As usual, the Twisted History feature on my sidebar has a Bushism today, this one the “Do you have blacks, too?” question to Brazilian president Cardoso in 2001.
This items sounds like, at best, a second-hand account recounted months after the fact, one which to many seems a little too perfectly ironic in that, of all the people present at the meeting, it has Condoleezza Rice intervening and fixing up Bush’s embarrassing inquiry (a black woman with superior knowledge coming to the aid of a “racist” white man in trouble). It’s also more than a bit reminiscent of a joke told about Vice-President Dan Quayle in 1989: that Quayle said, “I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn’t study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.” (The essence of the joke was soon put into Quayle’s mouth when it quickly mutated into a claim that he actually had said those words, and the joke has been widely cited as a “real” quote ever since).
Snopes classes this one as “undetermined.”
As I’ve said before, those in the public spotlight (like the rest of us) are bound to slip up from time to time, and in situations where miscues make the headlines and potentially insult or embarrass many. I’ll even grant that the President isn’t a very skilled public speaker, especially when not reading from a script. But all of these unsubstantiated Bushisms aren’t any more useful to anyone than poking fun at Al Gore for claiming to have invented the internet is. This isn’t the first time I’ve had problems with the otherwise enjoyable daily rundown.
Twisted History feature: In or Out? Comment in the comments.