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Empathy, Sympathy--What's the Difference?

01.09.2006 07:25 | DISPATCHES

On New Years Day, President Bush visited troops at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Apparently, former advisor Karen Hughes once clued him in on this empathy thing, which she remembered from a mandatory senstivity training course during her corporate climb, and he thought he'd give it a spin:

"As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself--not here at the hospital, but in combat with a cedar. I eventually won. The cedar gave me a little scratch. As a matter of fact, the colonel asked if I needed first aid when she first saw me. I was able to avoid any major surgical operations here, but thanks for your compassion, Colonel."
One of his most inappropriate moments, it ranks with his post-Katrina comment that he couldn't wait to see Trent Lott's house, never mind the rest of New Orleans, rebuilt. Sympathy, meanwhile, is what we might feel at the sight of a man embarrassing himself like this--if it weren't for how badly he reflects on the nation as a whole.


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