The Bush administration took a 180-degree turn when the president announced he was responsible for things that went wrong in the Gulf Coast states after Hurricane Katrina.

The new policy required a new department in the White House to get out the word. It was named It Was All My Fault (IWAMF). The chief was an old Bush crony from Texas, and the staff was made up of speechwriters from the White House.

The chief spoke: "In every speech, we have to include something that the president is sorry for."

"It's going to be hard, because for five years we've said he never made a mistake," a writer said.

The chief said, "If he wants to change course, it's our job to show he's captain of the ship of state."

"Can he say he's responsible for the country's largest debt in history?"

"That's a good one. We can add that his biggest mistake was to demand tax cuts for the rich."

Another writer said, "What about Iraq? He should say it was his fault that we went to war in Iraq when they didn't have any weapons of mass destruction."

The chief said, "And we should add that, in his heart, he fooled himself into thinking that once he captured Saddam Hussein, the country would turn into Switzerland."

"Let's not forget his Social Security reforms, which were poorly thought out and would play havoc with the lives of senior citizens."

"These are all good ideas, but will Karl Rove approve them?"

"Of course he will. It was his idea to have the buck stop in the Oval Office in the first place. He doesn't want Bush to be the first president who never admitted making a mistake."

"Should the president, as commander in chief, take blame for the Pentagon?"

"Yes. He can say he realized he made a mistake appointing Don Rumsfeld as secretary of defense after he found out Rummy went to Princeton, when he thought he'd gone to Yale."

"Can he say anything about the other Cabinet members who failed in their jobs?"

"We can write it into his speech, though the public has no idea who they are."

"We haven't said anything about his being sorry that he was against the Kyoto treaty and didn't believe in global warming."

"We'll save that for his speech to the Sierra Club convention in Alaska."

"What do we do about energy?"

"He'll say the oil companies and coal-mine owners can no longer gouge the American people, and as long as he's president, gas prices will never go above $1.90 a gallon."

A writer said, "We get the idea. We must make him look sincere when he says he's sorry."

"It would be better if he said it in his shirtsleeves. It shows he has the common touch."

"Can we show film clips of Bill Clinton when he apologized to the people for lying about what he did in the White House?"

The chief said, "Good idea. Half the people forgave him. Now we must start going to work. Each of us will take a future political speech and add in a paragraph about how he made a mistake."

A writer said, "Suppose the press finds out that there is now a Department of Apology in the White House?"

The chief said, "We'll say the president is sorry he had to do it. He is sorrier than any president who has ever lived in the White House."

(c) 2005, Tribune Media Services