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Saturday, November 6, 1999 Published at 11:50 GMT

World: Americas

Bush no whizz on foreign quiz

Ready for the grilling: the candidate (left) and his tormentor

George W Bush had definitely not been briefed for all the questions a local TV interview fired at him on the campaign trail.

The Republican frontrunner in the United States presidential elections was subjected to a little foreign policy quiz he obviously did not enjoy.

The BBC's Nick Miles reports: "One out of four, hardly impressive"
Asked by the reporter of a Boston television station to name four international statesmen recently in the news, Mr Bush got 25% right - if you consider first names a mere luxury.

First off, Andy Hiller, political reporter for WHDH-TV in Boston, Massachusetts, wanted to know whether the potential next president of the US could name the president of Chechnya.

Mr Bush: "No, can you?"

Instead, Mr Hiller fired off his second question. "Can you name the president of Taiwan?"

Nuclear powers

Bush: "Yeah, Lee." His score so far: 50%.

But then came the crunch question: "Can you name the general who is in charge of Pakistan?"

Mr Bush needed a breather. "Wait, wait, is this 50 questions?" Hiller:

[ image: Bush was still amused after the first question]
Bush was still amused after the first question
"No, it's four questions of four leaders in four hot spots, " the reporter tried to put his victim at ease.

"The new Pakistani general, he's just been elected - not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country and I think that's good news for the sub-continent," the Republican candidate offered.

Good news, but not an answer, and the interviewer insisted: "Can you name him?"

"General. I can't name the general. General" was all Mr Bush had to offer.

The reporter tried the another country in the same region, but the Indian prime minister's name did not come to George Bush either.

"The new prime minister of India is - no."

Would you have known the answers?

Click here to find out whether you got it right.

The reactions

In the Bush camp, there was not too much concern about their candidate's performance.

"For the American people, the relevant question is not how many names a candidate has memorised but does he have the strategic vision to lead and can he protect American interests," Mr Bush's communications director Karen Hughes said.

And President Bill Clinton showed his charitable side when told of the interview.

"If Mr Bush is president he will soon enough learn their names," the president said.

The correct answers

The President of Chechnya is Aslan Maskhadov.

The President of Taiwan is Lee Teng-hui.

The general who is in charge in Pakistan is Pervaiz Musharraf.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee is the Indian Prime Minister.

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