Maybe I should make a new category for “unbelievable.” From today’s Washington Post.
Career appointees at the Department of Agriculture were stunned last week to receive e-mailed instructions that include Bush administration “talking points” — saying things such as “President Bush has a clear strategy for victory in Iraq” — in every speech they give for the department.
Unfortunately, this is apparently not a joke.
The e-mail, sent to about 60 undersecretaries, assistant secretaries and other political appointees, was also sent to “a few people to whom it should not have gone,” said the department’s communications director, Terri Teuber . The career people, we are assured, are not being asked to spread the great news on Iraq in their talks to food stamp recipients, disadvantaged farmers, enviros or other folks.
So we know about this because they admittedly and accidentally sent their email to some career appointees who presumably leaked the email and associated documents. Notice however, there is no denial of the more basic point that political appointees at the USDA are being asked to incorporate talking points about Iraq into their speeches.
Good thing the White House attached (pdf) some suggestions on how they might do this.
The e-mail provided language “being used by Secretary [Michael O.] Johanns and deputy secretary [Charles F.] Conner in all of their remarks and is being sent to you for inclusion in your speeches.”
Another attachment “contains specific examples of [Global War on Terror] messages within agriculture speeches. Please use these message points as often as possible.”
“Several topics I’d like to talk about today — Farm Bill, trade with Japan, WTO, avian flu . . . but before I do, let me touch on a subject people always ask about . . . progress in Iraq.”
“I’d like to take a moment to talk about a nation that is just now beginning to rebuild its own agricultural production.”
“Iraq is part to the ‘fertile crescent’ of Mesopotamia,. It is there, in around 8,500 to 8,000 B.C., that mankind first domesticated wheat, there that agriculture was born. In recent years, however, the birthplace of farming has been in trouble. But revitalization is underway. President Bush has a clear strategy . . .”
Glad to see we’ve got our priorities straight at the USDA. While we are at it maybe we can just roll the upcoming farm bill into the next Iraq appropriations bill. Oh wait, we’re already doing that too.
Hat tip to IowaUnderground.