By now I’m sure the possible theft of George Bush’s watch while glad-handing in Albania is old news. For those who haven’t seen this yet, here’s the clip (about 50 seconds in is where you need to pay close attention):
However, recently recovered footage now reveals that the watch was not stolen as reported:
Regardless of whether or not the watch was actually stolen, this is a significant issue when you consider the potential security risk. Just look at how everyone is clamoring to get a grip on Mr. Bush. Even a fairly barren mind could come up with dozens of ways this could go horribly wrong. In that light, I found Tony Snow’s (White House press secretary) remarks to be quite revealing:
No, it was not. It was placed in his pocket, and I believe your network has actually looked through the tape carefully and has ascertained the same. But, no, the President put it in his pocket, and it returned safely home.
Mr Snow has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he has mastered the verbal gymnastics necessary to be a WH spokesperson. Watching him is amusing and frustrating in equal measure. But by most standards, the above statement would even count as plain English.
What I’d like to note here is the last phrase which suggests a number of things:
1. The watch is safe (security was not compromised)
2. By extension, the President is safe.(and loved by all the people of Albania)
3. The President retained control over the situation.(truly a man of action & leadership…)
4. So it was the President who secured the safety of the watch. (…who also delivers results)
Am I reading too much into this? Perhaps. But given the careful twisting of words and meanings that has been rampant in this administration (and political life generally), I think this is just a good example of how, in intense media situations, every word will be carefully crafted to, even subtly, deliver important messages.
PS. According to some reports, the watch is a $50 Timex. He really is just one of the people. And buys American, of course.
Tags: George Bush, Tony Snow, watch, press briefings, meaning, interpretation