News & Politics

Bush's PR Boo-boo

George W's handlers are masters of the presidential photo-op, posing their boy just perfectly to convey a positive message for the TV cameras.
George W's handlers are masters of the presidential photo-op, posing their boy just perfectly to convey a positive message for the TV cameras.

But Bush's puffers and buffers boo-booed badly in St. Louis recently. George had been flown in to make a political sales pitch for his tax cut plan to help the superrich. To cast this multibillion-dollar giveaway in a soft, warm, and fuzzy "populist" light, his handlers chose the warehouse of a St. Louis trucking company as their press conference setting. It seemed perfectly suited to make us think that his program is all about helping small businesses in the heartland to create jobs for America. Don't think of it as a tax cut, was the spin, think of it as a grassroots plan to revitalize our sagging economy.

So there was George as the cameras rolled, giving his speech in front of what appeared to be stacks of cardboard boxes ready to move out. Only, there were no real boxes in the picture. Instead, he spoke in front of a canvas backdrop painted with boxes and bearing the proud, bold letters: "Made in America."

Why the faux prop, why not use the real boxes that were stacked all around the warehouse? Because, at the 11th hour, the Bushites discovered that the actual boxes were plainly stamped for all to see with the words: "Made in China."

Oops. This was definitely off message. The spin-of-the-day was that Bush's tax scheme for the rich would trickle down to Made-in-America jobs -- not more imports from low-wage hell holes like China. This was not good. OK, said the handlers, we can put George over here in front of a painted backdrop, but, still, this place will be crawling with reporters. What'll we do to keep them from seeing the real boxes?

That's when Bush workers were given rolls of tape to go through the whole warehouse, literally covering up the "Made in China" markings on each box.

Hey, Look on the positive side -- Bush found yet another use for duct tape. Is that stuff still made in America?
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