Bush puts his finger on the right words

Anyone watching the hurricane coverage these past few weeks knows by now what the White House has to say: "Now is not the time for finger-pointing."

Anyone watching the hurricane coverage these past few weeks knows by now what the White House has to say: "Now is not the time for finger-pointing."

And who could argue? Clearly anyone with the gall to ask how scores of Americans could be left to die in a long-predicted storm must be some kind of jerk. These poor people are in dire need due to the criminal negligence of our highly vacationed elected officials, so the only decent thing to do now is avoid asking questions. So say our highly vacationed elected officials.

But as much as we enjoy being talked down to by politicians more interested in clearing brush than clearing bodies off the streets, we have to admit we found a certain satisfaction in the President's uncharacteristic admission last week that his administration had made some mistakes - and that he would personally take responsibility.

Yes, after weeks of patting subordinates on the back for a job hardly done and shamelessly trying to shift blame to local officials (finger-pointing time comes much sooner on the state level), Bush finally said, "I take responsibility." A simple phrase, yet one that's eluded him ever since the most dangerous thing we found in Iraq was very hot sand.

Of course, saying that you take responsibility and actually taking it aren't the same thing, and most Americans can tell the difference.

So we wait for some sign that our President isn't just talking the talk. Will he personally re-build New Orleans homes? Reunite families with abandoned pets? Mop the Superdome?

And no, helping Trent Lott rebuild his servants' quarters doesn't count.

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's news editor.

    Ratings: 1. Clueless 2. Ill-advised 3. On the right track 4. Savvy 5. Ingenious

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