Tony Snow: Tar babies...
When I heard Tony Snow use the term "tar baby" while responding to a question in his first televised press conference today, it actually startled me. Doesn't Tony understand what that phrase means to many people in this country?
Download -WMP Download -QT (rough transcript)
CBS REPORTER: Why not declassify [the NSA's call records database]? I mean, the President did talk about the surveillance program a day after the New York Times broke that story. This would seem to affect far more people and it did sound like the President was confirming that story today when he was answering questions.
SNOW: If you go back and look through what he said, there was a reference of foreign to domestic calls. I am not going to stand up here and presume to declassify any kind of program. That is a decision the President has to make. I can't confirm or deny it. The President was not confirming or denying. Again, I would take you back to the USA Today story to give you a little context. Look at the poll that appeared the following day [...] something like 65% of the public was not troubled by it. Having said that, I don't want to hug the tar baby of trying to comment on the program... the alleged program, the existence of which I can neither confirm or deny.
But in "American lore," the expression tar baby is also a racial slur "used occasionally as a derogatory term
for black people." Use of the term has resulted in people being fired
As Random House
notes, "some people suggest avoiding the use of the term in any context." Now that you are no longer at Fox News, you may want to take them up on their advice.
( h/t David Edwards for vid!)