WASHINGTON — This one has gotten a little ic-ky for the White House. Spokesman Tony Snow said Monday that President Bush had no intention of slighting the party now running Congress by referring to it as the "Democrat majority" - as opposed to the "Democratic majority" - in his State of the Union speech.
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Bush's dropping of the "ic" at the end of the word prompted grumbling by Democrats that he purposely got their name wrong.
This is not a new charge. The late President Reagan used to refer to the "Democrat Party." Democratic leaders have long considered it demeaning when their suffix is omitted, and some of them figured it was no accident in a speech as highly choreographed and rehearsed as Bush's State of the Union.
Snow said Bush wasn't even aware that he done it, and he certainly didn't mean anything by it. The verbal slip came in the same breath as the president was congratulating Democrats for winning the House and Senate in the November election.
"This is a president who has tried to stay away from the business of doing slurs, and there was none intended," Snow said.
Bush's main theme, in fact, was about cooperating with Democrats and ending petty politics, Snow insisted.
"He spends an entire speech talking about reaching out and working together, and a few people who apparently haven't gotten the message run out and they complain that the letters "ic" were missing from 'Democratic,'" Snow said.
In the language the president was supposed to read, the reference was "Democratic," not "Democrat."
Bush plans to speak to the House Democratic Caucus at its conference this weekend in Virginia.
On the president's schedule, that event is referred to as the "House Democrat Conference."
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