On the Plane

Jet Lag Makes Even Bush a Little 'Grumpy'

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania -- Greetings from Africa, where President Bush is visiting for the second time while in office, jetting from coast to coast to tout his efforts to fight AIDS, malaria and poverty. On the Plane is back to take you a little behind the scenes and tell some of the stories that get lost in the regular coverage you see on the web site and in the print edition.

Like everyone on the trip, Bush is fighting jet lag. He has the advantage of a big bed and private room in the front of Air Force One for the arduous trip over -- nearly 10 hours to the tiny West Africa country of Benin, where he stopped for three hours to refuel and meet local leaders before hopping back on the plane to fly another six hours here to Tanzania. His aides are left to find a couch somewhere or a patch of floor where they sack out. Those of us in the press cabin stay in our seats for the 16 hours of flight time.

Bush generally keeps his humor through all sorts of exhausting days, but his fatigue sometimes shows. After waking up early this morning, he received a grand welcome to the State House for his meeting with President Jakaya Kikwete. Our colleague, Jon Ward of the Washington Times, serving as the pool reporter representing the rest of the media that could not fit into the confined space, asked how the president enjoyed the reception.

Bush blew him off. "You can ask me that question at the press conference," he said.

As it turned out, Ward didn't get called on at the news conference. But one of the Tanzanian reporters who did asked Bush why it took him so long to come here for the first time.

"I don't have many excuses," Bush shrugged, "except I've been a pretty busy guy."

True enough. Even here in Africa, Bush has issues elsewhere to think about, including the fight over surveillance law back home, the upcoming elections in Pakistan tomorrow and the decision by Kosovo to declare independence. Tabassum Zakaria of Reuters asked if the United States would recognize Kosovo. When he didn't answer directly, she asked again.

"I suggest you study the Ahtisaari plan," he scolded her, referring to a U.N. plan for supervised independence that he supports.

Then, realizing that might have come across harsher than he meant it, he quickly added with a laugh, "Not to be like the, you know, grumpy guy."

-- Peter Baker

By Eric Pianin |  February 17, 2008; 1:04 PM ET  | Trip:  Bush in Africa, Feb. 2008
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he is probably sleep-deprived from taking a tongue lashing from his "good friend" vladimir putin who just announced that HE will be running the soviet universe indefinitely as premier/prime minister.

of course bush is snippy.

what does he have to look forward to except signing autographs on cheerleader's cheeks and fighting criminal charges for the rest of his life?

Posted by: bloggod | February 17, 2008 1:36 PM

No surprise that Bush is a "little grumpy." Whatever he is -- he is only a "little."

Posted by: lwps | February 17, 2008 2:30 PM

The Washington Post has been enabling
Bush's behavior for years. Poor man,
must be cranky after a long flight.
What about the troops on their third
and fourth tours? Does Bush still
"sleep like a baby"? Does the Washington Post?

Posted by: Army Brat | February 17, 2008 3:01 PM

Bush could also be hungover! Travel abroad affords him great opportunity to sneak drinks and generally fall off the wagon without getting caught, as he did on his trip to Mongolia.

Posted by: thedefendant | February 17, 2008 3:24 PM

This is less Bush being grumpy because of jet lag than a series of unguarded and unscripted moments from a man who is arrogant, dismissive, and increasingly exposed as inept.

Posted by: Truthpatriot | February 17, 2008 3:26 PM

Well, now that we know what makes GWB grumpy, maybe we can find out what makes him obstinate and retarded.

Posted by: ceton | February 17, 2008 3:34 PM

Who reads this drivel?

Posted by: Old Bloke | February 17, 2008 3:39 PM

Maybe the First Lady snores?

Posted by: Ed | February 17, 2008 7:53 PM

Frankly, at this point, most Americans wouldn't mind too much if Air Force One crashes in some remote jungle part of Africa. Of course, the downside is Cheney would then become President, but we can always impeach him. The sooner America is rid of Bush the better off all of us will be.

Posted by: dsrobins | February 18, 2008 1:29 AM

I sent this e-mail to Senators. I suggest everyone go to youtube.com and search Aaron Russo's interview regarding 9/11 and the war on terror. Then Google Marvin Bush. It's eye opening. I think he's going to be grumpy for some time.

Dear Senator,

I am writing today to demand you not support extending the Patriot Act. I must admit that I was a supporter of the Patriot Act until I saw an interview on youtube.com. In that interview, Aaron Russo tells about the secret agenda that the current administration has regarding the war on terrorism. It seems Nicholas Rockefeller befriended Mr. Russo in order to recruit him into joining the Council on Foreign Relations. I am sure many in our government are members of the CFR.

In this interview, Mr. Russo states that Nick Rockefeller confided in him that an "event" was going to happen that would make it possible for the U.S. to invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Venezuela under the guise of "the war on terrorism." It would also make it possible to pass legislation like the Patriot Act, in which many American rights and freedoms would be relinquished. This was 11 months before 9/11 happened.
I looked into the facts surrounding 9/11 and also discovered that President Bush's brother Marvin Bush was in charge of security for the World Trade Center and Dulles Airport as head of SecurCom. This is all a matter of record and can be easily verified, don't take my word for it. The weekend before 9/11, SecurCom staff had a total power shutdown of the WTC under the pretense of redoing security equipment. Take this into account with the fact that multiple explosions went off prior to the WTC towers collapsing. Firemen could be heard warning each other of secondary devices. A full and total investigation needs to take place in order to get to the truth. It seems that this so called war on terror may have been staged by our government as a "false flag" operation. I've seen statements that claim the FBI says it was an inside job and that it's common knowledge by intelligence agencies around the world. Take into account the numerous lies that have been told by the President about the WMD as a pretense to invade Iraq and the facts about a war on terrorism suddenly look suspect.

This administration is dishonest and untrustworthy. Hundreds of thousands have died needlessly. Bid free contracts have been awarded to corporations worth billions with ties to this administration. Our freedoms are being taken away with little or no recourse under the pretense that they are protecting us. Who will protect us from them? Do you really think the most powerful nation on Earth would be so vulnerable against a bunch of 2 bit foreign highjackers? It seems a drill with the scenario for the exact attack on the WTC was going on the very day it happened. The odds of that happening are astronomical. The military was given orders to "stand down" on 9/11 until after the pentagon was hit. It's time to stop the President from further eroding American rights. It's time to stop his destruction of our economy. We are being spent into bankruptcy fighting a phantom enemy that will never be found. He is a lame duck President and Congress needs to tell this administration that the American people's rights and freedoms are nonnegotiable. Unless our government steps up and protects it's citizens against all enemies, "foreign and domestic," who will? The American people are counting on those in office, regardless of party affiliation, to protect our freedom and Constitution. Absolute power corrupts absolutely! You swore an oath to protect the United States of America. The American people expect nothing less.

An American,

Posted by: Stephen | February 18, 2008 6:59 AM

StevenXXXXXXX is right. Unfortunatly the mainstream press has become more of a public menace then any sort of public service. It is completely owned and ruled by a very small (11) corporate entities who's interest are the only ones that are served. The American Puplic have become the most misinformed and ignorant because of this of all the industrialized Nations. Even some third world nations if they are at all educated...Mary.

Posted by: Mary57 | February 18, 2008 5:06 PM

He's Grumpy because Dopey (Albreto G) doesn't recall why he had to go back to Texas, Sleepy (Senator C) got caught in the men's room with his pants down, Bashful (VP C) is in an undisclosed location, Doc (Condi) did not know that terrorists use airplanes, Happy (Skooter) wants a pardon, and Sneezy (Katrina Brown) thought a hurricane was little more than a sneeze. Poor Grumpy.

Posted by: CalifroniaJim | February 18, 2008 10:59 PM

These posts are absolutely inane. The country, nay the world, is going to hell in a handbasket, and this is the coverage we get.

Is Peter Baker angling for a book deal? Sheesh. This is almost as bad as Robin Ghivan's gong-show dumb "what the candidates are wearing" series.

Posted by: monk | February 18, 2008 11:17 PM

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