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George W. Bush Is Like .... ?

 Q. Yes, Mr. President, to put your speech tomorrow in a larger context, at the turn of the last century Theodore Roosevelt complained about what he called the malefactors of great wealth and he asked in a very famous speech, 'Who shall rule this country?' The people or the what he called those who hide behind the breastworks of corporate organizations. I wonder if you feel this era is comparable to that one and if you feel you should respond as aggressively as Roosevelt did?

A. Well, of course, he was referring to trusts. I'm referring to a lapse of ethics. And of the people forgetting the fact that they represent things other than their own compensation packages, however inflated they may be. That they have a responsibility to employees and shareholders. And I also understand how tender the free enterprise system can be if people lose confidence in the system it would be hard to attract capital in the markets. And that's one reason I've reacted so steadily against what I have seen. And I don't like it a bit. And I'm going to talk about it tomorrow. (Bush press conference, 7-8-02)

Following this exchange many critics of the administration, reviewing the president's proposals to clean up Wall Street, concluded he was no Teddy Roosevelt. See Bob Batchelor, "Bush Walks and Talks Softly--Where's the Big Stick?" (HNN, 7-22-02).