POTUS Needs to Potty

POTUS needs to potty

Ok, all joking aside (and this is funny)…

Why does president Bush have to ask for permission to take a bathroom break?

Update: From a MeFi comment:

I don’t think anyone anticipated the levees breaking.

SHENANIGANS!!! Retracted, read on: On closer analysis, I call bullshit on the Reuters caption. I have a huge problem with this: Handwriting changes after question mark, this was likely passed from Condi (she is mentioned, so that’s the most logical) someone to Bush and he was replying (style seems to switch, one is hard capitals and moves to lazy cursive).

I have a feeling somebody’s gonna dig up the CSPAN video or whatever and nail Reuters to the wall (showing Bush never started a note pass or other such nonsense, I’m sure someone’s on that road already).

Don’t forget there’s other samples of Bush’s handwriting availiable in photo format (this is called evidence, natch): Let freedom reign, handwriting GIS.

How the caption should probably read:

U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to replies to a note from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice whoever

Again over at MeFi: kokogiak points out that neither looks like Rice’s handwriting either. Someone at Reuters may have either gotten punked by a photog or is just making up captions.

Update (9/15): I’m trying to get confirmation from Reuters on who provided the caption, was it edited, etc. Here’s an email I sent to Stephen Naru, the media contact who was mentioned in this Editor & Publisher article:

I am doing some investigating into the notorious Bush bathroom note and I was wondering if you could tell me who provided the caption. Was it printed verbatim as it was received from Wilking or was it edited by someone at Reuters before being sent across the wires?

Is there a way to get ahold of Wilking? I’d like to ask him to confirm some details if that’s a possibility.

Another Update: Snopes is on the case as well. It seems the truth is still getting its boots on.

Update (9/15 evening): Photo District News got a chance to talk to Rick Wilking and Reuters photo editor Gary Hershorn about the photograph. Based on the interview, it would appear that Bush actually did write the note:

The caption says that Bush was writing the note to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice; Hershorn says Wilking saw Bush write the note and hand the note to Rice.

Hershorn says heads of state seldom attend Security Council meetings, and it’s possible that Bush was simply asking his secretary of state what the proper protocol was to be excused.

I’d like to know whether Wilking saw him write the entire note (I’ll drop my shenanigans charge if he did), but I have a feeling there’s not going to be any more to this story.

MEA CULPA!!!: I retract my shenanigans call. Editor & Publisher follows up (via Wonkette):

The fact is, according to Reuters — and this has not been widely reported — President Bush did indeed take a bathroom break after passing the note to Rice.

This apparently raised some eyebrows around the room, because American representatives (among others) have a reputation for suddenly bolting, though normally for a far different reason than this latest one. Fair or not, the European press has already had a field day with the photo, often centering on the notion that Bush had to ask Rice for permission.

[…]”Rick had no idea what he was shooting, or what Bush was writing,” Hershorn said. “If Rick knew what he was writing we’d have 25 pictures of this, not two.”

[…]Gary Hershorn, news editor-photos for the Americas at Reuters, told E&P today that the photographer, Rick Wilking, informed him yesterday afternoon that he had observed Bush pass the note to Rice, and a little later, rise from his seat, leave the room, and then return.

Ok, everyone, you can go back to making jokes about the presidential poo now (I can’t wait to see The Daily Show on this tonight).

14 Comments
  1. Ooooh. You tell them. But ignore the fact that the caption doesn’t make fun of Bush. It just says he’s writing a note. Which he’s doing. You can’t dispute that. It’s the Truth.

  2. What’s odd to me, is that lines 1-4 appear as one sentance, yet the style goes from a normal style to an ALL CAPS style on lines 2-3, and then returns to all lowercase on line 4. If the CAPS for emphasis is to hold, why would the person writing it now capitalize the world “break”?

    The apparent answer of lines 5-6 appears to me as the same weight and capitalization style of lines 1 and 4. However, the capital letter “I” in lines 1 versus 5 is different (block versus cursive). Though, it could be argued that the cursive form was used to link with the “s”.

    Not that this is keeping me up at night, but something certainly seems fishy about this. It’s way too neat to be dismissed as a photoshop job, but it certainly doesn’t look like a natural change of handwriting style. Perhaps they are just fucking with us? :)

  3. Rick, I doubt it’s a photoshop job, and I’m not questioning photographer Rick Wilking (for all I know it was a miscommunication between him and the caption editor). That’s why I asked Reuters for clarification. I called Stephen Naru and was hung up on once I began asking questions of the accuracy of the caption (yes I was polite). My email to Naru also remains unanswered at this time (I’ll give it a day).

    If they would clarify the caption, this wouldn’t be such a flap, but I have a gut feeling they are gonna be silent to any questions.

  4. Stephen,

    Not disagreeing with ya there about photoshop. I just think the style changes look quite odd considering they don’t match up with the sentence structure.

    True or not, it certainly is still funny. However, if the dems are going to forever cite this for cheap laughs at Bush, the might want to make sure this is legit. Besides, they dems certainly have enough comedic fodder on Bush to make fun of him well passed the end of his presidency.

    So should we start calling this “bathroom-break gate”. The UN scandal of the year!

  5. on the other hand, “potty gate” rolls of the tongue a little easier. I’m just waiting for someone to use this substitute phrase with new lyrics in the “Patty Cake” song… further infuriating those that have their hopes high that this is legit.

  6. The Man — You do realize it’s possible for the U.N. and our President to both suck at the same time, right?

  7. Maybe the US delegation is supplied with those funny notpads that are pre-printed with ‘I think I MAY NEED A BATHroom break?’. Those were very popular at in diplomatic circles. Clearly, Mr. Bush is writing a note about substantive UN issues on such a pre-printed notepad.

  8. I think the writing before and after the question mark is by the same person. Look at the “th” in the word think and the “th” in the word this (I think after the question mark it says “is this possi… [possible]”

    Compare that the “th” in the first line of this image
    http://www.toughcases.net/handwriting%20samples/georgebush1.gif

    Nevertheless, this whole thing is stupid. Are we not to expect the president to ever need to urinate?

  9. Everybody poops!

    It’s good for a laugh, not matter what side of the fence you are on. I can only shake my head at those who feel the need to turn it into a bash-bush opportunity, though. Some of the people leaving comments need to get a life.

    Note also that “bathroom break” could be a catch-all phrase for the admin team to use when they want to request a break and not attract attention.

    Writing “there’s a nuclear war starting” might raise a few eyebrows, for example.