Foreign affairs screw-up of the day

It's the Gore campaign's turn to look dumb.

By Anthony York
Published August 25, 2000 7:47PM (EDT)

From the "pot calling the kettle black" department:

The press release wars between the George W. Bush and Al Gore campaigns are petty but sometimes funny. The Bush folks like to riff on Gore's "adventures with the truth" -- translation: Gore's a liar -- while the Gore campaign hypes Bush's misadventures with the English language and the stumbles he's made along the campaign trail to send the message that Bush is dumb.

Friday, responding to a Bush press release about the Texas governor's foreign policy priorities, the Democratic National Committee's Rick Hess sent out a release titled "Bush Lite." The e-mail rattled off Bush's misstatements about other countries -- calling Kosovars "Kosovarians," his confusion of Slovenia and Slovakia, and his failing the infamous pop quiz sprung on him by a television reporter last year.

Hess's release was prefaced with this seemingly innocuous introduction: "George W. Bush is talking foreign policy today and meeting with Vicente Fox, the incoming Prime Minister of Mexico."

One small problem -- Fox is the incoming president of Mexico, not prime minister. When asked about the miscue, Hess said he was so busy checking the spelling of Fox's first name that he didn't bother to check the title. After realizing his error, an embarrassed Hess offered a feeble response. "Good thing I don't have a reputation for this kind of thing."

The Bush campaign got a good laugh out of the release. "This comes a day after Gore, himself, actually met with Fox," noted Bush press secretary Mindy Tucker. "Of course, we're used to seeing this kind of hypocrisy out of the Gore campaign. It's a typical example of why they have a credibility problem with the American people."

Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

MORE FROM Anthony York

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Al Gore George W. Bush