The Washington Post Online is reporting today that President Bush actually used the "R" word in response to recriminations regarding federal response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The R Word being: "responsibility."
"Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government," Bush said at a joint White House news conference with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. "To the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility."
Be still, my beating heart.
In the era of the "hey, it's not my fault," finger-pointing, Karl "No Holds Barred" Rove, "stuff happens" presidency, this is indeed unprecedented.
I suppose for just a few minutes we can sit back and say, "Miracles never cease." But only for a minute.
I'm laying down bets that the next 72 hours will see a flurry of retractions and redefining what the President really meant when he said "I take responsibility." You can also bet your bottom dollar that the neo-conservatives are going to be pissed that Bush said those three little words, claiming in their self-righteousness that the Divine Mr. W doesn't have to cow-tow to the voice of the majority who are crying out for accountability. And the liberals will claim that it's too little, too late.
Bottom line is: he said it and it was the right thing to say. (Finally.)
Here's the crux of saying "I take responsibility" though: saying so now means you have to do something about it, Mr. President. So my question is, what are you going to do about everything that went wrong? And what are we going to do to make things right again as quickly and as reasonably as possible?