O Canada: Bush Wins over Prime Minister Poutine
As part of his effort to earn "ridiculous" amounts of money and "replenish the ol' coffers," George W. Bush Tuesday headed to Calgary for his first post-presidential speech. But while lawyers and shoe throwers gathered to protest the man many north of the border now view as a war criminal, most Americans have largely forgotten that in 2000 candidate Bush scored what he thought was one his first major endorsements from fictitious Canadian Prime Minister Jean Poutine.
During the 2000 campaign, then Governor Bush struggled mightily when it came to international affairs. In November 1999, Bush was stumped by a BBC's reporter's requests for him to name major world leaders (including, ironically, future terror war ally General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan). Just four months later in March 2000, Bush was delighted to learn from another reporter that he had received the ringing endorsement of the Prime Minister of Canada:
"Prime Minister Jean Poutine said he wouldn't endorse any candidate in this election, now he says he believes George W. Bush is the man to lead the free world into the 21st century."
Bush warmly accepted Poutine's backing:
"He understands I want to make sure our relationship with our most important neighbour to the north of us is strong and we'll work closely together."
There were a few problems, of course. For openers, the prime minister of Canada at the time was Jean Chretien, not Jean Poutine. "Poutine" is a popular regional food of Quebec, a dish of french fries, gravy and cheese curds. Bush, simply too ignorant regarding America's neighbor to the north, fell hook, line and sinker for a prank by This Hour Has 22 Minutes star Rick Mercer.
Sadly, Bush's ignorance proved no barrier to his election by the American people. And as it turns out, George W. Bush wasn't the last Republican politician to be duped by Canadian pranksters. Just before the November election, the Masked Avengers of Quebec station CKOI fooled Governor Sarah Palin during a jaw-dropping five minute conversation with a man she took to be French President Nicola Sarkozy.
Hopefully, Palin won't follow Bush all the way to the White House.