Building bridges?

In the wake of a tragedy, the White House lashes out at "reprehensible" Democrats.

Published August 6, 2007 2:36PM (EDT)

We heard from several angry Minnesotans last week who were offended when President Bush, during a Rose Garden press briefing Thursday, said a few words of sympathy about the Minneapolis bridge collapse and then launched immediately into an attack on Democrats in Congress for failing to send any of next year's spending bills to his desk.

We watched the videotape and came away thinking that the president hadn't meant to link the two. That said, Bush packed the two concepts closely enough into the same statement that his spokeswoman shouldn't be heard to complain if, say, a Democrat complains that all the money the president is spending in Iraq makes it hard to fund infrastructure priorities back home.

Yet here's White House spokeswoman Dana Perino on Fox News this morning, doing exactly that: "You know, literally an hour after the bridge collapsed you had Democrats in Congress making such accusations while people are still underwater needing to be rescued. And I think it is reprehensible ... And I have to also remind you, when you look at those highway bills and the billions upon billions that American taxpayers are spending, it's congressional earmarks that take up a lot of that money, and believe me that money is not going to fund maintenance of bridges."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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