Handle 'admit' with care
This was the headline in one of this morning's papers. But it gives me pause. "Admit" is a dangerous word, one to be handled with care. No matter how it's applied, it carries a pejorative slant and a connotation that the person doing the admitting is responsible.
And yes, Bush did say his administration's response was too slow. But even the writer of the story avoided "admitted" for the more neutral "acknowledged."
No matter how you feel about Bush, the administration, its response, etc., the subtle slant comes through, and readers pick it up. That second line has an 18.5 count. Here's a 20 count that with the white space on either side of the original would appear to fit.
says response too slow
This keeps it more neutral but captures the essence. Is it one of those "mistakes were made" types of heds? Yes, and it will upset some partisans. But I think it serves us better to keep our neutrality.