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Opinion: President Bush, in his economy speech, steers clear of the D-word

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It was a somber President Bush who tonight appeared before the television camera -- many would argue belatedly -- to both explain how American plunged into its financial crisis and make his pitch for a $700-billion plan to right the fiscal ship.

As The Times’ James Gerstenzang delineates, Bush did not try to downplay what has happened or discount the potential consequences.

His phrases included: ‘We’re in the midst of a serious financial crisis;’ ‘Our entire economy is in danger;’ ‘America could slip into a financial panic.’

Strong words. But we were struck by his avoidance of one particular noun that begins with a D and that no president wants associated with his name.

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He came close to uttering it, saying that unless his bailout proposal or something close to it is quickly enacted, the nation ‘could experience a long and painful recession.’

With use of the ‘long’ and ‘painful’ adjectives, that seems close to the description of a depression. But Bush, in his speech, avoided invoking that specter.

Intriguingly, the lower half of his party’s presidential ticket did not.

Katie Couric of CBS, in an exclusive interview with Sarah Palin that somewhat got lost in the shuffle of the day’s events, asked the Alaska governor if, in the absence of some sort of federal intervention, ‘there’s a risk of another Great Depression?’

Palin replied, ‘Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on. [Something] has to pass or we’re going to find ourselves in another Great Depression.’

-- Don Frederick


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