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Barney Builds a Budget

Bush explaining his National Park Service budget using the magic of puppies.

By Richard Whittaker, 3:28PM, Wed. Dec. 12, 2007

Barney: The most credible, cuddliest member of the administration
Barney: The most credible, cuddliest member of the administration
White House photo by Shealah Craighead

President George Bush loves parks. He loves them so much that he's has requested a $2.363 billion budget for the National Park Service. But that mean old Congress might slash that to balance that federal budget that he also wants to make teeny-tiny. That's why, in the latest video missive from the president's dogs, Barney and Miss Beazley get to become Junior Park Rangers. Featuring cameos by Alan "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" Jackson and Tony "I used to be prime minister of a real country" Blair, the latest Barneycam is more of a Christmas gift than a Dana Perino press conference.

But is he really a big fan of the parks? The service's budget for 2001, the last financial year of the Clinton administration, was $2.292 billion. Bush has tried to claim that his administration has overseen a 20% rise in park spending since he took over the White House, but in three of his six budgets it's actually been lower than the last Clinton numbers, and it has never kept track with inflation. Worst case scenario, they should be able to pay for extra repairs with all that cash that's being generated from the unprecedented opening up of national parks to oil companies and loggers.

Still, who doesn't love a dog in a jacket?

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