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Bush needs to spend time explaining facts

President Bush would have done better to have kept his mouth shut Thursday.

His speech to the American public touched on a subject it should not have and was vague on subjects that should have been clear.

First, the president commented on Terri Schiavo’s death. In his comments, he offered words of praise for Schiavo’s family and later pushed his own political agenda:

“I urge all those who honor Terri Schiavo to continue to work to build a culture of life where all Americans are welcomed and valued and protected, especially those who live at the mercy of others.”

The president’s commenting on Schiavo’s death is a disgusting reminder of how involved in the situation the press and the government had become. Whether one believes the feeding tube should have been removed or reinserted, most can and should agree that this case had no place in the public specter. The president should have steered clear of meddling in the situation and should not have commented on the case at all. It’s not the business of the United States president.

After making his comments on Schiavo, Bush unclearly reminded the American public that yes, the United States was “dead wrong” in the judgments it made in invading Iraq.

The president noted the findings of a presidential commission, whose report followed the failure of U.S. inspectors in Iraq to turn up any weapons of mass destruction, according to the Associated Press. The commission concluded it “simply cannot afford failures of this magnitude.” The report is more than 600 pages long.

When Bush gave his reaction to the commission’s findings, his words were hard to follow. First of all, his speech was difficult to understand because of his abrupt change from speaking about Schiavo to speaking about Sept. 11, 2001. Following his transition, long phrases of thanks to those involved with the commission made it difficult to comprehend exactly what Bush was speaking about. The U.S. public certainly needed a less abrupt, clearer introduction into the second part of the president’s speech.

Out of his 946-word statement, Bush waited until his 762nd word to begin addressing specific recommendations made by the commission. He then continued, not to truthfully provide the facts of the situation, but to generalize the commission’s findings and quickly presented remedies he looked to enforce.

The reason the clarity of the president’s speech matters should be obvious. The American public did not need to listen to a long list of thank-yous. It needed an honest account of what the commission found followed by thank-yous and possible remedies. Placing the pats on the back before the commission’s findings only proves what this editorial board has written about before. President Bush never wants to admit he’s wrong. He never wants to apologize. And he certainly doesn’t want the American public to understand a situation for which he should apologize.

The solution is not hard to devise. The next time Bush makes a speech, he should consider providing whatever recently released factual information he’s speaking about — whether it’s negative or positive — and following it with whatever else he wants to include. Anything else is blatantly roundabout and a waste of viewers’ time.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board, whose

members are listed to the left.