On the Plane

Overseas Travel Keeps Bush Off Stride

BUCHAREST, Romania -- Like Condoleezza Rice, President Bush, of course, is also an exercise demon and likes his routine. Traveling overseas on these country-a-day trips can sometimes throw him off just a bit.

Take his speech this morning to a parallel conference before the NATO summit began tonight. He stumbled over his prepared text several times. The White House stenographers who record his every public remark were left to insert [sic] in the transcript left and right:

"Welcoming them into the MATO [sic] -- into the Membership Action Plan would send a signal to their citizens that if they continue on the path to democracy and reform, they will be welcomed into the institutions of Europe."

"Afghanistan is the most daring and ambition [sic] mission in the history of NATO."

"Our alliance must maintain its resolve and finish the fight in NATO [sic]."

Maybe that's why he seemed so eager to end a mini-news conference he held later in the day with Romanian President Traian Basescu down at the Black Sea resort of Neptun. Bush typically holds what the White House calls "two-and-two" sessions with reporters when he meets with other heads of state -- each side's reporters get two questions total.

After answering the last question, Bush ended the event without waiting for Basescu to respond. "Thank you very much," he said and then walked over to the Romanian to leave together.

"Just a moment," Basescu corrected him.

"Oh, you got -- ?" Bush asked.

"Just a moment," Basescu said again.

"He's not through," Bush said aloud and then walked back to his lectern.

No wonder why Basescu wanted to answer -- the question was about Romanians' frustration over U.S. visa policies. He should be grateful Romania is already a member of MATO [sic].

-- Peter Baker


By Eric Pianin |  April 2, 2008; 5:59 PM ET
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Comments

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Letterman might appreciate the additional material for "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches" but there's already a lifetime supply.

How proud we all are of our president, especially when he's alongside foreign leaders that can actually speak their own language intelligibly.

Posted by: louise | April 2, 2008 10:12 PM

Bush is an old man - what do you expect!

Posted by: John McCain | April 3, 2008 9:38 AM

"He stumbled over his prepared text several times. The White House stenographers who record his every public remark were left to insert [sic] in the transcript left and right".

Why is this different from the usual stumbling over prepared text that we've all come to expect and ignore. What an embarrassment!!

Posted by: thebobbob | April 3, 2008 1:18 PM

Thebobbob, no embarrassment at all! We, Romanians, like Bush and are grateful to USA for welcoming us in NATO. Our economy got better and better under the NATO umbrella and we live much better now. I, for example, am building a $400,000 house (three storeys high) and that was unimaginable for me three years ago. My firm benefited greatly in the new security climate.

Posted by: Petre, a Bucharester | April 3, 2008 8:21 PM

Thebobbob, no embarrassment at all! We, Romanians, like Bush and are grateful to USA for welcoming us in NATO. Our economy got better and better under the NATO umbrella and we live much better now. I, for example, am building a $400,000 house (three storeys high) and that was unimaginable for me three years ago. My firm benefited greatly in the new security climate.

Posted by: Petre, a Bucharester | April 3, 2008 8:21 PM

Thebobbob, no embarrassment at all! We, Romanians, like Bush and are grateful to USA for welcoming us in NATO. Our economy got better and better under the NATO umbrella and we live much better now. I, for example, am building a $400,000 house (three storeys high) and that was unimaginable for me three years ago. My firm benefited greatly in the new security climate.

Posted by: Petre, a Bucharester | April 3, 2008 8:21 PM

Thebobbob, no embarrassment at all! We, Romanians, like Bush and are grateful to USA for welcoming us in NATO. Our economy got better and better under the NATO umbrella and we live much better now. I, for example, am building a $400,000 house (three storeys high) and that was unimaginable for me three years ago. My firm benefited greatly in the new security climate.

Posted by: Petre, a Bucharester | April 3, 2008 8:21 PM

Thebobbob, no embarrassment at all! We, Romanians, like Bush and are grateful to USA for welcoming us in NATO. Our economy got better and better under the NATO umbrella and we live much better now. I, for example, am building a $400,000 house (three storeys high) and that was unimaginable for me three years ago. My firm benefited greatly in the new security climate.

Posted by: Petre, a Bucharester | April 3, 2008 8:21 PM

I cringed after reading this piece. One can only imagine what the other world leaders were saying behind his back.

Posted by: tydicea | April 3, 2008 8:48 PM

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