Private Bush, Blair conversation broadcast at G8

Published: Monday July 17, 2006

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Various news agencies are reporting that what US President George W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair thought was a private conversation has accidentally been broadcast at the G8 conference.

The exchange illustrates the close relationship between the two leaders. It also catches Bush, at a time when the FCC is reportedly pouring over tapes of live newscasts for profanity, dropping an angry expletive into an open mic.

The conversation closed when Blair discovered that the mic was on, after the two men had already discussed everything from a gift given by Blair to Bush, to trade deals and the situation in Lebanon.

The off-script moments began with Bush asking the PM casually, "Yo, Blair, how are you doing?"

The two then discussed Bush's willingness to make a statement about trade at G8. "Are you planning to say that here or not?" asked Blair.

"If you want me to," Bush replied. Bush also gave the Prime Minister short instructions to German leader Angela Merkel. "Tell her to call 'em," Bush said. "Tell her to put him on--them on the spot."

The conversation then turned to a gift from the Prime Minister to the President. "It's awfully thoughtful of you," Bush remarked. "It's a pleasure," was Blair's reply, before Bush gushed, "I know you picked it out yourself."

The much-reported expletive came when conversation turned to the situation in Lebanon and Israel. "You see," said the President. "The ironic thing is what they need to do is to get Syria, to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over."

Though it is unclear exactly who they were speaking about, the two had a curious exchange about another diplomat. "He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes the right way--" began Blair.

"Yeah, yeah," observed Bush. "He is sweet."

"He is honey," was Blair's reply.

After moving conversation through the situation involving Syria, Israel and Lebanon, Bush stated, "We are not blaming the Lebanese government."

At that point, Prime Minister Blair noticed something was afoot. "Is this--?" he asked, tapping the open microphone, which was promptly cut.