They've never much cared for the Today show inside the White House, feeling it was just too anti-Bush to stomach sometimes. So maybe it shouldn't come as a big surprise that some insiders were shocked that the prez gave former cohost Katie Couric a big smooching interview for her debut at CBS last week and Today's Matt Lauer a 9/11 session for today's show. "What were they thinking? Why are we rewarding them?" asks one insider. In fact, when Couric first switched jobs, it was expected that she'd try to nail a Bush interview to show she counted. She spent lots of time in Washington wooing big shots and overcoming those Bushies who wanted to shut her out. Now, others say, what was Bush supposed to do: Ignore Couric, who was expected to bring in huge audiences for her debut, which she did. Or duck Today's 9/11 coverage just to make a point? Of course not. But all was not lost for the Couric critics who were looking for some nick in her armor: Seems she was uncharacteristically nervous going into the Bush interview.