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Pres. Bush declines to slap Misty May-Treanor's bikinied butt

President George W. Bush, who played baseball, coached Little League, owned a big league team and watches the Texas Rangers at every opportunity, can't stay away from the U.S. teams at the Beijing Olympic games.

Today, as the busy crowd over at our Olympics blog notes, after an hour's brisk bit of mountain-biking himself, Bush paid another visit to the American athletes, watching the women warm up for softball, regretting the disappearance of that sport from the next Olympics ("It's good for the world to have girls playing softball and these women are going to show young girls how to win") and trying his hand, so to speak, at volleyball.

Bush knuckled off a couple of lobs, but defending gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh gave the chief executive some pointers. Then after a good play, in the tradition of female volleyballers, May-Treanor turned, bent over slightly and offered her bikinied rear-end for the 43rd president to slap.

"Mr. President," she said, "want to?"

Want to has nothing to do with it in public life.

Pres George W Bush declines Misty May-Treanor's invitation to slap her butt in celebration and brushes her back instead

As the son of a president, a husband of nearly 37 years, the father of two daughters, the subject of some attempted tabloid exposes and a seasoned political veteran, who is not a female athlete but knows that every camera for a half-mile is trained on him, Bush wisely chose instead to brush his hand across the small of May-Treanor's back. (See photo.)


That did, however, lead to a hilarious Reuters photo caption and immediate correction (hat tip to Mike Allen's Saturday Playbook).

Original photo caption: “U.S. President George W. Bush playfully pats the backside of U.S. Women's Beach Volleyball team player Misty May-Treanor (L) at her invitation while visiting the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Grounds at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, August 9, 2008. Team mate Kerri Walsh (R) watches.”

Corrected caption, eight minutes later: “ATTENTION EDITORS - CAPTION CLARIFICATION U.S. President George W. Bush playfully pats the back of U.S. Women's Beach Volleyball team player Misty May-Treanor (L) at her invitation while visiting the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Grounds at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, August 9, 2008. Teammate Kerri Walsh (R) watches.”

That English language can be tricky, can't it? "Back" and "backside" are so similar but seem to have completely different connotations.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press 

Comments () | Archives (56)

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Wow, I would have never guessed that George Bush has a higher moral standard than Bill Clinton. I knew that Bush was evil, but he is not a slimeball.

In other news, John Edwards held a press conference to deny allegations of fathering love children of any visiting female athletes . . .

Greatest. President. Ever.

what was she thinking? well, she did not explicitly ask for a kiss. butt, she did not explicitly invite him to touch her unprotected back either.

I don't get the first comment. You make it sound like it's worse to have a consensual affair than it is to create questionable wars.

I have a suggestion, maybe if we weren't so quick to condemn the behavior that doesn't affect how well a politician does his or her job, maybe they would stand up to the billioinaires that lord their dirty little secrets over them and turn them into their personal hand puppet.

Your joy or anger at politicians personal affairs just weakens their ability to stand up to the George Soro's of the world.

The nice thing about President Bush is apart from being politically savvy, he has treated these athletes as he would his own girls, but smarter. I've watched all the photos of him with them, and you can just see JENNA AND BARBARA'S DADDY stamped on his forehead. He's basically a nice and respectful family man.

Worst. President. Imaginable.

If it was old slick Willy, he would have enthusiastically grabbed her glute... and then would have said, "Oh, I'm sorry, was I not supposed to do that. I mean she asked me to, didn't she? I did nothing wrong."

Jimmy "The Nazi" Carter is, by any objective standard, the worst president of the last 100 years.

What is with these classless women athletes?
It was bad enough we had Amanda Beard posing nude in order to try and teach "values" to the Chinese but most likely losing her voice in the sordid process because the audience was offended.

We have the opportunity to show the rest of the world how we view our President and our nation. We send our young men overseas to fight in our wars and salute our "Commander in Chief " as a show of respect but when it comes to a international stage like the Olympics, a trashy ill mannered girl shows disrespect by offering the President her hindquarters.
Just disgraceful, China must think the American women have a screw loose.
I am embarrassed by the trashy representation.

I just want to point out to some of the idiots that just read the headline and not the story this quote.

