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Sunday, 25 March, 2001, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Bush mocks Bush
George W Bush and Dick Cheney
Bush: Looking for a Cheney clone
President George W Bush has poked fun at his own tendency to make verbal gaffes, or "Bushisms", at an annual meeting with Washington's top journalists.

During his first appearance at a Gridiron Club dinner, Mr Bush said he suffered from foot-and-mouth disease and talked of cloning Vice-President Dick Cheney so he could take the next four years off.

You know that foot-and-mouth disease rampant in Europe? I've got it

He went on to joke about suggestions that Mr Cheney was the man in charge at the White House: "To those people I say, I say... Dick, what do I say?"

"These stories about my intellectual capacity do get under my skin a little bit," the president told journalists during the white-tie dinner which it is customary for US presidents to attend.


Mr Bush said it appeared to him that even his staff were beginning to think he was not very bright because he was being given "intelligence briefings" first thing every morning.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on

And, to dispel any doubts that this could affect his leadership, he said he was following advice given to him by Democrat Robert Strauss: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you need to concentrate on."

To emphasise the fact that he is no fool, President Bush said he had just completed mapping the human genome.

"My goal is to clone another Dick Cheney, that way I won't have to do anything," he quipped.

Acknowledging his tendency to mix up words, the president said he suffered from foot-and-mouth disease and that he had been told his lips "are where words go to die."

Skits and songs

Every president since Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893) has been a guest of the annual Gridiron Club event which aims to "singe but not burn" the head of state.

My goal is to clone another Dick Cheney, that way I won't have to do anything

The audience includes journalists, cabinet members, senators and other senior politicians.

On this occasion Mr Cheney, Attorney-General John Ashcroft, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and former vice-presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman were among those invited to witness the spoofing of politicians and last year's controversial elections.

Skits and songs made fun of the Clintons, Al Gore, Ralph Nader and other figures.

Hillary Clinton was shown leaving the White House, singing: "We just took what's owed to us and grabbed ourselves a fistful, sofas, tables, ottomans, bric-a-brac and crystals."

Former President Clinton's stand-in sang "Even though you are a fugitive I will pardon you", as a figure in convict stripes knelt by his feet.

"He has proved that sin's in vogue, that's his legacy," sang the chorus.

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03 Mar 01 | Americas
'Bushisms' cause national debate
05 Sep 00 | Election news
Why Bushisms matter
12 Feb 01 | Americas
Bush blunders become bestseller
06 Sep 00 | Americas
US networks relish Bush's gaffe
05 Sep 00 | Americas
Bush: No apology for gaffe
15 Dec 00 | Americas
Bush mocked by Cuban media
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