Petraeus and Crocker: PR pitchmen?

ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: As if they didn't have enough on their plates, it looks like the White House press shop has a new role for the US commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and the American ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker: pitchmen.

The White House this morning sent out an unusual "fact sheet" to reporters on President Bush's new war czar, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute. In it, Petraeus and Crocker are quoted praising Lute, sounding very much like IBM executives touting their new senior vice president for strategic planning.

The relevant "quotes:"

Gen. David Petraeus: "Doug Lute Knows Iraq." "Doug Lute knows Iraq, the region, and Washington, and he'll be a great addition to the team that is striving to achieve success in Iraq. He is also a doer." (General David Petraeus, 5/15/07)

Amb. Ryan Crocker: "His knowledge and experience will make him a valuable partner to our efforts in Iraq." "I look forward to working closely with LTG Doug Lute in the coming months. His knowledge and experience will make him a valuable partner to our efforts in Iraq." (Iraq Ambassador Ryan Crocker, 5/15/07)

For months now, the White House communications operation has compiled similar fact sheets by quoting media reports, in a format that looks very similar to the Republican National Committee's style. But these appear to be quotes gathered by the White House specifically for its p.r. efforts - presumably hoping that they'll get picked up in the media. Wonder if those quotes will appear anywhere in news reporting.

UPDATE: Asked about the releases by ABC's Martha Raddatz, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said the White House press office didn't solicit the quotes, and seemed annoyed that the question was even asked. "It's clearly a burning issue, so we'll look into it for you," Snow said at his daily briefing.

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