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August 29, 2006

Apology watch

Posted by David Postman at 4:35 PM

Mike McGavick may have been catching a wave last week when he decided to "tell you directly the very worst and most embarrassing things in my life for you to know."

It's certainly a higher grade of personal admission than my favorite example: In the 1997 King County executive race the candidates were asked to name their greatest faults. Republican Suzette Cooke said she was too serious and intellectual. Democrat Ron Sims said he worked too hard. And they didn't care if everyone knew it.

Regret is suddenly everywhere.

Just today in the New York Times are two stories with examples that make McGavick's stories pale in comparison. And they begin the new Postman on Politics Campaign 2006 Apology and Personal Regret Watch.

Bill Clinton's is hard to top. He said he was sorry he didn't intervene to stop the Rwanda genocide. "The United States just blew it in Rwanda," he said.

And Michiko Kakutani's review of Jonathan Franzen's new memoir, The Discomfort Zone, makes it sound like a book-length apology for personal misdeeds. Or maybe a boast. Franzen says he was bugged by Katrina charity campaigns, once dropped a frog in a campfire to watch it burn and described his and his wife's favorite sport as "deploring other people."

Franzen and Clinton have set a high bar. But there's likely more to come.

I read in my paper today that "Cantwell ... hasn't apologized for any ads."

Does the senator have nothing to apologize for? And if not, why not?

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