"Then after a good play, in the tradition of female volleyballers, May-Treanor turned, bent over slightly and offered her bikinied rear-end for the 43rd president to slap."

its not a US thing its not a moral thing its a womans beach volleyball tradition, Presidents Bush's participation or lack there of in this case said he didnt feel comfortable doing it and thats fine, I on the other hand would have taken that opritunity because yes Misty has a nice butt, although (iI really had to force myself not to say but) thats not the point.

Whether or not this is "tradition" ,cough, cough, cough or not really isn't the point, is it?
As it is of no value or rather lack there of, whether you would have engaged in this "tradition" yourself as a member of the opposite sex. I believe most of these interactions are between members of the same sex and do not carry the overtones that would immediately be implied between members of the same sex.
The slapping of "butts" is also a tradition in football "but" also a behavior not befitting of the decorum due a PRESIDENT who is in full view of the world on a Olympic stage.

And that, sir, IS the point.

"I knew that Bush was evil, but he is not a slimeball."
No, he is a slimeball, but he is more hardcore. Senseless war, torture, environmental destruction, hurting the poor, executions, crooked elections, packing the Supreme Court with lying fundies, that sort of thing. Power trip. None of that consensual stuff.

For Mr. Machi,
Your posts indicate that you, like Hillary, are often confused with regards to reality vs sheer fantasy.

To break down the first post into simpler terms, One president has a soul as black and heartless as a demon's direct from Haydees. The other president is lacking of any moral compass whatsoever.

In short, both suck as leaders of the United states, and we should aspire to elect a person of good character and who is inspirational.

it's just a butt-slap. jeez. Even Laura Bush needs one every now and then. Too bad she doesn't have a man to give it to her.

I wonder what Bill Clinton would have done...

"Bush wisely chose instead to brush his hand across the small of May-Treanor's back. (See photo.)"

Just how is this wise? He still got himself in the picture, it sure looks like he is preparing to pat her on the area presented and it looks like he is enjoying it. Now you think he needs a sycophant like you to make excuses for him. You are just making it worse for him by pointing it out. Just who, besides other Bush apologists, do you think is going to believe you?

Malcolm, you are dumber than a box of rocks.

Funny thing, leftist dummies, the American Athletes WANTED President Bush to hang with them, and, the American public supported their President in his efforts at the games. The ear-to-ear smiles on the American athletes proves that they were happy he came and that they were proud to stand with him in photos as Americans. You left-wing haters of America can't stand that. History will paint GWB as a rather effective President. You Leftists, on the other hand, are irrelevant and ineffective now. Also, I think both May and Walsh have great butts, but I am partial to Walsh's. It's too cute!

I note the hyphenated name of the then by deduction -liberal democrat volleyball player. Nice try at the planned psy-ops , I can just see dastardly and smedly libtard DNC group "Drats! Foiled again! "
BTW- the poor young liberal there experiencing the sordid embarrassment of having been trained by a bunch of crude lowlife beachbums guzzling beer and toking ... kinda feel sorry for her - at least the great and respectable President Bush was kind hearted and let her off the hook with a to the back knuckle knack instead of humiliating her and walking away.
I must say though you libs fogot to teach her how to pose by curving her lower back the other way... she looks rather gross in that position like she might have to go #2.
Gosh it's to bad you libs have made crude public perverts out of Olympic Gold athletes. What a shame, really.

People made too much of a big deal over this. Its a volleyball tradition and nothing big to me. I'm no fan of Bush, but I won't get angry at him over things like this. I'll save my criticism for something more important- foreign relations. Until then, let's just sit back and enjoy the Olympics without the fuss. Im rooting for Walsh/May-Treanor

Damn. I will now begin campaigning for president. Thirteen more years, and I may get it.

I'm for change, sameness and hot volleyball players.

My goodness, perhaps the real athletes should all chime in here. As a VB tour athlete, coach and a working professional I am ashamed at the responses. If you have every played college sports, and I don't mean keg stands, you would know that the rear slap is part of almost any intense, highly competitive environment. I have played volleyball for longer than I care to mention, in college and in tours. The rear slap is a low "pat on the back" to you partner and in essence a ritual part of supporting eachother. Its a bonding type of support that you wouldn't understand unless you have been there. Now would I turn my rear around for a Presidential pat, maybe not, but I am also not an Olympian, I have never met or developed a relationship with Bush and therefore have absolutely no right to judge her. How many choices have you made in a moment that you thought may have been handled better? Turn that mirror around before you judge a determined, driven, hard working, dedicated female Olympian who has dedicated her life to being the best she can be at her sport and a fantastic role model. Support your team USA! That is what the games are about.

