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Bush Named King of Doublespeak

November 16, 1990

ATLANTA (AP) _ President Bush, who pledged ″no new taxes″ then called for ″tax revenue increases,″ today won the 1990 Doublespeak Award from the National Council of Teachers of English.

The annual award calls attention to statements by officials that are ″grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing or self- contradictory,″ said William Lutz, chairman of the group’s Committee on Public Doublespeak.

Second place went to Mobil Corp. for calling one of its trash bags ″photodegradable″ even while buried in landfills. And third place went to Rep. Newt Gingrich of Georgia, the House minority whip, for supporting and then opposing tax increases.

Gingrich, before opposing Bush on the tax increase, defended the president’s stand by saying: ″He very explicitly didn’t say, ‘Raise taxes.’ He said, ’Seek new revenues.‴

Bush’s doublespeak included statements about maternity leave, according to the teachers group, which is holding its convention in Atlanta.

During his campaign, he said, ″We ... need to assure that women do not have to worry about getting their jobs back after having a child or caring for a child during a serious illness.″

But after his election, Bush vetoed the bill for parental and medical leave. A White House statement said the president ″has always been opposed to the federal government mandating what every business in this country should do.″

Lutz of Rutgers University also cited two examples of foreign policy from last year: the U.S. response to the massacre in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing and the invasion of Panama.

After Tiananmen Square, Bush announced suspension of U.S. ″participation in all high-level exchanges of government officials″ with China. Two weeks later, Bush ″secretly sent National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft and Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger to China,″ Lutz said.

Bush called the trip a ″contact,″ not an ″exchange,″ but then resumed negotiations for arms sales to China.

Lutz also said Bush refused to refer to the U.S. mission in Panama as an invasion, saying he ″deployed forces″ in Operation Just Cause. But at a Dec. 21 press conference, Bush said, ″You could say, ’How come you didn’t tell me that you were going to invade the - send in those troops down into Panama?‴

The committee gave Charlotte Baecher, author of ″Selling America’s Kids: Commercial Pressures on Kids of the ’90s,″ its 1990 George Orwell Award for Honesty and Clarity in Public Language.

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