With all of the political scandals of late, it seems hardly a week goes by without some elected official or candidate somewhere climbing in front of the microphones to apologize for something.
Sometimes the politician (usually a man) is accompanied by a spouse (usually a wife) in hopes of either softening the intensity of the questioning or to show that if a spouse can forgive, why not the voters?
While most politicians figure they’ll never be in such a situation, the odds are increasing that they will. It’s not that politicians have gotten any scummier. It’s just that the means of getting caught have increased exponentially with scandal-hungry cable TV, aggressive opposition research and social media.
So, to help out, I offer Political Apology In A Box. Electeds can simply pick the appropriate words and phrases, based on their situation, and get that awkward apology out of the way, all without the need for expensive speech writers:
“I’d like to thank you all for being here on such short notice. As stressful as the last several days have been, I have always considered members of the news media to be (important to the political system/pimples on the backside of society). And many of you I consider to be (friends/sociopaths/raging alcoholics).
“First, let me introduce my (spouse/lawyer/social media consultant). Thank you for being here and I (love you/have no intention of paying your bill/can’t believe you didn’t tell me the difference between direct messaging and public tweets!).
“It has been widely reported that I have been accused by (the county prosecutor/a hairdresser/decent people everywhere) of (tweeting pictures of my package/consorting with high-priced prostitutes/consorting with high-paid lobbyists/hiking the Appalachian Trail). The accusations were backed up by (Twitter pictures of my package/audio recordings/cellphone video/common knowledge). I am here today to say that these reports are true and for that I am (deeply sorry/profoundly humiliated/really hacked off about getting caught).
“Let me begin by saying that I take full responsibility for (these regrettable acts/getting caught). I am not perfect and have made many (mistakes/deposits in off-shore bank accounts). Only I am to blame for these actions, and only I can make things right by (coming to terms with my behavior/fleeing the country/lying low for a while until it all blows over).
“In no way do I mean to deflect criticism or to blame anyone else for my actions. It is sad, however, that these tragic events are being exploited by (my political opponents/the news media/my spouse’s divorce lawyer). Let he — or she — who is without sin cast the first (stone/cream pie/docudrama).
“I want to make clear that I am very sorry. I am sorry that I have let the people down and especially that I have caused pain for (my spouse/the children/my donors/my accountant). I pledge to them today to do everything I can to (repair these relationships/not get tossed out of office/eliminate the paper trail) so that I can (regain your trust/get a job on cable news/rebuild my investment portfolio).
“With the help of my (God/minister/bartender/pollster) I am working through many of the issues that may have contributed to my actions. One thing I know for sure is that I have a (drinking problem/hubris problem/sexual addiction/crush on that reporter in the second row Hey, how’s it going?). By no means am I telling you this to make excuses. Instead, I say it because it (is true/might elicit some sympathy/was suggested by my political consultants) and to encourage others who are suffering the same infirmity to (get help/call me later).
“In closing, let me say that I will not resign my office even though I have been urged to do so by (the editorial page/my bartender/anyone with a pulse). I won’t do that because I consider my office to be (a public trust/the only job I’m qualified for/too good to be true) and will continue to perform my duties (to the best of my ability/until the indictment is released/until after the recall election).
“Thank you very much and I’ll now be happy to (answer/evade/cringe at) any questions you might have.”Peter Callaghan: 253-597-8657 firstname.lastname@example.org @CallaghanPeter