I'll bet she would have settled for one of those "terrorist fist jabs"...

Sorry, but the "rear butt slap" is only appropriate while the game is on and you did a good job... And you're either a teammate or the coach..

He should have asked her if she was a liberal. If yes, then she deserved a good spanking and he should have given her one.

Maybe Bush thought it was a "terrorist butt slap" hahahahahahahaha

"Worst. President. Imaginable. "

That is, if you're a Marxist, dictator loving hater of America. That is, your typical Obama supporter.

"No, he is a slimeball, but he is more hardcore. Senseless war, torture, environmental destruction, hurting the poor, executions, crooked elections, packing the Supreme Court with lying fundies, that sort of thing. Power trip. None of that consensual stuff."

A "hardcore" slimeball that was elected twice as President, has freed two countries from dictators, lowered taxes for everyone, kept America safe from Islamic killers for the past 7 years, initiated billions to fight HIV in Africa, nominated immensely qualified persons to the Supreme Court (with almost no opposition from the Democrats in the Senate, not exactly "packing" like your hero FDR managed), initiated reform measures of Immigration and Social Security that no other pols had the guts to even attempt. All the while still retaining a wholesomeness that prevents him from slapping a young girl on the rear which when you contrast it to the last Democrat President screwing a young intern in the White House might actually give you pause. Unless you're a deranged Bush hating wacko. Or an Obama supporter. But then I repeat myself.

Yes. Worst president imaginable. Unless you are a fascist, jingoistic warmonger with a thirst for blood and oil and neck redder than the Chinese flag. A hardcore slimeball that stole the 2000 election with the help of his little brother, who through his father, is in bed with Saudi Arabia (the homeland of Osama bin Laden) and the same idiot who can't string two words together unless Dick Cheney or Karl Rove is pulling the strings behind him. And now he is passing the torch to John McCain, Bob Dole 2.

Thats right President Bush "stole" the election in 2000 and in 2004. You libs are so pathetic. You have to make excuses every time your Marxist America hating agenda gets rejected by the majority of Americans. It's all some vast conspiracy designed to keep your noble ideas from be implemented. And President Bush is evil. Oh and he is stupid. And Dick Cheney is "really" pulling the strings. By the way McCain is actually Bush 3 and not Bob Dole 2. You wackos need to get your clever analogies correct and on the same page.

What a hilarious photo! C'mon, George! Laura isn't watching!

If Kerri Walsh had lost her ring and been unable to find it, at last she could have posted something at

Lets get some facts straight here! This moment was hilarious, I only wish Bush would have taken her up on as I would have, unless I was president of course. Misty has a great butt and mr morals himself was tempted but declined the butt slap! Butt (I had to do that) he IS THE WORST PRESIDENT EVER STILL AND WILL REMAIN SO FOR THE FORSEABLE FUTURE!! The Rush clone above (Liberalsthinkyourstupid.....) is a right wing kook whose job it is to slander ever message board he can find with Fascist Jingoistic simple minded propoganda. He didnt liberate anything except all of our money, future wealth, credibility, and international goodwill. He HAS packed the supreme court and justice department with fascists masquerading as conservatives and did virtually exactly the opposite of everything in your list, quite funny in a bullet in the head kind of way! Karl Rove is looking for like minded people, call him up! People like you missed the boat - the nazis LOST the war, we fought AGAINST them and won, sorry! In moments like this, Bush is funny.....and still the worst president and world leader since your hero Adolph!!

As often as people do make fun of President Bush, I think it was a very rude attempt at a joke by May-Treanor to attempt something like this. Sure it may have been playful, but I think it was a bit over the top. I don't even really like George Bush as a president (I'm neither Democrat or Republican), but I think this sort of behavior was just lame.

May-Treanor not only made herself look bad, she made women look bad and America look bad. Yeah, it's custom to slap butts in sports, but usually it's the same sex, and not the way she was posing with her butt sticking out like that. And definitely not something a President would be doing on national, or rather, international TV coverage.

Nice try May, but that was very low-class and trashy.

