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Even casual readers have probably figured out that I'm not a big fan of the current administration, but this is getting a little bit ridiculous. Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff appeared in several photos of Bush. Bush asked about Abramoff's kids, and called several people in an Abramoff-organized meeting by their first names. The Horror! The Horror!
Now, I've never been to the White House, but I've met plenty of CEOs. Almost all of them have assistants who, among other things, put together capsule biographies of other CEOs, journalists, analysts, and other people who appear in important meetings. Given even minimal preparation, remembering the names of someone's children or matching a face to a first name is trivially easy, even if you've never seen the person before in your life.
Making a personal connection is even more important to politicians than it is to CEOs, and this president in particular is known for his "folksy charm." Moreover, the White House has an entire staff whose sole purpose is to make sure that the President is prepared for meetings. In other words, I'd be astonished if there were any meeting, anywhere, with anyone at which Bush wasn't able to call people by their first names, ask about their children, and otherwise leave the impression that he is personally interested in them. It's part of the job, and if he weren't good at it he probably couldn't have gotten elected.
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