(Washington, D.C.) It had been a good week for President Bush on the economic front. The deficit is smaller than predicted. But his statement at a Wichita pancake breakfast, “good news, we’re less broke, pile on the syrup”, has members of the administration spinning faster than a tobacco lobbyist at a hospice.
More uncomfortable than Britney Spears trying to squeeze into a concert outfit from 1999, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow offered this explanation. “What the President meant was that while there is some good news here, because we have a smaller deficit, it must be tempered with a cautious optimism, that there are still issues to contend with such as rebuilding after Katrina and the drain on Social Security from aging baby boomers. But I have to admit ‘pile on the syrup’ is an economic term with which I’m not familiar.”
Dick Cheney replied simply, “He said what?” Immediately after, the Vice President began grabbing his chest, muttering “no, no, not again”. Further comment was unavailable, being drowned out by the ambulance siren. Newly minted White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten stood by his “giving the green light” to the pancake breakfast on the President’s schedule, but added, “I’m a bit dismayed at the ‘pile on the syrup’ reference, which I believe was a bit off color for that time of day.”
However, Democrats are less kind in their assessment of the reduced deficit, a sentiment best summed up by Rep. John Spratt Jr. of South Carolina, who sits on the Budget Committee. “The 2006 deficit represents a $600 billion swing from the surplus projected in 2001. In nominal terms, it’s one of the four largest in history, and they’re talking about syrup? It disgusts, especially since I’m a diabetic.”
When confronted with the Spratt quote, Snow was quick to respond. “As I said, I’m not familiar with the economic concept.”
While boarding Marine One en route to somewhere, the President was asked about his quote. His response proved that he has not lost his press magic. “If I offended anyone with the syrup remark, I apologize. But I’m not going to deny it. I like syrup.” Having forgotten what the initial scandal was about, White House reporters applauded.
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