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Tuesday, February 03, 2004


Going through some files I found an article from last July in the Post about Ari Fleischer's exit from the White House. It included the following evasive maneuvers that seem worth remembering when one needs to spin:

Refer the questioner elsewhere

State a generic policy of responding

The non-sequiter

Reverse the burden of proof

The platitude

Which all just reminds me of a Doonesbury cartoon from last year in which Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld takes a question about looting and rephrases it in such a bizarre way that he can laugh it off and then completely defang the questioners. It went like this (use your imagination):

Secretary Rumsfeld, do you feel you finally have a handle on looting in Iraq?

You mena, is there still some guy out there stealing ashtrays? Probably.

Do we live in a perfect world where such things don't happen? Not likely.

Do I prefer asking my own question and then anser it? Gosh, yes!

Can I make you look foolish by implying its your question?" Absolutely!

Talk about fun with reporters. That's why so many of us ignore Sunday morning talk shows, interviews, or other chances to hear pols blather.