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Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 06:39 GMT
Mystery of the disappearing dubyas
hite House est ing
A crucial letter goes missing
The White House is turning into the hite House. Washington is reduced to ashington.

George W Bush is in danger of becoming indistinguishable from his father, plain George Bush.

In what appears to have been a practical joke by departing members of the Clinton administration, the letter 'W' has been removed from many government computers.

George W Bush
George - um - Bush
Staff initially discovered that their W keys had disappeared when they moved in after the inauguration on Saturday of the new president - whose fondness for his middle initial has earned him the nickname "Dubya".

Some of the Ws were simply blacked out or missing. Others were taped to the ceilings and walls.

Some members of the new administration face the ignominy of hunting down their Ws under desks and filing cabinets.

Staff in the West Wing - or "est ing", as it's now being referred to - have yet to determine how many machines have been affected.

A White House spokesman whose keyboard was discovered fully intact, said his first reaction was "wow".

From the colleagues with the vandalised machines, the response, he said, was simply "o".

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