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curiousgeorges.gifScores of news organizations reported the remarkably curious story yesterday that President Bush was not aware that shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports were being sold to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until after his administration had approved the deal. At the moment, headlines on Bush’s position conflict wildly. He knew, he didn’t know, he won’t back down, he’ll wait a while. Even if it’s not a national security issue, as some observors claim, it sure is a screwy way to handle media and public relations! Is the White House spin machine imploding?

How come….
Today, in the comments on Think Progress blog, in a post about the outsourcing of the operation of the six largest ports in the US, I found a link to a January 24th press release on the Dubai Ports World site that says:

Dubai, 24 January 2006: – Global ports operator DP World today welcomed news that one of its senior executives, Dave Sanborn, has been nominated by US President George W. Bush to serve as Maritime Administrator a key transportation appointment reporting directly to Norman Mineta the Secretary of Transportation and Cabinet Member.
The White House has issued a statement from Washington DC announcing the nomination. The confirmation process will begin in February.
Mr Sanborn currently holds the position of Director of Operations for Europe and Latin America for the Dubai-based company

Curiously, more than a month before the Dubai deal that Bush “didn’t know about” he nominated Sanborn to the Maritime Administration. Daily Kos points to this January 17th White House Personnel Announcement

The President intends to nominate David C. Sanborn, of Virginia, to be Administrator of the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation. Mr. Sanborn currently serves as Director of Operations for Europe and Latin America at DP World. Prior to this, he served as Senior Vice President for North America Service Delivery at CMA-CGM (America) LLC. Mr. Sanborn also served as Vice President for Network-Operations for American President Lines, Pte. Ltd. Earlier in his career, he served as Director for Operations for Sea-Land Service, Inc. Mr. Sanborn is a retired Lieutenant Junior Grade for the United States Naval Reserve. He received his bachelor’s degree from the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

Now the President, faced by bi-partisan uproar, says he’s possibly willing to accept a slight delay in the deal. At the same time, his posse is defending the deal. Does the president just not hear dissent? Or is he really so out of touch that he really does not care?
Dear Congress: Your backbone is attached to your ass bone
It’s certainly a strange sight to see Majority Leader Bill Frist standing with Hillary Clinton to oppose Bush. With mid-term elections looming, the majority of Americans opposing the president, perhaps the Congress will suddenly discover its backbone will hold it up if it gets off its ass.