September 07, 2007
|The Decider Down Under||Iraq Politics|
Feel the pride. AP:
President Bush had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day at the Sydney Opera House.
He'd only reached the third sentence of Friday's speech to business leaders, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, when he committed his first gaffe.
"Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit," Bush said to Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Oops. That would be APEC, the annual meeting of leaders from 21 Pacific Rim nations, not OPEC, the cartel of 12 major oil producers.
Bush quickly corrected himself. "APEC summit," he said forcefully, joking that Howard had invited him to the OPEC summit next year (for the record, an impossibility, since neither Australia nor the U.S. are OPEC members).
The president's next goof went uncorrected — by him anyway. Talking about Howard's visit to Iraq last year to thank his country's soldiers serving there, Bush called them "Austrian troops."
That one was fixed for him. Though tapes of the speech clearly show Bush saying "Austrian," the official text released by the White House switched it to "Australian."
Then, speech done, Bush confidently headed out — the wrong way.
He strode away from the lectern on a path that would have sent him over a steep drop. Howard and others redirected the president to center stage, where there were steps leading down to the floor of the theater.
The event had inauspicious beginnings. Bush started 10 minutes late, so that APEC workers could hustle people out of the theater's balcony seating to fill the many empty portions of the main orchestra section below — which is most visible on camera.
Even resettled, the audience remained quiet throughout the president's remarks, applauding only when he was finished. [Emphasis added]
Kinda funny, I guess, but then there's this (SMH):
[Bush] arrived in Australia in a chipper mood.
"We're kicking ass," he told Mark Vaile on the tarmac after the Deputy Prime Minister inquired politely of the President's stopover in Iraq en route to Sydney. [...]
[In his press conference,] Bush said [Afghanistan and Iraq] were "both theatres in the same war". [...]
His defiance on Iraq is growing. He implied that those who argued against the war in the first place had no role in the current debate.
Perhaps encouraged by the expectation that he will soon be able to withdraw some troops and claim success, regardless of what the rest of the world believes, Bush appeared as a man who has convinced himself he is on the right track and will crash or crash through. [Emphasis added]
"We're kicking ass." The guy's delusional.