Thursday, September 27, 2007

White House Fury Over Bush 'Phonetics' Speech Leak

It sure seems like it's open slaughter now in the American media now when it comes to President Bush. No gaffe, no revelation is too small or petty not to become headline hogging fodder.

Witness one of the biggest Bush stories today in the American media : the news that President Bush is given phonetic pronounciation hints and tips in his speeches, particularly when it comes to correctly pronouncing the names of country's that the average American has never heard of, let alone tried to pronounce.

From USA Today :

Apparently, a marked-up draft of the president's speech popped up on the U.N.'s website as President Bush delivered his remarks this morning before the General Assembly...

Blake Hounshell at Foreign Policy revealed the phonetic guides for Bush's UN speech :

• Kyrgyzstan [KEYR-geez-stan]
• Mauritania [moor-EH-tain-ee-a]
• Harare [hah-RAR-ray]
• Mugabe [moo-GAH-bee]
• Sarkozy [sar-KO-zee]
• Caracas [kah-RAH-kus]

White House Press Secretary Perino was, to put it mildly, pissed off, that reporters kept raising questions about Bush & Phonetics :

PERINO: On the speech -- your question about the speech, the drafts are circulated, and there was an error made in trying to make sure that interpreters had what they needed. I don't know how the draft of the speech -- it was not final -- was posted, but it was, and it was taken down. There's really nothing more to say about it.

REPORTER: And they were phonetic spellings of various countries -- as well, we understand.

PERINO: That's not unusual. We do that for many speeches.

REPORTER: Does the president have a hard time pronouncing some of these countries's [sic] name?

PERINO: I think that's a offensive question. I'm going to just decline to comment on it.
Good to see reporters are focusing on the real issues. It's not like there's anything more important than Bush speech notes to discuss, or to get comment from the White House on. Is there?