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Schieffer: Apologies, Apologies . . .

CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer wonders what everybody in Washington is so sorry for. And why none of it seems all that believable.

Have you noticed how many politicians have been apologizing lately? Of course, they are not the kinds of apologies where the apologizer admits to doing something stupid or cruel.

They are what I call Washington apologies, in which the apologizer explains he was really right but regrets that somehow others misunderstood.

The latest round of this began with House Speaker New Gingrich's new book, "Lessons Learned The Hard Way," in which he admits such sins as failing to pay enough attention when his lawyers were defending him for violating congressional ethics rules.

Then Congressman Dan Burton apologized to Congress for the way his keystone-cops investigation of the President has turned out. But he let an assistant take the blame and the fall.

And then there was White House aid Sidney Blumenthal, who apologized for calling the Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's deputy, Hickman Ewing, a religious fanatic. In a written statement, Blumenthal said, "I did not mean to offend Mr. Ewing." That raises the question: If he didn't mean to offend, was he trying to pass a compliment?

The pity is all of this self-examination comes too late for Seinfeld. It would have made a great episode.

Then again, maybe it wouldn't. For all their faults, the Seinfeld gang has a certain believability.

By Bob Schieffer