Chronicling the highs, lows, quips, quotes, comings and goings of Washington, D.C. spokesguys and spokesgals

Friday, September 15, 2006

DC Spin Control Trend: Is "The Booze Made Me Do It" the New "Pills Made Me Do It"?

First it was prescription drugs that became the acceptable way for DC pols to explain their way out of trouble. Now it seems to be the bottle.

First, Patrick Kennedy. After enduring days of criticism and controversy in May for driving into a concrete barrier near the Capitol, Kennedy eventually acknowledged his problem with the prescription meds and held a press conference where he announced he would check himself into the Mayo clinic. From a damage control perspective, problem solved. Reporters know that once a pol admits his failings -- particularly with substance abuse -- it's not nice to keep beating up on him.

Now it looks like Bob Ney, who earlier this year announced his retirement from Congress after getting wrapped up in the Abramoff scandal, is following a similar strategy, except he's blaming booze, not pills. We all know people who struggle with alcoholism, but the cynic in me wonders whether blaming the bottle is an effort by Ney to elicit some sympathy in the court of public opinion. After all, the Post reports that Ney has cut a plea deal with DOJ, and entered rehab only yesterday. If admitting a problem with alcohol is enough to lighten his punishment from the Feds, it may also be a way for Ney to get the media off his back.

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