(Washington--D.C.) In a CNN/USA Today poll, 53% of Americans polled believed more in Santa Claus than in victory in Iraq. And with a survey question also including belief in the Grinch and Snoopy, the number rose to 58%. The White House was quick to react.
In his afternoon press briefing, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said: "First, the President has the utmost respect for Santa Claus, Kris Kringle and even Babbo Natale, but we see this as a seasonal aberration." When pressed on the Snoopy/Grinch statistic, Snow first took a long drink from his ever-present Costco sized bottle of Pepto-Bismol. "Well...that...yeah...many people confuse President Bush with the Grinch, but that's just because...well...it's obvious...they...they both have dogs."
Snow went on to speak to specifics in the Bush victory plan. "As the President said, in two years the Iraqi people have made an incredible amount of progress toward self rule. They've gone from hitting statues with shoes to wearing them. Now, that may not seem like much until you try walking on some of those bombed out roads."
A reporter for the "North Pole Candy Cane" then asked whether Americans' belief in Santa Claus over the President's Iraq victory plan showed the country's absolute lack of confidence in Bush as a leader. Snow was direct. "I didn't want to mention this. But who elected Santa Claus? A leader is someone chosen by the people in a fair, or almost fair, election. It seems Santa declared himself Leader of the North Pole. That sounds more like dictator talk to me. Santa/Saddam,they sound very familiar. Don't they?"
CNN's John King immediately challenged Snow. "Are we to understand that you are saying Santa is a dictator? You do know that he is fictional?"
Snow replied: "I know that. I'm saying this fictional character, who is a dictator, is this the person we want to believe in? Is this the person we want our children to follow? And I want to get back to that poll. When you take into account the amount of Jews who participated, the number drops to only 52% of Americans believe more in Santa Claus than in the President's victory plan in Iraq. I think my point is made."