WASHINGTON -- The following is a transcript of presidential counselor Edwin Meese's remarks Thursday in defense of Ebenezer Scrooge:
'Let me say that because it's the Christmas season, some historical and economic research has revealed a great injustice that I would like to right at this time. As a matter of fact, I found that actually Scrooge had a bad press at this time.
'If you really look at the facts, he didn't exploit Bob Cratchit. As a matter of fact, Bob Cratchit was paid 10 shillings a week, which was a very good wage at that time.
'Furthermore, the free market wouldn't allow Scrooge to exploit poor Bob. England didn't get free public schools until after Dickens was dead. So that the fact Bob Cratchit could read and write made him a very valuable :lerk and as a result of that he was paid 10 shillings a week.
'Bob, in fact, had a good cause to be happy with his situation. He lived in a house, not a tenement. His wife didn't have to work and only one of his children had not had much of an education, but he still had a job. He was able to afford the traditional Christmas dinner of roast goose and plum pudding.
'So after all folks, I think we have to change our views. So let's be fair to Scrooge. He had his faults, but he wasn't unfair to anyone.'