White House fury at Bush's 'grilling' on Irish television

The White House has lodged a complaint with the Irish embassy in Washington over the manner in which an RTE correspondent conducted an interview with President Bush on the eve of his visit to Ireland In the 15-minute interview for the RTE flagship television programme, Prime Time, RTE staffer Carole Coleman was told by the President on several occasions to stop interrupting him.

“You ask the questions and I’ll answer them, if you don’t mind,” Bush said testily.

Bush aides were said to be furious that the interview had turned into a grilling and that Coleman had, in their view, shown less than the expected degree of respect for the President. RTE stressed that, in accordance with White House regulations, a full list of questions was submitted to Bush in advance.

The interview in the White House was the first to be given to an Irish journalist in 20 years.

The Irish Government appeared to support the American complaint.

According to an Irish official it had been conveyed to the American Government that the Irish Government “would be sympathetic” to the American view.

The interview made headlines across America, with newspapers and broadcasters divided over Coleman’s techniques.

RTE stressed that the fact that a projected interview with First Lady Laura Bush, which it had hoped to obtain, failed to materialise was in no way related to any fallout from the interview with the President.

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