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Some Dubya incidents are truly worth special notice. This section of the site features those incidents. If you know of any other confirmed Dubya escapades worthy of inclusion here, please e-mail DubyaSpeak.
Dubya Incidents (Page 5)
On June 28, 2004, Dubya's boys in Baghdad slipped the transfer of power from the U.S.-led provisional authority to the U.S.-selected puppet regime under the radar of the world press. The ability to safely conduct this ceremony in complete obscurity two days earlier than planned was a point of pride in the administration, as evidenced by their providing a photo of the handwritten note from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice announcing the development to Dubya. Dubya very quickly scribbled a phrase onto the note: "Let Freedom Reign". Now, perhaps this was an intentional choice of wording, but it seems more likely that he was hoping to borrow from the lyrics of the patriotic tune "America" (an odd choice for a nation presumably just "freed" from American occupation), and managed to mess it up in a way similar to well-meaning people who write "Congradulations!" on graduation day greeting cards, and don't realize their mistake.
For reference, please note the excerpted lyrics of "America" below:
"America" by Rev. Samuel F. Smith
My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountain side
Let freedom ring.
(Excerpted from an article by Jake Tapper on Salon.com)
There's also Lynn Novick, a co-producer of Ken Burns' PBS series "Baseball," who had the rare treat of accompanying Bush to a Texas Rangers game in the summer of 1994, before he was elected governor. "He was a very gracious host," Novick says. "He was perfectly pleasant. Until he changed the subject."
Bush mentioned something about Yale University, from which he graduated in 1968. Novick graduated from Yale in 1983, so she brought it up, thinking it would be "like a bonding thing."
"When did you graduate?" Bush asked her, as she recalls. She told him. That's when Bush told her that Yale "went downhill since they admitted women."
"I said, 'Excuse me?'" Novick says. "I thought he was kidding. But he didn't seem to be kidding. I said, 'What do you mean?'"
Bush replied that "something had been lost" when women were fully admitted to Yale in 1969, that fraternities were big when he'd been there, providing a "great camaraderie for the men." But that went out the window when women were allowed in, Bush said.
"He said something like, 'Women changed the social dynamic for the worse,'" she says. "I was so stunned, shocked and insulted, I didn't know what to say."
DUBYA REACHES 100 DEGREES
(White House web site, Jun. 15, 2004. Dubya displays his usual decorum.)
DUBYA AND THE PONTIFF
(Based on materials submitted by a DubyaSpeak reader, including an article from the National Catholic Reporter. Also, for those of you who might think this is an insignificant incident not worth reporting, I would like to refer you to this incident.)
Dubya seems to have immense difficulty with protocol. Although he has handlers and people who are specifically employed to assist him in meeting dignitaries, and not accidentally offending them, it seems you can't take the Dubya out of Dubya.
One great example is Dubya's meetings with the Pope. On August 10, 2001, Dubya met with the Pope in Castel Gandolfo, the pope's summer residence in the Alban Hills above Rome. Laura Bush, Dubya's daughter Barbara, and key foreign policy adviser Condoleeza Rice wore the black dresses and head scarves (mantillas) that women are supposed to don for papal audiences. Yet Dubya's command of Vatican protocol nevertheless proved a bit spotty. In direct address, the pope is always "Your Holiness" or "Holy Father." Dubya, however, fell back on a more familiar (Texan?) expression of polite respect: "sir."
Following the predictable high-level handshake, the popping of flashbulbs, the exchange went like this:
Pope: "You were at the Roman Forum yesterday."
Dubya: "Yes sir, it was so beautiful. And this place is beautiful."
Pope: "Popes come here in the summer."
Dubya: "Yes sir, I understand that, and I can see why."
Just in case you were wondering if this was an isolated incident, it isn't. Dubya's meeting with the Pope on June 4, 2004 produced the following:
"I also bring a message from my government that says to you, sir, we will work for human liberty and human dignity, in order to spread peace and compassion. That we appreciate the strong symbol of freedom that you have stood for, and we recognize the power of freedom to change societies and to change the world. And so, sir, we're honored to be here. Perhaps the best way I can express my country's gratitude to you, and our respect to you, is to present to you the Medal of Freedom from America."
Nitpicky, perhaps, as he wasn't being out and out rude, but this is something that is emblematic of Dubya's disdain for formality.
DUBYA ON THE LOOSE
(AP wire story from abcnews.com, Apr. 6, 2004.)
EL DORADO, Ark. April 6 — President Bush has a penchant for dishing out good-natured insults, and usually the victim laughs along. But Sammie Briery didn't seem much amused when Bush fired one at her Tuesday.
Bush was wrapping up a town hall-style appearance at South Arkansas Community College when he let the jest fly. It was a mother joke, a blonde joke and an insult all in one.
"You and my mother go to the same hair-dye person," Bush said to Briery, whose blondish bob bore little resemblance to Barbara Bush's shock of white hair.
