West Wing’s Words: Getting a Dose of Correction

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 30, 2009 6:00pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: Words matter, even when you’re the president or the vice president. Two of the administration’s cabinet secretaries spent part of their daily briefing today cleaning up from mistakes made by President Obama and VP Biden about the H1N1 virus, aka the “swine flu.” “There’s been some confusion about the difference between a vaccine and an antiviral,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said at the beginning of the briefing today. “A vaccine is something that one takes to prevent the occurrence of a disease; an antiviral is something one takes after you’ve already — after you’ve already become sick.” The confusion may have stemmed from the president himself, who made this mistake yesterday while addressing the administration’s concerns over the outbreak of the virus in the Diplomatic Room. “Yesterday, I also requested from Congress an immediate $1.5 billion in emergency funding.  This funding will ensure that we have adequate supplies of vaccines and the equipment to handle a potential outbreak.” No such vaccine exists yet. To be fair the president’s letter sent to Congressional leadership and appropriation chairs the day prior had the correct language – as Mr. Obama’s penned letter referred to the requested funds being used for “antiviral stockpiles” and “developing a vaccine.” Next on tap during the same briefing: picking up the pieces over what Vice President Biden said this morning, saying he would advise his family to avoid trains and planes as the H1N1 situations unfold. “Is that it is safe to fly,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood opened up his remarks by saying today after a torrent of apologies from the White House for any undue alarm Biden may have caused in his comments, “There is no reason to cancel flights.” – Sunlen Miller

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus