So Rumsfeld got some direct questions at his Q and A session with the troops yesterday. Specialist Thomas Wilson's in particular (the one about up-amouring vehicles with scrap metal and glass from the local landfills) was the question of record.
And Rumsfeld took the heat for his technical answer - he mentioned physics, production capability, and of course "going to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want". He answered the direct question with a similarly direct answer, but managed to register somewhere in the neighborhood of a zero point zero on the empathy scale.
Mr. Rumsfeld lost the perception battle yesterday, the press pretty much characterized it as a grill session (cnn, nyt, globe). Courageous soldier 1, Civilian Defense Dept Head 0 (although reading the transcript or first-hand accounts might tell a different story).
This morning Drudge splashed a memo from an embedded reporter, bragging about how he helped engineer some of the soldier's questions prior to the news conference. And since any memo like this that Drudge gets (I'd really like to know how he gets them by the way) sets the news cycle spinning, I imagine the story today will be that the "planted" questions are now suspect - Rumsfeld was "set up". Courageous soldier 0.
So what's the net impact of both of these stories as far as perception goes?