I used to think it was Coke's attempts to sell bottled water from the River Thames. Now I've changed my mind.
Marketing flaw played big role in House rejection of 'bailout'
WASHINGTON: The surprise rejection of President George W. Bush's $700 billion proposal to stanch the bleeding in American markets underscored the failure of the White House and the congressional leadership to sell the country on the need for such a massive program.
As they scrambled to put together a plan authorizing the government to dive headfirst into the private sector, the president and his allies in both parties never managed to find a way to explain it to the public in a compelling way. By the time Bush addressed the nation on behalf of his "rescue plan," it was already tagged a "bailout."
As a result, the administration and Congress were left to play catch-up as critics on the Internet and talk radio succeeded in framing the debate. On conservative Web sites and airwaves, the plan was cast as nothing less than socialism. On liberal blogs and commentary shows, it was portrayed as a boon for Wall Street fat cats who gambled away other people's money.
"It's really unfortunate shorthand for a very complicated issue," the White House deputy press secretary, Tony Fratto, said Tuesday about the "bailout" term. "Our critics took the language of 'a bailout for Wall Street' and I think it's undeniable that the media chose that labeling for this debate."
Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, summed up the marketing mistake during an interview on CNN.
"The first thing I'd do is say, 'Let's not call it a bailout. Let's call it a rescue,"' he said. "Because it is a rescue. It's a rescue of Main Street America."
On Peachtree Street, the equivalent of Main Street in downtown Atlanta, people said Tuesday that they wanted the government to do something - but not to bail out Wall Street.
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