Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dana Perino -- Now and Then

Going by the Scott McClelland example, saying one thing when you're Bush's press secretary and something else now, we're guessing how it'll be with Dana Perino.

Now, she's very tight-lipped, serious to defend the boss, with righteous indignation any time anyone would cast him in a bad light. But then, we're guessing, when her own book is published in 2010, we're expecting a different story.

As to this matter of naming a sewage facility after President Bush -- which is definitely aimed in the right direction as a fitting memorial to him -- Dana had very little to say.

"Q The New York Times reported this morning from San Francisco that the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is planning to ask voters to change the name of the prize-winning water treatment on the shoreline to, "The George W. Bush Sewage Plant." And my question: What is the White House reaction to this New York Times news report?

"MS. PERINO: I just don't think it dignifies a response."

But what can we expect from the press secretary when the times and circumstances -- writing a book and hoping to cash in -- demand it?

Looking back with reflection, she might say, "Then there was the episode in San Francisco, voting whether to name a water treatment plant after the President, "The George W. Bush Sewage Plant." The White House was in meltdown mode that day, as I recall. Iraq, North Korea, and Iran were all pushed to the back burner. The focus was solely on this sewage plant issue. There was a lot of activity and discussion as to how we should respond. Some thought we should take it in the spirit of fun -- self-deprecating humor. Others thought we should show real anger, to uphold the dignity of the office. Both suggestions had their obvious downside. We decided to show mild anger by "not dignifying" it with a response, then to hope that it would go no further in the news cycle. The jokes were the worst of it, and we didn't think we could keep the President in the dark on it forever, but somehow we managed. But my own opinion -- now the truth can be told -- was that it was an entirely appropriate gesture by the San Franciscans. I might only add that he deserved worse, but what that would've been I don't know."

Reached today for comment on the whole matter, Scott McClelland himself said, "I cannot comment on an ongoing sewage treatment plant naming. Except to say, great idea!"

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