- Why man, he doth bestride the narrow world
- Like a Colossus, and we petty men
- Walk under his huge legs and peep about
- To find ourselves dishonorable graves
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Even for someone as gaffe-prone as U.S. President George W. Bush, he was in rare form on Friday, confusing APEC with OPEC and transforming Australian troops into Austrians.
Bush’s tongue started slipping almost as soon as he started talking at a business forum on the eve of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney.
“Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your introduction,” he told Prime Minister John Howard. “Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit.”
As the audience of several hundred people erupted in laughter, Bush corrected himself and joked, “He invited me to the OPEC summit next year.” Australia has never been a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Later in his speech, Bush recounted how Howard had gone to visit “Austrian troops” last year in Iraq.
There are, in fact, no Austrian troops there. But Australia has about 1,500 Australians military personnel in and around the country.
Upon finishing his speech, Bush took the wrong way off-stage and, looking slightly perplexed, had to be re-directed by Howard to a center-stage exit.