A Scottish Terrier - the President’s Scotties, Miss Beazley and Barney,
are set to win the hearts, if not the minds, of the American electorate.
BESIEGED BY falling poll ratings, a bloody conflict in Iraq and a wave of political scandal, President George W Bush has asked the White House pets to bolster his fading popularity.
The presidential Scottish Terriers, Miss Beazley and Barney, have been transformed into a Christmas film by a video now showing on the White House website.
The slickly produced, though none-too-gripping 10-minute drama is a tale of canine sibling rivalry.
Barney, a Bush family pet for five years, is shown struggling to adjust to the popular new arrival Miss Beazley, a gift from the president to his wife Laura in January.
The grumpy dog is seen wandering round the presidential offices becoming ever more irritable as White House staffers and Cabinet members review his sister's rising poll numbers.
The first dog removes Miss Beazley's presents from under the White House Christmas tree, bringing a fatherly rebuke from the leader of the free world.
‘Both of you are an important part of our family,’ the president says. ‘And you have to remember the true meaning of the holiday season. Now you two run on.’
Mr Bush's words do the trick and thereafter the animals play together. At this point, the saccharine overload will have most viewers reaching for a handy receptacle, but the President’s advisors are sure that the film, full of this ‘folksy’ charm will endear him to Middle America
American political analysts have fallen on the film, much like old-fashioned Kremlinologists scanning Soviet politburo seating plans for signs of who's up and who's down.
The most obvious interpretation of the plot is as a tongue-in-cheek reference to Mr Bush's falling popularity and his wife's rising poll numbers.
Significantly perhaps, the president's chief strategist Karl Rove does not get a role, nor does the vice president Dick Cheney, although his wife Lynne gets a cameo.
Four Cabinet members are shown but defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice are absent, a fact that seeks volumes by the White House’s attempts to distance itself from the increasingly unpopular conflict in Iraq.
The film will do little to gain favour with the vociferous Christian Right, still upset about the absence of the word Christmas from the White House Christmas card. The holiday season, not Christmas, is mentioned in the video in an ‘inclusive’ nod to the PC lobby.
But hey – th’ film’s got dawgs in, so everythin’s okay with th’ Free World. Now, where’s that handy receptacle?