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Bush addresses the Italian prime minister in Spanish: ‘Amigo! Amigo!’

By Matt Corley  

"Bush addresses the Italian prime minister in Spanish: ‘Amigo! Amigo!’"

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bushberlusconi.jpgAt the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia two years ago, President Bush was caught in a candid moment on an open microphone, complaining that some of his fellow world leaders “talk too long.” Though the G8 summit was in Japan this year, the open microphones during lunch were still there. As the New York Times’s Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports, Bush had a bit of a language mishap when speaking to “one of his best buddies in Europe,” Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi:

“Amigo! Amigo!” Mr. Bush called out cheerily in Spanish when he spotted the Italian prime minister. “How you doing, Silvio? Good to see you!” Later, the president wondered about his former Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin. “Did Putin come to see you since I saw you?” he asked Mr. Berlusconi. (He had not.)

While speaking to Berlusconi, Bush also commented on the Italian premier’s recent ethical issues. “I read the courts are after you again,” said Bush. “It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it. Constantly after you.”

Update

Earlier this week, the White House was forced to apologize after circulating a “less-than-flattering” biography of Berlusconi that described him as one of the “most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice.”

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