Bush Baits the Bailout Bear

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The White House today played coy about prospects of an auto bailout. Here’s CBS’s inestimable Bill Plante trying to nail down an answer during today’s briefing with White House Press Secretary Dana Perino:

Q    Just one more time.  Why do you say, “if we decide to do it”?

MS. PERINO:  Because I don’t have an announcement for you, Bill.  And if at the end of the day we don’t do something, then you would come back and say, why did you not tell me that you weren’t going to do something.  So I’m not going to — I’m just not going to fall into the trap.

The markets, currently up nearly 400 points, seem unperturbed by the idea that Bush might not act probably because he’s promised he won’t let the Big Three fail, no matter how repugnant the idea of a bailout is to him. But just because you’re gonna do it, doesn’t mean you have to be proud of it. My guess is this means: don’t hold your breath this week, we’re planning to treat this like dirty laundry, ie we’ll dump it Dec. 24 at 6pm along with some environmental regulations we’d like to see buried and maybe a pardon or two. Silver lining, in their eyes, to such a strategy? The auto execs work straight through the Holidays as they should’ve been doing all those years the companies were faltering.

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