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Bush's Inaugural "Sensitivity:" Let The Soldiers Dance

Reported by Ellen - January 17, 2005

Today's FOXNews.com article called Wartime Inauguration Balances Pomp Against Circumstance says, "The Presidential Inaugual Committee planning this week's big event is trying to find balance between hosting an inaugural celebration befitting an American president and not appearing insensitive and showy during these grave times." Eagerly, I scanned the story looking for ways in which Bush is going to demonstrate his sensitivity to the instability in Iraq and the tsunami tragedy. All I could find were 2,000 free tickets for members of the Armed Services and their families. That's it, except for the inaugural theme, "Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service."

Here's how FOX described the inaugural efforts to acknowledge the somberness of world events:

PIC spokesman Kevin Sheridan said inaugural planners are hardly ignoring the current situation in Iraq. This year's inaugural theme, "Celebrating Freedom, Honoring Service," will be incorporated into all events, Sheridan said.

"Our celebration, from the earliest planning days, has always taken into account that we are a nation at war, and it will focus on the sacrifices of the Armed Forces and will reflect our nation's gratitude for our fighting men and women," he said, adding that the week's worth of events will incude a military gala, fireworks and the new "Commander in Chief" ball, which will be free to 2,000 members of the Armed Services and their families.

Beyond that, the sensitivity extends to raking in up to $50 million dollars from private sources to fund this gala "befitting an American president" and Republican complaints that criticisms of the festivities are "utterly ridiculous" and "just one more gripe" after "all we have done overseas in terms of tsunami aid."

Compassionate conservative Bush is willing to allow everyday people to be a part of the big event by footing the bill for the security. D.C. officials estimate the cost at "upwards of $17 million. They reluctantly say most of the money will come out of their regular federal homeland security budget." What a guy!

FOX News reporter Kelley Beaucar Vlahos seems to be doing her best early in the article to comply with the RNC line that the lingering inaugural complaints are just partisan sniping by devoting her entire second paragraph to this sentence: "But (the inaugural efforts are) not enough for some critics of the massive parties, parade and special events."

Nevertheless, she includes a number of excellent quotes that counteract the RNC argument.

"I'm feeling very grim about the situation in the world today and I think a lot of people are too. I don't think watching these kinds of lavish displays is going to buck anybody up," retired Washington. D.C., attorney Bernard Ries told FOXNews.com.

Also, while most FOX News articles end on pro-Bush notes, this one ends thusly:

But one 30-year Republican activist, who prefers to remain anonymous, told FOXNews.com that the response from the president's backers misses the point.

"(It) just strikes me as pretentious and unseemly. Millions of people are without homes or running water," he said. "Do we really want the visual for a large segment of the Muslim world — people we'll need to fight the War on Terror (search) — to be fat cats dancing amid ice sculptures and champagne fountains?"

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