Bush on APEC…OPEC? Tomato, Tomahto

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Bush is tired, this is all hard, hard work, plus he’s jetlagged. Which all spells trouble for the man who has a hard time speaking, let alone spelling.

Today at the APEC business summit in Sydney, Australia, the prez served up a couple of major gaffes, astonishing even for him.

First, he addressed the crowd at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC, not as the key regional inter-governmental working group, but as the similarly-acronymed, but oh-so-different, oil cartel, thanking Prime Minister John Howard thusly:

“Mr prime minister, thank you for your introduction. Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit.”

He caught himself on this one and amended his mention. But then, as he was wrapping up, Bush commended “Austrian troops” in Iraq. There are, in fact, no Austrian troops in Iraq, but there are 1,500 Australian ones.

He failed to correct this mistake, though you’d never know it from the transcript. You see, the White House offers transcripts of all of the president’s speeches, but they are consistently edited and cleaned up to weed out the big and small flubs. No mention of Austrian troops therein, meaning Bush will come off as much smoother in the historical record.

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