Associated Press, please define "strictly"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Speaking of Bush's farewell presser, credit the AP for producing a fact-check report on the misstatements the president made. Fault the AP however, for being too timid with the task at hand.

Here's how the AP addressed Bush's claim (it's a White House evergreen) that he "inherited" a recession in 2001 [emphasis added]:

BUSH: "In terms of the economy — look, I inherited a recession, I'm ending on a recession. In the meantime, there were 52 months of uninterrupted job growth."

THE FACTS: There have been two recessions during Bush's time in office. The first was a relatively mild downturn that began in March 2001 and lasted eight months, ending in November 2001. Since the first one did not begin until after he took office in January 2001, it is not strictly accurate to say he "inherited" it.

Why the "strictly," when the sentence would have been more factual without it? Bush did not inherit a recession. Period. His claim is inaccurate and the AP ought to say so without muddying the language with phrases like "strictly."

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