July 5, 2008

The Washington Post:

Think you're worried about the economy? Phillip Swagel is a wreck.

The assistant Treasury secretary for economic policy, Swagel came out for his monthly economic briefing yesterday, 90 minutes after the Labor Department reported that the country had shed jobs in June for the sixth straight month.

It was a hopeless spin assignment -- but Swagel, the administration's sacrificial lamb for the day, had to try. And so Swagel, bookish and bespectacled, entered the Treasury Department's briefing room with evident trepidation. He nodded and offered smiles every which way. His heavy breathing, picked up by the microphone, could be heard in the back of the room. Read on...

The first time I watched this video I honestly thought it was a spoof. I know public speaking isn't easy, and if I had to stand in front of reporters and tell them that the country lost 62,000 jobs last month and there's no end to the plummeting economy in sight, I might be a little nervous too. The fear and anxiety on Swagel's face and in his voice is difficult to watch. I wonder what Bill O'Reilly's body language expert would have to say about this performance? Swagel looked whipped and out of answers, just like his boss, George.

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