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Friday, 7 September, 2001, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Doonesbury creator falls for hoax
US President George Bush
President Bush often mixes his words up
By the BBC's Jonny Dymond in Washington

The creator of Doonesbury, one of the most popular political cartoon strips in the United States, has apologised to his readers for falling for a hoax report about President Bush.

The report, from a fictional research institute, suggested that the president was the stupidest man to hold the post in 50 years.


The creator deeply apologises for unsettling anyone who was under the impression that the president is, in fact, quite intelligent

Doonesbury web site
Garry Trudeau, the cartoon's author, said the lapse was deeply regrettable.

No politician or institution is safe from Trudeau's vicious satire. His cartoons have for decades mocked and ridiculed presidents, political candidates, the media, lawyers and lobbyists.

The current president is represented in his cartoons literally as an airhead - a cowboy hat with nothing beneath. So when a study from the "Lovenstein Institute" proclaimed President Bush to have the lowest IQ of any president in 50 years, it was a gift for Trudeau.

Bushism

He showed President Bush reacting with incredulity to the news - surely, asked the president, it could not be "possibilistic" - a dig at President Bush's frequent mispronunciation of commonplace words.

Newspapers around the world picked up the story.

All have now apologised - because the research never took place and the Lovenstein Institute does not exist.

Garry Trudeau
Trudeau delights in questioning Bush's intelligence
Trudeau's regrets came with a trademark barb - he said he deeply apologised for unsettling anyone who thought the president quite intelligent.

Political foul play is suspected to be behind the hoax. Democratic presidents are given high or exceptionally high IQs - almost all Republicans are purported to be mediocre or poor.

But Trudeau is clearly unembarrassed by his mistake - as he writes on his website, his mistake was to use fictional material from an outside source, instead of simply making it up, as he usually does.

See also:

12 Feb 01 | Americas
Bush blunders become bestseller
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