Thursday, May 25, 2006

Saving the "bacon"

The President attended the ceremony for the change of command for the Commandant of the Coast Guard. He made a few remarks; among them:
In a few moments, Admiral Collins will pass the duties of commandant to an outstanding successor in Admiral Thad Allen. I came to know Admiral Allen well last September, when he directed recovery efforts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We surveyed damage together. We sat one evening on the deck of the USS Iwo Jima, talking about how we could help the folks in that region recover. He gave me regular updates on what was taking place -- an incredibly devastated part of our country.

It didn't take long to recognize his ability or his integrity or his ability to lead. I knew I could count on Admiral Allen to give me candid judgment. I relied on his steady nerves and his presence of mind in trying conditions. I was impressed by his compassion and his determination to help those who had lost so much.
What he meant to say was this:
In a few moments, Admiral Collins will pass the duties of commandant to an outstanding successor in Admiral Thad Allen. I came to know Admiral Allen well last September, when he saved my political bacon by stepping in and taking charge of the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina. We surveyed damage together, and we both knew the damage to my legacy was worse than the damage wrought by the storm. We sat one evening on the deck of the USS Iwo Jima, talking about I could recover following the horrible response led by my horse-loving friend.

It didn't take long to realize he'd saved my ass, and I owed him big-time. I recognized his apolitical nature, his ability to talk straight (unlike elected officials), and his integrity, and his ability to lead. I knew I could count on Admiral Allen to give me candid judgment. I relied on his steady nerves and his presence of mind in trying conditions; I relied on him to save my tail. I was impressed by his compassion and his determination to help those who had lost so much; and I was impressed that a man from the smallest military force could do the most for my standing with the American public.
Hoo-rah.

See the full, real speech here.

Also, the President awarded the Coast Guard the Presidential Unit Citation, sometimes referred to as the Saving the President's Tail Citation (the acronym is pronounced SPIT-CEE).

;-)

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