But the N.Y. Times refuses the meetings, which Bush is holding at the lowest ebb of his presidency. How this fits in with Bush’s “Blame the Media on Iraq” policy is something we’ll have to puzzle over.


WASHINGTON – At a low ebb of his presidency, George Bush is quietly meeting with small groups of White House reporters in off-the-record sessions.

The meetings, designed for informal discussion, are an expansion of off-the-record chats that Bush has held with new White House beat reporters for several years. Previous presidents have met with reporters in similar settings, and other Washington newsmakers also hold occasional off-the-record sessions.

The Associated Press and other news organizations have participated in the meetings with Bush. The New York Times said Tuesday that it would not.

“We welcome any and all opportunities to talk to the president, and all other newsmakers for that matter,” AP Washington bureau chief Sandy Johnson said. Off-the-record meetings are not a substitute for on-the-record sessions, she said.



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