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USA Today: PR spending doubled under Bush

F*cker. Seated under a backdrop showing doctors during an operation, Bush listens to doctors speak about medical record technology during a visit to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Well, now, we’re paying for a well-oiled PR machine. Bush has shelled out $88 million on contracts with public relations firms? Good god, this thing is blowing wide open. This article mentions Ketchum, the firm that paid out $240K to our friend Armstrong Williams. I guess we’ll see some mini-Halliburton PR agencies that have been getting fat on the taxpayers’ dollar now, and I bet they’re friends of Chimpy.

The sick thing is we’re at war, troops don’t have what they need, programs are being cut and money is being burned on flacks. The bottom line is that Bush cannot advance a crap agenda like his without people to massage and sell the hell out of it. I want my money back.

The Bush administration has more than doubled its spending on outside contracts with public relations firms during the past four years, according to an analysis of federal procurement data by congressional Democrats.

The administration spent at least $88 million in fiscal 2004 on contracts with major public relations firms, the analysis found, compared with $37 million in 2001, Bush’s first year in office. In all, the administration spent $250 million on public relations contracts during its first term, compared with $128 million spent for President Clinton between 1997 and 2000. The analysis did not examine what the Clinton administration spent during its first term.

The top-spending agency during the past four years, at $94 million, was the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The biggest federal public relations contractor in that period was Ketchum, with $97 million.

“While not all public relations spending is illegal or inappropriate, this rapid rise in public relations contracts at a time of growing budget deficits raises questions about the priorities of the administration,” said the report by the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding