Twisted History strikes again

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Questionable Quotes

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.

And, as usual, I’ve had problems finding anything to back it up on sites other than I did, however, find a Snopes page on the incident.

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.


  1. Do you have blacks, too?’ ~ George W. Bush speaking to Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Source: Reported 2002-04-28 by columnist Fernando Pedreira (and friend of the Brazilian president) of the Estado Sao Paulo in an article titled An Overwhelming Ignorance. Also cited by The Washington Post. 2001-11-08 ***

  2. Do you have the Nov 01 WaPo story? Everything I’ve found says that the quote was first reported in April 02 by Pedreira. The meeting where it was supposedly said was in Nov 01 and covered, but no mention of the quote. Someone says they were told by someone that someone said it. Six months later. I’m not totally convinced. ***

  3. I’m really appreciating the insightful commentary of Marine’s Girl. Here’s to the power of sarcasm! ***

  4. Well, see, this is exactly what I’m talking about. Just saying that it’s real because you heard that it’s real isn’t good enough for me. Every legit solid reference to the quote removed from everywhere? Must be the vast Right-wing Conspiriacy at work again. My problem is that every single time I look into a single Bushism from Twisted History, I get nothing. How many times can that happen before one begins to doubt ALL of them? ***