Oh to have been a fly on the wall:
GEORGE W. BUSH: You want me to take responsibility?
KARL ROVE: George, the numbers are a problem. 42 percent. 38 percent. I figure “taking responsibility” puts you back up to, say, 49 percent. I can work with that.
GEORGE: But – Brownie fell on his sword. I have to fall on my sword?
KARL: It’ll only hurt for a minute.
GEORGE: I don’t like it. If I take responsibility for this, they’re going to want me to take responsibility for everything. Every time I screw up, they’re going to say “take responsibility.”
KARL: No, no. I think we can deal with that. We get capital out of this. You screw up next time, we can say: look, he took responsibility for New Orleans; what do you want? Don’t get greedy.
GEORGE: So, what does this involve?
KARL: Well, you go out in front of the cameras, and you say: “I take full responsibility.”
GEORGE: That’s it? I don’t have to do anything?
KARL: No, that’s it.
GEORGE: That’s not a lot of work.
KARL: No work at all.
GEORGE: Well, I don’t like it. But if you insist…
KARL: I insist.
GEORGE: Okay. Okay. “I take full responsibility.” That’s how you say it?
GEORGE. Gotcha. (pause) Um, Karl?
KARL: Yes, George?
GEORGE: This “taking responsibility” thing. What does it actually mean?
KARL: Nothing, buddy. Nothing. Just words. I suggest you practice in front of the mirror.
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