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And ... swing!

TBOGG has some rundown on the slow-pitch interview Bush gave to Tom Brokaw yesterday. Compare and contrast to this excerpt from a BBC interview with Tony Blair:


PAXMAN:
But is it acceptable for gap between rich and poor to widen?

BLAIR:
It is acceptable for those people on lower incomes to have their incomes raised. It is unacceptable that they are not given the chances. To me, the key thing is not whether the gap between those who, between the person who earns the most in the country and the person that earns the least, whether that gap is�

PAXMAN:
So it is acceptable for gap to widen between rich and poor?

BLAIR:
It is not acceptable for poor people not to be given the chances they need in life.

PAXMAN:
That is not my question.

BLAIR:
I know it’s not your question but it’s the way I choose to answer it. If you end up going after those people who are the most wealthy in society, what you actually end up doing is in fact not even helping those at the bottom end.

PAXMAN:
So the answer to the straight question is it acceptable for gap between rich and poor to get wider, the answer you are saying is yes.

BLAIR:
No, it’s not what I am saying. What I am saying is that my task is�

PAXMAN:
You are not saying no.

BLAIR:
But I don’t think that is the issue�

PAXMAN:
You may not think it is the issue, but it is the question. Is it OK for the gap to get wider?

BLAIR:
It may be the question. The way I choose to answer it is to say the job of government is make sure that those at the bottom get the chances.

PAXMAN:
With respect, people see you are asked a straightforward question and they see you not answering it.

BLAIR:
Because I choose to answer it in the way that I’m answering it.

PAXMAN:
But you are not answering it.

BLAIR:
I am answering it. What I am saying is the most important thing is to level up, not level down.

PAXMAN:
Is it acceptable for gap between rich and poor to get bigger?

BLAIR:
What I am saying is the issue isn’t in fact whether the very richest person ends up becoming richer. The issue is whether the poorest person is given the chance that they don’t otherwise have.

PAXMAN:
I understand what you are saying. The question is about the gap.

BLAIR:
Yes, I know what your question is. I am choosing to answer it in my way rather than yours.

PAXMAN:
But you’re not answering it.

BLAIR:
I am.

PAXMAN:
You are answering another question.

Salon is carrying another excerpt from yesterday’s Bush interview, in which the president comments on the Dixie Chicks:

Of the singing Texas trio, who have been outspoken critics of the U.S.-led war, Bush said, “The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind.”

At the same time, Bush added: “They shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out. You know, freedom is a two-way street.”

Their feelings hurt? Chalk up one more demeaning comment about dissent. They’re getting death threats, they’re worried about the safety of their families, and they’re shocked by images of ten-year old kids being encouraged by their parents to smash their CDs. That’s no “two-way street.”