You just can't make this stuff up, folks.
Bush hit by new blow as aide is charged with shoplifting
Tony Allen-Mills, New York
PRESIDENT George Bush’s battered image suffered another damaging blow yesterday with reports that his former top domestic policy adviser had been arrested by Maryland police for allegedly swindling two large department stores in a bizarre shoplifting scam.
Claude Allen, a prominent conservative who had become the highest-ranking African-American on the White House staff, resigned his post last month after telling the president that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Yesterday it emerged that Allen had been interviewed by police in early January after he allegedly left a Maryland shop with goods he had not paid for. He was arrested last week and charged with two counts of theft that carry maximum sentences of 15 years in jail.
Bush said he was “shocked” by the arrest. “If the allegations are true, something went wrong in Claude Allen’s life, and that is really sad,” he said.
The arrest is the latest in a series of embarrassing mishaps for the White House, which is beginning to appear dangerously accident-prone. Bush’s approval ratings have fallen to 37% in one poll and to 34% in another. Only Richard Nixon, the disgraced former president, had lower ratings at this stage of his second term.