QUITE A FEW PEOPLE IN THE BLOGOSPHERE predicted exactly this, and it appears they were right:
In the wake of Condoleezza Rice's testimony before a national television audience, 50% of American voters have a favorable view of the nation's National Security Advisor. Just 24% have an unfavorable view, while 26% are not sure or do not know who she is.
Following the Rice testimony, President Bush recorded his best two nights of polling in over a week. . . .
Rice's numbers are far better than those for Richard Clarke, the former Clinton and Bush official whose testimony two weeks ago kicked off a media frenzy. Following yesterday's testimony, Clarke is viewed favorably by just 27% of voters and unfavorably by 42%.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, Donald Sensing and Jeff Goldstein note that the release of the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing is making Richard Ben-Veniste look very bad. Sensing:
It is baffling that Ben-Veniste made such a big issue out of the memo two days ago. He had already seen the memo and knew it had nothing about the 9/11 attacks. I can only surmise that he was sure the White House would never release it.
Richard Ben Veniste knew this, too -- even as he tried using it to embarrass the Administration on national television. Because that's the kind of grandstanding nerd he is.
Lost in all this is how the Clinton administration, which did virtually nothing to fight terrorism for 8 years, is getting a complete pass. Clinton turned down a direct offer to hand over Osama Bin Laden and yet Bush is the one that is being raked over the coals for somehow not doing enough. The reason is we are in an election year, and the Bush-hating Democrats want to politicize the tragedies of September 11th. Where's the outrage about that? The Republicans wouldn't be able to get away with that for a second.
MORE: One of Donald Sensing's commenters observes:
It might be that Ben-Veniste is counting on the sensational charges to stay in the public's memory, and that the less-than-sensational truth will be somewhere on A29 rather than above the fold, so to speak. I mean, if all I knew was what the headlines told me, I'd think the PDB laid out the entire 9/11 plan complete with ten-panel cartoon.
Makes sense, though it doesn't seem to be working. But the press is sure trying hard to make it work.
Bush supporters, it's fair to say, were far more likely to watch than Bush opponents. Democrats Bob Kerrey and Richard Ben-Veniste grandstanded, using Rice's presence as a way to get attention for their own opinions. But I'm sure this made a terrible impression on most of the people who were actually paying attention. The Democratic partisans who would have enjoyed Kerrey and Ben-Veniste's behavior were apparently not interested in hearing what Rice had to say.
YET MORE: A couple of readers wonder if the Rasmussen poll above is accurate. I don't know, but it seems generally consistent with this report:
A growing number of Americans say they believe the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush did everything that could be expected to stop the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to two new polls.
A Time/CNN survey taken yesterday showed that 48 percent of Americans said they believe the Bush administration did all it could to prevent the attacks, up from 42 percent in a poll taken March 26-28. A CBS News poll, also conducted yesterday, showed 32 percent of Americans said the administration did everything possible to stop the attacks, up from 22 percent the previous week.
Sounds like the Rice testimony helped the Bush Administration.