These comments are absolutely unbelievable. This was nothing more than a little fun jabbing back-and-forth with the President. It's too bad that the rest of you are so wound tight that you cannot even appreciate the lighter side of life. Get over it. It was nothing more than something to give the rest of us a giggle. Quit making it more than it was. You go girls....bring home the Gold. The other 99.99999% of us love you!

Beach volleyball, um, I mean Porn volleyball, is disgraceful and sexist. They wear bikini's because it's less restrictive? HA. Who do they think they are fooling? If it's less restrictive, then why don't the men wear Speedo's instead of t-shirts and shorts? Give me a break. Misty had no business asking the President of the United States to slap her butt. Shame on her.

i think it had more to do with his wife seeing it than anything else.
i woulda made that cute lil ass clap and then turned and offered my cheek.

dubyafan: you need to try playing competitive volleyball before making judgements. Even college womens teams wear tight shirts and small spandex. It prevents a loose shirt from touching the net when hitting or blocking (which would result in a point for the other team).

The butt hitting is a morale boost and part of team spirit. And in a crazy world, we could all use a little laugh now and then. Calm down, support our USA team and go slap someones ass (it might even make their day)!

Awesome Video and Misty May and Kerri Walsh

What was Bush thinking missing an opurtunity like that. She offerred, and he declined! how sad.

"A "hardcore" slimeball that was elected twice as President, has freed two countries from dictators, lowered taxes for everyone"

So 1.2 million being killed, 3 million losing their homes and turning into peniless refugees in other countries, Christians no longer able to go to church and women required to wear a veil to go outside in some parts of the country is called "freedom" in your mind?

I saw a photo (in a foreign newspaper of course) of two orphan girls walking down a Baghdad street in dirty tattered clothes and tears running down their faces.

That's what we did in Iraq. And for WMD they didn't have.

As far as your "lowered taxes" that would be good if we didn't nearly double the national debt adding over $30,000 per person to it, driving down the value of the dollar, jacking up our diesel costs and hurting our economy.

And don't forget how he forced out the experienced leaders at FEMA by putting a jackass at the top as a political favor.

He's isn't just the worst president ever. No other president even comes close! (except maybe Nixon)

Give me that chance, and i'd slap both their butts!!! i dont care how many cameras there are.

Regardless of the situation, you know he was thinking it while humming to souljaboy

if it would have been me,i would on her but like white on rice!!

It's quite foolish to think that what a leader does in his/her personal time DOESNT affect how he/she will lead. If Clinton had the willingness to lie about about something as horrible as adultery (an offense again his wife with whom he has made a life commitment with), what makes you think he wouldn't lie about other things?

My brother currently is serving his second tour in Iraq and he obviously comes in contact with Iraqis everyday. If he is saying that the situation has changed and that the Iraqis appreciate the US presence, what makes you think you are correct? People do not consider how horrible conditions were in Iraq while Saddam was in power. His sons used to "visit" schools and pick out girls with whom they would have sex with. They purchased gold plated firearms and sports cars while people were starving. There may have been "stability" with them in power, but in no way was it freedom.

When our country first began, we traded convenience for the freedom to govern ourselves how we saw fit. Better to live and die free than to live and die a slave. It took our country many years and many struggles to get to where we are at today. Would you have the courage to live in the early years of our country? Would you have fought against the British to maintain our freedom? The Iraqis were finally able to vote for their own leader. Sure, things were extremely tough in the beginning, but did it help that so many Americans, instead of encouraging our troops to fight on and win, were telling our boys and girls that they were doing a horrible job and that they should cut their losses and leave? You try telling a football team who trains hard to quit midseason because they lost several games, especially when they still have a fighting chance.

Our Democratic leaders have every opportunity to help ensure energy independence, provide full support for our armed forces, and fix problems happening in our country, but they are too busy taking vacations and wasting time with politics that's full of lip service, but without real action. If they criticize, they need to provide solutions. America is sick and tired of politicians playing games and we want people who will do what they say they do and actually stand for the values they believe in.

A politician like Edwards is a perfect example of what a leader should not be. Everyone makes mistakes, but to not own up to them when caught (his repeated adultery) is a worse offense. For someone who claims to stand for the middleclass, he certainly loves to contradict that with his lavish $400+ haircuts and for flying his hairstylist out to the East Coast to get a trim.

