Cowboy george


Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2004
Bush's unexpected squeeze of the German chancellor has the Internet howling

Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's not exactly "Presidents Gone Wild!" but for the normally staid Group of Eight Summit, a video of President George W. Bush sidling behind German Chancellor Angela Merkel and delivering an impromptu neck rub is, well, as wild as it gets.

The scene, captured by a Russian TV camera, hit the Internet like a summer wildfire Tuesday, and it may be most memorable for the German chancellor's reaction. Bush applies his hands to Merkel's shoulders and neck while she's speaking with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi; the chancellor hunches her shoulders, then throws her hands up to stop the unexpected massage with a wan smile -- and an expression which can best be translated as "Ewwww."

While the incident didn't get a lot of play on major TV media, it was just one of the Bush G-8 gaffes that garnered considerable space in the blogosphere from London to Los Angeles.

Bloggers on sites like expounded at length on the U.S. president's now-famed open mike incident in which Bush let slip the "s-word" while talking with British Prime Minister Tony Blair; it wasn't so much the potty mouth as the president speaking with his mouth full that horrified many international critics.

But it was the massage for Merkel -- notably the only female at the G-8 table -- which earned Bush the title of "Groper in Chief" on some Web sites.

One German tabloid, BILD-Zeitung, which posted the link to the video and headlined it: "Bush: Love Attack on Merkel!"

And Dialog International, a Web site that specializes in German-American politics and culture, said Bush's behavior raised questions about the American president and his profile abroad.

"When he is away from his script and his handlers, his true lack of intelligence and emotional maturity surfaces for all to see. The dangerous situation in Lebanon ... requires true leadership. Don't look for it from the world's uberpower."

The G-8 dust-up prompted Bush fans and Republican insiders to say that the critiques were much ado about a back rub.

GOP commentator and Fox News political analyst Karen Hanretty said the outraged reaction shows how "President Bush just can't win."

"Aren't these the same women who have been angry about cowboy diplomacy?" she asked. "Do they want a kinder, more sensitive Bush -- or a cowboy? Once again, there's no pleasing women," she said. "Give them the cowboy and they want Alan Alda.''

Hanretty went on to say that "these women who would criticize the prez for making a friendly gesture are the same women who refused to say anything about Bill Clinton when he was accused of sexually harassing Paula Jones. Where were they when Katherine Willey was grieving for her dead husband and Bill Clinton was rubbing them in all the wrong places?''

Hoover Institution research fellow Bill Whalen, a former adviser to former Gov. Pete Wilson, says the generous coverage of Bush's backrub and his open mike comments fully illustrates the power -- and occasional "goofiness" of the Internet in its ability to turn quotes and images into major events for what he calls the "get-a-life contingent.''

"We have this perception that presidents are like Quakers or Amish; they don't say any dirty words,'' he said. "But occasionally an s-bomb will slip in there."

As for that neck rub, Whalen quipped: "There are those who say the President should be more Clintonesque ... maybe he misunderstood what they meant." :laugh:

But commentator and author Steve Young's blog on the Huffington Post Web site says Bush looks like the "Lounge Lizard in Chief'' -- so he advises Democrats to seize the moment and make use of "the irony of a president who's supposed to represent our best, giving the Chancellor of Germany an inappropriate and unrequested backrub.''

Even some veteran White House insiders say the incident is a hair-raiser.

"I mean, did Reagan do that to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher? He's not giving massages to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin -- and he's the one who thinks he has a great relationship with Putin," said Martha Whetstone, former political director for the Northern California Democratic National Committee and a longtime Arkansas-born friend of former President Bill Clinton -- who certainly made news of his own on the women front.

"You could use this video for sexual harassment training. It's something you'd show and say, "No one in a boss's position should be doing that," Whetstone said.

"This is a guy whose favorite quote is, "I'm a leader," said Whetstone. "Leadership is knowing protocol, knowing you don't diminish other leaders. Diplomacy is about respect. Leaders should not act that way.''

Janette Gitler, a Marin County-based media and strategic planning consultant, says that Americans can "add it to the long list of embarrassing moments for our president.''

She said that if Bush were a media training client, she'd be "horrified that someone of his stature would behave in such undignified and inappropriate.''

"Obviously, the president isn't included in any kind of sensitivity training at the White House ... because it's clear from the video that (Merkel) didn't appreciate it,'' Gitler said. "I'm sure she didn't want to humiliate him, but you don't give her many options.''

San Francisco Chronicle reader Christine Curtis was outraged and wrote in to say the video was a scary look into Bush.

Merkel "recoiled as I would also do if someone came up from behind me and started touching me,'' Curtis said. She wondered if the president was "drunk or on something," adding "he is a frat boy gone wild in a grown up, very scary and dangerous world."

Whetstone said the moment echoes something Bush's likes to brag about: "He says he's going to be me -- because that's what people like. But sometimes "me" isn't a good thing.'''

But Whalen quips that maybe "would San Francisco readers prefer he rubbed Tony Blair's shoulders?''
Goodness, is this Whetsone women one uptight....... Maybe thats her problem, she needs to have something......rubbed.....Oops did I just say that....:D

:cow: :rotflmao: :cow:
first we lost two wars, now sexual harassment against our dear leader, damn a new lowpoint for Germany. :rotflmao:
nosarcasm said:
first we lost two wars, now sexual harassment against our dear leader, damn a new lowpoint for Germany. :rotflmao:

You KNOW she wanted it !!!!! Dresiing like that--shame on her !!!:cof:

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