Sunday, September 2, 2007
Here's a funny exchange from a roundtable interview President Bush gave the foreign press in advance of next week's APEC meeting in Sydney:
Q: So what are your outlook and hopes for U.S.-Malaysia relations, and especially with Malaysia being the 10th largest trading partner?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, I do believe we ought to have -- take this notion of trade and have meaningful discussions with a potential free trade agreement with Malaysia. Secondly, I respect Prime Minister Badawi, admire his leadership. When his wife died I tried to call him early just to let him know I cared about him.
Q: He has remarried.
THE PRESIDENT: Has he? Good. I'll congratulate him. Thanks for giving me that heads-up. Don't put that in the article that you had to tell me that. You can put it in there if you want. (Laughter.) I'll be glad to -- I'm going to congratulate him. That's neat.
MR. WILDER: You did, sir.
THE PRESIDENT: What?
MR. WILDER: You did congratulate him.
THE PRESIDENT: Exactly. I'm going to congratulate him again. (Laughter.) I'll double the congratulations. (Laughter.) That's right, I did write him a note. I forgot. Did I call him or write him a note?
MR. WILDER: You wrote him a note.
THE PRESIDENT: That's right, yes. Sent him a couple flowers. Anyway, Malaysia is an interesting example of how a free society can deal with movements that could conceivably change and alter the nature of the free society.
It's striking how charming he can be when he's humble enough to be self-deprecating. But as soon as he's pressed with an agressive line of questioning, his pride gets the better of him and he comes across as petulant and embarrassingly simple-minded.