Uncensored remarks earn president praise, scorn

ON BLOGS

July 23, 2006|By TROY MCCULLOUGH

President Bush's "sh-" hit the proverbial Internet fan with the fury of an international crisis last week.

Right or wrong, bloggers live for the unscripted moments.

So it was inevitable that Bush's colorful remarks to British Prime Minister Tony Blair about the crisis in the Middle East would be amplified far beyond the Group of Eight dinner table where they were picked up by a live microphone.

"What they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over," Bush said to Blair in a brief undiplomatic moment.

CNN gleefully posted the video clip on its Web site, and the court of blogging opinion immediately went into session.

"Not very good conduct for a `good Christian' such as him," wrote Blanton's and Ashton's Web log. "I consider the man to be an abomination to the Christian religion and a terrible example of what supposedly religious people are or should be."

Martin Lewis on the Huffington Post appeared equally offended, but the target of his outrage was another unflattering moment picked up by the live mic: Bush's loud chewing-and-talking-with-his-mouth-open table manners.

"I am disgusted that he would speak while chewing food - and that he chews with his mouth wide open," Lewis wrote. "That is just such a bad example to set [for] kids. I seem to recall that we impeached a President recently for setting a bad example [for] kids."

Others appeared more than willing to overlook the boorish table display for the greater truths that the president imparted.

"I wish that diplomatic niceties allowed President Bush to make such a statement publicly, rather than confining it to a private conversation," wrote Greg on Rhymes with Right.

"Really, it's just the expletive. He appears to have used it very well. I can get behind the proper use of foul language," added Prowler1971 on his LiveJournal page.

The whole outrage-over-foul-language theme set more than a few bloggers off.

"Israel and Lebanon are bombing the [BLEEP] out of each other and you are going to interrupt that real news to talk about and over analyze that Bush was overheard using an expletive?" wrote an incredulous His Hamstress on LiveJournal. "He's Bush. He's from Texas. He's facing a huge crisis. Is this really what you need to be talking about? [BLEEPING] [BLEEP] people. Priorities."

"Of course, the Prezdent of the USA using `the `s'-word' is such a world-shattering headline that CNN has to splash it on the front page," added Jay Andrew Allen on his site. "God only knows what would've been the uproar if the news crew had captured the bit about the hookers-and-blow after-party."

Blogger and journalist Ezra Klein made a good point that bloggers and journalists alike had missed the real story.

"Given the relative opacity of Bush's thoughts on the situation, the frank discussion offered a fair amount of insight and a couple nuggets of news," Klein wrote.

But, he added, "the President has a potty mouth is a more pressing story than the President believe sufficient pressure on the sovereign nation of Syria could be the key to ending an intensely volatile war in the Middle East. What a proud day for my profession."

troy.mccullough@baltsun.com

Listen to Troy McCullough's podcasts at baltimoresun.com/onblogs.

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