Bush's attempt to showcase himself as a leader who could handle tough questions from the press corps fell just as flat as his unscripted town-meeting style appearance in Cleveland the day before.
"President Bush exhibited symptoms of pathological prevarication," says Dr. Stephanie Crossfield, a psychologist who treats people who have trouble telling the truth and who watched Bush's performances on Monday and Tuesday at my request. "His eye movements, gestures, and changes in voice tone all display traits of consistent evasion of the truth."
This isn't the first time I've asked Dr. Crossfield to study a politician. She watched several of former President Bill Clinton's press conferences and came to similar conclusions about Clinton disassociation with reality.
When studying a subject, she watches the eyes.
"Eye movement is difficult to control," she said. "You find that the eyes dart away in specific patterns when a person is not telling the truth. The President's eyes dart a great deal. He is not comfortable facing the truth."
Dr. Justin Frank, author of the book, Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, agrees with Dr. Crossfield.
"President Bush marches deeper and deeper into a world of his own," says Dr. Frank. "Central to Bush's world is an iron will which demands that external reality be changed to conform to his personal view of how things are."
Republicans reluctantly admit Bush has lost touch with the truth. Sen. Chuck Hagel says the President is "disconnected from reality."
Venture out beyond the Beltway and you find conservative Republicans shaking their head and wondering the same thing.
Dennis Dalbey cuts the hair of Camp Pendleton's young Marines, giving them the regulation haircut before they head to combat in Iraq. His barbershop on the Coast Highway near the base in California is covered with painted yellow ribbons, flags and "We support our troops" banners. But Dalbey, a Republican and a self-described conservative who voted for Bush, says he is fed up with the President's lies.
"Enough is enough," he says. "It's time to bring the boys home."
In San Marcos, retired Navy veteran Herb Ranquist, 77, sits in the local VFW hall and says Bush is a failure.
"I voted for him two times, and I wish I hadn't," Ranquist says. "It was probably one of the worst mistakes I ever made."
Dr. Crossfield says it doesn't take a degree in psychology or advanced training in spotting liars to realize the President plays fast and loose with the truth.
"More and more ordinary Americans see the evidence clearly every day," she says. "It is difficult to ignore."
Dr. Frank says Bush can't change his ways.
"Taking responsibility has always been hard for George W. Bush," he says. "Taking responsibility for inflicting harm on others, a major step in the development of maturity, is a step President Bush has yet to make. Instead, he persists in lying to himself."
And to the American people.
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