HE FORGOT ABOUT AZERBAIJAN! Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposes a televised debate between himself and George W. Bush only to see the Bush administration spurn the idea in a humorless manner with a statement from spokeswoman Dana Perino:

"I'd refer you back to what the president, Secretary Rice, and others have said about the Iranian regime knowing what it has to do to engage constructively with international community,� Perino said. "We�ve said we are willing to talk to Iran in the context of positive response to the P5+1 package."

What we're seeing here once again is Bush's mastery of the expectations game. By making it seem that he's afraid to debate Ahmadenijad, he's laying the groundwork for being able to declare victory after turning in a mediocre performance. I just hope that someone in the communications office remembers that "P5+1" isn't the kind of thing you want to say in a live debate -- too eggheady.

--Matthew Yglesias

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