Rove and Libby were chosen as the hatchet men who would actually talk to the reporters and put the information around. But of course Bush and Cheney were part of the deliberations that set the plan in motion. It involved outing a career CIA operative (and likely getting her contacts in the third world killed). It was very serious business. Bush would have had to have signed off on it, at least orally.
I have long been frustrated by the US press’s tendency to talk about Bush’s cabinet officers as though they were independent agents, and to put Bush on a pedestal. Let me just follow through on some further assertions in the spirit of Stephanopoulos’s remark.
It is fruitless to speculate about who dissolved the Iraqi army in May of 2003, and why. (This move contributed to the rise of the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement). Bush did it!
Who ordered the Marines, against their better judgement, to launch a reprisal attack on Fallujah after four Western private security guards were killed and their bodies desecrated there? Bush did it!
Who authorized torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib? Bush did it!
Who appointed Michael Brown, a man with no experience in emergency management, head of FEMA? Bush did it!
Who let Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora? Bush did it!
Who completely destroyed the fiscal health of the US government and forced us into massive debt, squandering Clinton’s surplus and endangering social security? Bush did it!
Bush is the president. He makes the decisions. If there has been a major bad decision, it has been his.
Who outed Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative? Bush did it!
Emphasis in the original.