In today’s Washington Post, Dana Milbank reflects on the re-emergence of that old staple of Campaign 2000, the “Bushism”. And included in his anecdotal sampling (not to be confused with Jacob Weisberg’s voluminous take on this phenomenon over at Slate) was the following rather strikingly non-humorous bit of insensitivity from a campaign event in Florida last week.
From Remarks by the President at “Ask President Bush” Event, Okaloosa-Walton College, Niceville, Florida, August 10, 2004:
But we’ve got some strong allies, staring with the Prime Minister of Iraq, Prime Minister Allawi. They tell me the story of him. He was in London, England. He was in exile from his country because Saddam hated him. He wakes up one night and an ax-wielding group of men tried to hatchet him to death, or ax him to death. I guess, you don’t hatchet somebody with an ax. (Laughter.) And you don’t ax them with a hatchet. (Laughter.) He wakes up, the glint of the blade coming at him, and he gets cut badly, escapes. The guy hit his wife who never recovered, really.
Reading the transcript, it’s unclear whether he kept the crowd of rancorous Republicans “laughing” with some horribly asinine quip about an “axe wound that never healed.” But one can imagine. And we do.