Thursday, September 16, 2010

The "non-denial denial" is alive and well at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington Post editor Benjamin C. Bradlee with the creation of the phrase " non-denial denial" to describe the evasive Oval Office answers given to the press in response to questions posed to the Nixon White House.

The phrase became more popular when featured by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their 1974 book "All the President's Men" describing evasive statements by then-Attorney General John N. Mitchell.

Now we are seeing history repeat itself, in much the same way based on what was released to the press today. According to Carla Bruni, wife of French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, a new book written in collaboration with Bruni claims that when she asked Michelle Obama how living in the White House was, she replied "Don’t ask! It’s hell. I can’t stand it!"

This statement supposedly took place this March during the Sarkozy visit to Washington. So the immediate response from the White House is the "non-denial denial" from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. 'The words attributed to the First Lady of the United States were never said,' " Gibbs tweeted, linking to a news report saying Michelle Obama denied making the remark.

The whole issue here is that the remark sounds like the conversation that would occur between Michelle and Carla, with FLOTUS never believing that Carla would repeat the remark to anyone. If we take that in connection to her husband's recent remark of " They talk about me like a dog", the remark by FLOTUS sounds like something we would anticipate her saying. There is also no reason for Ms. Bruni to lie about the remark.

Life in the "Goldfish Bowl" that is the White House is likely not fun, and I am sure it must be a terrible burden to bear, always having to be "ON" all the time. BUT how about thinking about how life is more "hellish" for the 95000 families that lost their homes to foreclosure in August 2010?? Or how much life is hell for the families who are living on unemployment and trying to keep from going under ?? or maybe life is more hellish for more than 43 million people that are living in poverty and almost 51 million who have no health insurance coverage. The level of poverty is the highest since 1994 and "the number of people in poverty in 2009 is the largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available."??? I believe their life is a little more hellish than that of our First Lady.

It is often in unscripted moments when people have let their guard down that you will truly find out who they really are. This seems to be one of those moments and it does state a lot about a FLOTUS - She has a history of this kind of "hoof-in-mouth-disease" stating that when her hubby got the nomination that "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.".

Many might state that there is too much scrutiny of the reported off-the-cuff remark made by FLOTUS but it seems like the White House has paid homage to President Nixon and made him proud by how quick they are to refute any remark or story that could give the public insight into what the OBOT White House really thinks & says. The "non-denial denial " is alive & well in Washington.

Maybe the change that we could use is people who take responsibility for what they say & do, unlike the White House which perpetuates the mistakes of the past by denying what they said when it becomes public.

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