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Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation




































Thursday | July 17, 2003

Bush won't take responsibility for own words

This is straight from Bush himself:

During the more than half century of my life, we have seen an unprecedented decay in our American culture, a decay that has eroded the foundations of our collective values and moral standards of conduct. Our sense of personal responsibility has declined dramatically, just as the role and responsibility of the federal government have increased.

The changing culture blurred the sharp contrast between right and wrong and created a new standard of conduct: "If it feels good, do it." and "If you've got a problem, blame somebody else. Individuals are not responsible for their actions," the new culture has said. "We are all victims of forces beyond our control. We have gone from a culture of sacrifice and saving to a culture obsessed with grabbing all the gusto. We went from accepting responsibility to assigning blame.

Hmmm. So, if I'm not mistaken, accepting personal responsibility is a virtue, and "assigning blame" is a vice, correct?

Every morning, before the official White House Daily Briefing, the press get to ask question in its "gaggle" session -- all on the record, but no recordings or cameras allowed. And, no official transcripts are produced. As a result, the press is often more aggressive in these sessions.

Josh Marshall has the goods from this morning's press gaggle:

QUESTION: Regardless of whether or not there was pressure from the White House for that line, I'm wondering where does the buck stop in this White House? Does it stop at the CIA, or does it stop in the Oval Office?

Scott McClellan: Again, this issue has been discussed. You're talking about some of the comments that -- some that are --

QUESTION: I'm not talking about anybody else's comments. I'm asking the question, is responsibility for what was in the President's own State of the Union ultimately with the President, or with somebody else?

Scott McClellan: This has been discussed.

QUESTION: So you won't say that the President is responsible for his own State of the Union speech?

Scott McClellan: It's been addressed.

QUESTION: Well, that's an excellent question. That is an excellent question. (Laughter.) Isn't the President responsible for the words that come out of his own mouth?

Scott McClellan: We've already acknowledged, Terry, that it should not have been included in there. I think that the American people appreciate that recognition.

QUESTION: You acknowledge that, but you blame somebody else for it. Is the President responsible for the things that he said in the State of the Union?

Scott McClellan: Well, the intelligence -- you're talking about intelligence that -- sometimes you later learn more information about intelligence that you didn't have previously. But when we're clearing a speech like that, it goes through the various agencies to look at that information and --

QUESTION: And so when there's intelligence in a speech, the President is not responsible for that?

Scott McClellan: We appreciate Director Tenet saying that he should have said, take it out.

QUESTION: But it's the President's fault.

Scott McClellan: In fact, if you look back at it, I mean, we did take out a different reference, a reference based on different sources in a previous speech because it was said -- the CIA Director said, take it out.

[...]

QUESTION: Scott, on Keith's question, why can't we just expect, basically what would be a non-answer, which is, of course the President is responsible for everything that comes out of his mouth. I mean, that's a non-answer. Why can't you just say that?

Scott McClellan: This issue has been addressed over the last several days.

QUESTION: Why won't you say that, though, that's, like, so innocuous and benign.

Scott McClellan: The issue has been addressed.

"Personal responsibility"? None of that in this White House. They won't even admit that Bush is responsible for the words that come out of his mouth. Unbelievable!

As for "assigning blame", just ask Tenet what Bush thinks of that.

Posted July 17, 2003 05:50 PM





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