At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.
"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.
"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.
"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"
"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
In a post labeled "Webb of Classlessness," Kathryn Lopez complains "It's bad enough it all happened -- but for Webb to continue it . . . A leader knows getting into a bitchfest with the president isn't the best way to start things off."
I'm not sure I can trust my judgment on this since I detest Bush and actually kind of like Webb, but the President seems to be the classless one here -- he tracks someone down who is avoiding him and then addresses him in an overly familiar manner ("how's your boy?"); and then responds condescendingly ( "That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?") when he doesn't like the first answer.
I would take a different view if Webb had sought out Bush for a confrontation, but he didn't. He told the Post, "I'm not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall." I assume that the number of people who are is rapidly dwindling.