gannett media employees who were eyewitnesses to a 757 Jet, American Airlines Flight 77, striking the Pentagon on the morning of September 11, 2001. Benedetto's account was also prominently featured on CNN, in addition to many writeups.
Gannett's Vision Statement, reads "Consumers will choose Gannett media for their news and information needs, anytime, anywhere, in any form, (I might add--or else!)
Here is Benedetto's first-person account: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/11/washscene.htm
“Richard Benedetto, a USA TODAY reporter, saw the plane slam into the Pentagon. "It sounded like an artillery shell. It hit on the west side of the building, near the helipad."IT. It, he says!
The only question left: Is he a dope, a stooge, a pawn….
These sort of "eyewitness" accounts are being debunked one by one. My favorite is conservative ideologue James S. Robbins, who gives us equal measures of snark and b.s writing in the National Review, "I was looking directly at it when the aircraft struck. The sight of the 757 diving in at an unrecoverable angle is frozen in my memory."
Ummm... seemed like rather a level approach to most people. At least his leading with a Voltaire quote, "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous," is suitable. Like the case for going to war in Iraq, only the flimsiest evidence supports the official story. Its two main legs to stands on are the eyewitness reports, and the supposed bodies recovered, which only the F.B.I. and Army pathologists ever saw, constitutes the entirety of the evidential record that Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.