President Barack Obama reached back into history in choosing the words for his much-awaited statement on intelligence mistakes over the Christmas Day attempted airline attack.
“I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer,” Obama said on Thursday after much speculation on whether he would do a mea culpa.
“For ultimately, the buck stops with me.”
And with those words, Obama became the latest American president to use a variation of that phrase to show the public he was aware of the huge responsibilities that come with the Oval Office.
President Harry S. Truman had a sign on his desk “The BUCK STOPS here!” and he would refer to that motto in public statements to emphasize that it was the president who had to make the decisions. “He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. that’s his job,” Truman said in his farewell address.
And President Gerald Ford used the phrase in his remarks when he granted a pardon to Richard Nixon.