Washington, DC, April 5 - With Congress away for the Easter holiday, President George W. Bush has appointed "First Dog" Barney (R-Terrier) ambassador to France. Expecting a difficult confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the President was defiant in announcing his second recess appointment in as many days. During the 2004 presidential campaign Barney, a Bush loyalist, played a pivotal role in a so-called 527 independent campaign organization, "Butt-sniffers for Truth" which many credited with undermining support among that key constituency for Bush's opponent, Sen. John F. Kerry, a known cat fancier.
"We knew it would be a real dog fight" in the Foreign Relations Committee the President asserted, "They're a bunch of pussy types and gerbil lovers up there." Senate biographies disclose a large number of cat owners on the committee and at least one bumper sticker on a committee member's car "I Brake For Pussy." The number of small mammal owners could not be confirmed.
"Barney is extremely well qualified for the position of ambassador to France. He has wizzed on every shrub, tree, and bush - well, not every Bush - on the White House grounds," said a clearly amused and dry-trousered Bush. Now when they sing "I love Paris in the Springtime/ When it drizzles," they might be singing about Barney," said a State Department spokesperson at a Georgetown piano bar who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The President concluded his statement with characteristic candor, "The French have been whizzing on us for years, now it's payback time." In a statement issued late last night, Barney summed up his perspective: "unless you're the lead dog, the view never changes."
With Barney's departure from Washington that will leave Laura as the President's remaining supporter in the nation's capital.