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Civility on 9/11: TV pundit Scarborough thanks Bush, Obama for 'remarkable work'

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 11 2012 12:27 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2011 file photo, former U.S. President George W. Bush addresses those attending the 10th anniversary commemoration of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. For the first time, elected officials won't be allowed to speak Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, at an occasion that has allowed them a solemn turn in the spotlight, a change made in the name of avoiding politics, but rapped by some as a political move in itself.

Allan Tannenbaum, Pool, File, Associated Press

On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Joe Scarborough — the conservative former congressman and co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program — temporarily stepped away from partisan politics Tuesday to thank both George W. Bush and Barack Obama for their roles in keeping America safe during the 11 years since terrorists launched a series of coordinated attacks on U.S. soil.

As Mediaite first reported, on Tuesday’s “Morning Joe” show Scarborough said, “Even if we disagreed with some of George Bush’s policies and even if we disagreed with some of Barack Obama’s policies in this area, which we do, and we’ve criticized both, is it okay to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President — thank you, President Bush; thank you, President Obama?’ Because while it was ugly and while we still disagree with a lot that this president’s done and the last president’s done, we haven’t had another attack. And that is (pretty) remarkable, remarkable work by the president, by the CIA, by the FBI, by New York City police, by our entire nation’s security apparatus.

“It’s so easy for us to attack them. But can we just stop today and thank President Bush and thank President Obama, thank our men and women in the CIA, the FBI, and everybody that’s kept us safe for 11 years?”

Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple — with tongue firmly in cheek, it should be noted — responded to Scarborough’s series of rhetorical questions by noting that touchy-feely civility is unlikely to boost ratings. Wemple wrote, “Yes, Joe, go ahead. But make it really quick, because your bosses and the bosses of other ideological media would like to get back to slanted and tendentious political coverage as quickly as possible.”

Vanity Fair reported Tuesday that following the presidential inauguration in January, Scarborough “plans on publishing a memoir that will serve — no joke — as a vehicle to test the waters for a presidential run in 2016.”

J.G. Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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