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Borja.jpgUntil last night, the Bush White House had run an absolutely supreme spin factory. But the jig is up.
“There is no strategy, this is a ping pong game with American lives” said Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska. Republican! Heart Land! Not some flaming liberal.
It was not so much what Bush said as what he ignored. I was appalled that the President did not acknowledge the presence of Ceasar Borja Jr., who attended the State of the Union address on Tuesday night – just hours after learning his father had died from lung problems caused by his work at the disaster site after 9/11.
Young Borja promised his father, in what turned out to be their last conversation, that he would make him proud, and he’s already begun. He was a guest of Hilary Clinton last night. The media had talked about the fact that Borja would be there and that Rep. Carolyn Maloney would be bringing other rescue workers who are now sick from the dust. Their presence was no surprise.
But Bush didn’t acknowledge them. Instead, he cut the paltry $1.9 million $1.9 billion program that would provide much-needed medical care to hundreds of 9/11 workers and citizens of lower Manhattan who are now falling ill. Thousands may need help down the road because there is no way to know the long-term consequences of inhaling buildings and burning airplanes.
I have more than a cursory interest in this topic since I too have suffered serious lung damage from being trapped in the WTC dust. I can only imagine how much worse it is for those who worked at the site long hours every day for months.
As of today, Bush has a 28% approval rating. Richard Nixon’s approval rating during the height of the Watergate scandal was 26%.
There’s no way to spin those numbers away now.