The audience in the gymnasium laughed, and Briery smiled, but replied firmly:
"President Bush, I'm a natural blonde."
"Oh, yes," Bush agreed.
"I'm just a natural blonde," she repeated.
"I couldn't help myself, sorry," Bush shrugged.
With that, Bush moved quickly to end the session. He turned to Bob Watson, superintendent of the El Dorado Public Schools who had opened the meeting by inadvertently insulting Bush.
"Governor excuse me, President," Watson said.
Bush muttered, "How quickly they forget."
When Watson offered to shake Bush's hand, the president shot back: "Just don't hug me."
DUBYA... MINTY FRESH.
(From excerpts of Bob Woodward's "Plan of Attack" featured on washingtonpost.com, and mentioned on bartcop.com.)
Ten days before his inauguration, Dubya, Dick Cheney, Donald 'Rummy' Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell went to the Pentagon to meet with outgoing Defense Secretary William Cohen. Afterward, Dubya and company headed "downstairs to the Tank, the secure domain and meeting room for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.... Bush asked some practical questions about how things worked, but he did not offer or hint at his desires. The Joint Chiefs' staff had placed a peppermint at each place. Bush unwrapped his and popped it into his mouth. Later he eyed Cohen's mint and flashed a pantomime query, Do you want that? Cohen signaled no, so Bush reached over and took it. Near the end of the hour-and-a-quarter briefing, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, noticed Bush eyeing his mint, so he passed it over."
[ It's nice to see where Dubya's priorities were when it came to discussing matters of national and world security. ]
DUBYA GETS WORKED UP OVER BROADBAND
In an April 26, 2004 appearance before the American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dubya really emphasized the need for greater access to broadband throughout the country — audibly. Take a listen to an excerpt from the speech where you can cleary hear him driving down on the podium. An impressive level of passion from the compassionate conservative — I guess.
WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?
(White House web site, Apr. 5, 2004.)
DUBYA: Let me ask you a couple of questions. Who is the AP person?
AP REPORTER: I am.
DUBYA: You are?
AP REPORTER: Sir, in regard to —
DUBYA: Who are you talking to?
AP REPORTER: Mr. President, in regard to the June 30th deadline, is there a chance that that would be moved back?
DUBYA: No, the intention is to...
DUBYA DISENGAGES COMPLETELY
(Straight from the White House web site, Jan. 29, 2004. Enjoy.)
Merrimack, New Hampshire
3:50 P.M. EST
Q: Mr. President —
DUBYA: Now what was that look for?
Q: I'm wondering what you think of John Kerry, sir?
DUBYA: You're supposed to be thinking about what it means to start your own business, like these people here have done.
Q: Mr. President, what about consternation over weapons of mass destruction?
DUBYA: Here are the owners, right here. They started their business last year, had a dream, living their dream, and they're making good product. And I expect people in the national press corps to leave some cash behind. That would be you, Allen. Go buy some — they'll help you, right over there.
DUBYA ORDERS RIBS
(Straight from the White House web site, Jan. 22, 2004. Enjoy.)
Nothin' Fancy Cafe
Roswell, New Mexico
Jan. 22, 2004
11:25 A.M. MST
DUBYA: I need some ribs.
Q: Mr. President, how are you?
DUBYA: I'm hungry and I'm going to order some ribs.
Q: What would you like?
DUBYA: Whatever you think I'd like.
Q: Sir, on homeland security, critics would say you simply haven't spent enough to keep the country secure.
DUBYA: My job is to secure the homeland and that's exactly what we're going to do. But I'm here to take somebody's order. That would be you, Stretch — what would you like? Put some of your high-priced money right here to try to help the local economy. You get paid a lot of money, you ought to be buying some food here. It's part of how the economy grows. You've got plenty of money in your pocket, and when you spend it, it drives the economy forward. So what would you like to eat?
Q: Right behind you, whatever you order.
DUBYA: I'm ordering ribs. David, do you need a rib?
Q: But Mr. President —
DUBYA: Stretch, thank you, this is not a press conference. This is my chance to help this lady put some money in her pocket. Let me explain how the economy works. When you spend money to buy food it helps this lady's business. It makes it more likely somebody is going to find work. So instead of asking questions, answer mine: are you going to buy some food?
DUBYA: Okay, good. What would you like?
DUBYA: Ribs? Good. Let's order up some ribs.
Q: What do you think of the democratic field, sir?
DUBYA: See, his job is to ask questions, he thinks my job is to answer every question he asks. I'm here to help this restaurant by buying some food. Terry, would you like something?
Q: An answer.
Q: Can we buy some questions?
DUBYA: Obviously these people — they make a lot of money and they're not going to spend much. I'm not saying they're overpaid, they're just not spending any money.
Q: Do you think it's all going to come down to national security, sir, this election?
DUBYA: One of the things David does, he asks a lot of questions, and they're good, generally.
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