No one is better positioned than the president of the United States to introduce new phrases into the American vocabulary, and no president in recent memory has contributed more to that glossary than President Bush.
Just more than a year ago, Bush made a particularly memorable contribution by calling himself "the decider," in response to a mounting call for the ousting of then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Now the blogosphere is in a tizzy over a reported new self-christening by the president. On Wednesday evening, the New York Times published a post on its political blog, "The Caucus," titled, "Bush: I'm the Commander Guy." The Times attributes the phrase to a speech the president had given that morning to the Associated General Contractors of America.
Bush was speaking about troop withdrawal, and the Times reported this quote: "The question is, 'Who ought to make that decision, the Congress or the commanders?''' Mr. Bush said. "As you know, my position is clear-- I'm the commander guy."
No surprise here: Bloggers have jumped all over the phrase. According to analysis by Nielsen BuzzMetrics, which measures the most popular items among about 45 million blogs it monitors, "commander guy" was the second-most-blogged-about phrase this morning.
But a video of the speech and an accompanying transcript on the White House website indicates that the president did not appear to be referring to himself with this statement. In fact, he said: "I'm a commander guy." (Listen to the audio.) In the context of the speech, it is clear that the president was saying that he's in the "commander" camp, not the "Congress" camp.
As it turns out, this was a White House error, not a Times error. A White House press assistant confirmed for News Desk that an original copy of the transcript on its website had "the," not "a."
Probably an innocent mistake. But as Joe Biden found out the hard way a few months ago, in Washington, even a misplaced comma can burn you.