It's a fact that Hurricane Katrina threw a spotlight on the poor in America. I had the honor this morning of sitting in on an Oval Office brainstorming session of key players in the administration figuring out how to fight poverty. I took some notes.
PRESIDENT BUSH: According to what I've been reading in one of those news magazines in my doctor's waiting room, there are 37 million people in the United States living in poverty. It's getting a bit embarrassing, especially when them North Koreans living on grass are living better than our folks. What are we going to do about it?
KARL ROVE: Mr. President, the U.S. government has set the poverty line at $14,680 for a family of three. What if we lower the poverty line to $6,000, then America would have virtually no one living in poverty.
VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: That's the kind of thinking that won us two elections Karl. But now the media and even some Republicans are starting to look closely at what we say and do. What we needed to do was drop the poverty line before that hurricane hit. We just didn't react fast enough.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Poverty strikes the black community disproportionately hard. President Clinton did have some initiatives that seemed to have some success in alleviating poverty but this administration shut them down to cut taxes.
PRESIDENT BUSH: I hope you're not suggesting I have more interest in rich, white people than I do in poor, black folks.
RICE: No Sir, of course not. I was just pointing out a fact from history.
PRESIDENT BUSH: The reason I killed those Clinton initiatives was because, because...(President Bush turned to Mr. Rove while Mr. Rove said something into the President's ear) because we didn't want our administration being associated with anything that philandering pervert did. Every time a black youth received a Youth Opportunity Grant, those kids would be thinking of that Monica Lewinsky doing perverted things to Clinton and America cannot afford to put those thoughts in young black people.
LAURA BUSH: What if we have a National Prayer Day to end poverty? All Americans would pray and God would have to listen to 300 million people praying all at once.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Now that's a constructive suggestion, Honey. Jesus loves the poor. He just don't show it much while they're down here on earth. Maybe we could combine the National Prayer Day with Super Bowl Sunday so it don't interfere with a day in which Americans are doing much business.
RICE: What about actual programs for the poor?
PRESIDENT BUSH: You mean, bring back Sanford and Son
? Heh heh. I think that Red Foxx feller is dead.
RICE: I was thinking more along the lines of allocating some money we're giving to Halliburton to rebuild Iraq to poverty programs in America.
At this point, Vice President Cheney grabbed his chest and tumbled to the floor, Paramedics arrived within seconds and the meeting broke up.