DEFINE ‘INHERITED’…. I know Fox News personalities will go to comical lengths to defend the Bush administration, but Wendell Goler really pushed the envelope yesterday.

“This president inherited a budget surplus, but he also inherited what he called ‘the trifecta of bad times.’ … He inherited the 9/11 attacks. He inherited the recession and he inherited some tough times on Wall Street.”

First, Bush’s “trifecta” line was never about what he inherited — Bush used to talk about the trifecta to justify running enormous budget deficits. Throughout his first term, the president would tell audiences that he announced, during the 2000 campaign, that he’d only allow the budget to run deficits if there was a recession, a national emergency, or a war. He would joke that he didn’t know we’d hit a “trifecta” by having all three.

As it turns out, Bush never actually said any such thing in the 2000 campaign , but regardless, even Bush didn’t claim to “inherit” the problems.

Second, how on earth does one “inherit” the 9/11 terrorist attacks? Bush can be described as having inherited problems with al Qaeda, most notably after the attacks on the USS Cole late in Clinton’s presidency, and his record can be judged on how well he responded to the threat after taking office (hint: not well).

I’ve heard some silly defenses for Bush’s presidency, but Fox News is stooping to some pretty weak tea here.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.