ST. LOUIS, Jan. 22 — George W. Bush may extol the virtues of free trade, but today that did not extend to a Made in America presidential appearance in the heart of the Midwest.
In an incident that reporters instantly called Boxgate, Mr. Bush gave a speech on his economic plan at a trucking company warehouse while surrounded by cardboard boxes — a tableau meant to project the image of a president at the epicenter of small-business America.
The only problem was the cardboard boxes were stamped with “Made in China,” a mark of globalization that was evidently not consistent with the Bush administration message of the day. But no matter. Workers preparing for the event industriously taped over every “Made in China” with a white sticker or packing tape, a literal cover-up that reporters discovered when they peeled off the tape.
Mr. Bush himself spoke in front of a printed canvas backdrop of faux cardboard boxes, which featured “Made in America” in large black letters.
Claire Buchan, a White House spokeswoman, said the cover-up was the work of volunteers for the White House.