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Keller @ Large: Why Can’t Politicians, Bureaucrats Ever Admit Mistakes?

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President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference November 14, 2012 in the East Room of the White House. (Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference November 14, 2012 in the East Room of the White House. (Photo credit MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – Wednesday was a bad day for bureaucratic and political candor, and really, when is it ever a good day for that?

Listen to Jon’s commentary:


In the morning, state and federal officials were in Washington at a hearing into the horrendous drug compounding scandal where a Framingham lab was allegedly shipping out fatal drug doses.

Perhaps you heard the exchange between the commissioner of the federal Food and Drug Administration and a congressman questioning her about the fact that after becoming aware of problems at the lab ten years ago, the feds determined it was the state’s mess to clean up and walked away from it.

A poor decision, in hindsight, but not all that incriminating.

The main focus of the investigation now is on how state officials failed to live up to their obligation to protect the public’s health.

But the commissioner just could not bring herself to admit the truth, leading to humiliation when the frustrated congressman finally had to bludgeon her with it.

Just a bit later, President Obama held his first press conference in eight months and continued to offer defensive, evasive answers to legitimate questions about the fiasco in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, when our ambassador and three other Americans were murdered by terrorists.

Two months after the incident, it is still under investigation, and the president continues to hide behind that instead of saying something like this:

Mistakes were made here. Our people there asked for more security but didn’t get it, and as soon as we find out why, we’ll tell you and address the reasons why not. When the attack began, our people didn’t get the help they needed, and that was an unacceptable failure. And afterwards, my administration made statements about the attack that were wrong. We’re sorry that happened and will move heaven and earth to make sure it never happens again.

Does that really sound so hard?

But the bi-partisan instinct is always to fudge, evade, and deflect, out of vanity, perhaps, or political defensiveness.

And then they wonder why we trust almost anybody more than we trust them.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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