Come on. Give us a real leader who is real, through and through.

Oh my gosh... there are so many limp wristed liberals posting nonsense here, I think I'm going to puke. Are you kidding me?!? People like Steve, Vicki, Fairandbalanced, and Scott, are what's ruining this country. You know, in a strange way, I kind of hope the Communist Obama gets elected. That way you will be so busy with your foot in your mouth and trying to back-pedal, that you won't have time to spew anymore idiotic pampas crud.

It sure is funny to read all of these comments from those of you who have no idea what you're talking about. This entire incident was a result of something that happened at a previous meeting at the White House with the President. When he met her, he made a comment about her being the "one with the tattoos." They joked about it a few times that night and it carried over to the Olympics.

When this picture was snapped, she was turned around saying something to him about her TATTOOS! That's why he touched her in the small of her back. IT WASN'T INTENDED TO BE A BUTT SLAP! Get your story straight before spewing derogatory comments about someone you don't even know.

It is sad that people think Bush patting Misty's behind would be evil, but war, economic depression with people losing their houses, record pollution, and 4 dollar a gallon gas is fine and dandy. BTW right-wingers, we have all that and abortion laws are still the same! And now the young are getting killed in Iraq. And he made the biggest budget deficit in years, even surpassing Reagan's terms. Allot of America wanted the average guy as President and they got him!

But let's chill for a minute! What is this, Butt-Gate? Is this worth worrying about? Granted he is a terrible POTUS, and his administration poor, but he has had 8 years of a thankless job- he deserved to pat that cute butt!

And they are wearing an athletic bathing suit, not a string bikini, and I would rather have my daughter's emulate their appearance and competence and health than a skinny runway model who binges and purges.

It was a fun, young, healthy, and liberating gesture by Misty and I feel bad for Bush that he could not loosen up even for that! He is a sad, sad ignorant man and his legacy will be with us for a long time. I am still confused on how people can still support him, but the flat earth society is still going pretty strong too I hear........

I have to say Bush is a bigger person than me when it comes to women. I surely would have taken Misty up on that offer. By the way ... Misty CALL ME!

In all seriousness I think Bush handled that situation well from a political standpoint.

The vitriolic comments about Bush never cease to amaze. George Bush was elected in a very close contest in 2000 after the Supreme Court of the United States intervened. If Kerry had won, it would have been because the Supreme Court of Florida intervened (which in my opinion it had no legitimate power to even do), and would have been no less controversial. Bush was rather easily re-elected, something that simply enraged his partisan foes. Agree or disagree with Bush you may, but the man rose to become President of the United States. He loves this country, he loves its people. You have to be an incredible cynic and blinded-by-rage partisan to not acknowledge that. I won't be voting for Obama, but I would never question his love of country either. I was no fan of Clinton, I didn't vote for him, but I respect him for having served and made the tough choices that came with the job, even those with which I disagreed. You rabid partisans need to step back. These are men who serve us the best that they feel they can. Disagree with polices, with political philosophies, as I most certainly do vis a vis Obama, but respect these men who do serve us.

Regarding court packing. Bush has nominated two Justices, less than 30% of the Court. That is hardly packing. The liberal hero FDR proposed to enlarge the size of the Court, adding his personal nominees until they comprised a majority. That was a sickening, autocratic moment in our history, one that the Senate thankfully rejected. The fact is, the utter capitulation of the Court post-1937 and its arrogation of its rightful power to review and restrict the scope of governmental authority was only corrected fairly recently due to the nomination of Justices freed of the yoke of that post-37 philosophical castration. Obama and his ilk, while not explicitly wanting to eviscerate the role of the Court as FDR did, certainly do seek to nominate candidates who toe the line of the post-37 philosophy that handed government essentially unbridled and unlimited scope of power. Our nation was founded as a constitutional republic, with a cornerstone belief that our Constitution is law, written law with meaning, that established limited government. That those whose sworn oath of office is to protect the Constitution would so happily support the reduction of it to a mere speed-bump to be overcome with asinine utterances of "commerce clause power" and convenient "interpretations" to create a "living document," rather than a chain that firmly binds with the force of law, I find very disturbing, and is one of many reasons Obama could never get my vote.


Slapping her butt wouldn't be an immoral thing. What is immoral is the complete works of the Bush Administration. This is nothing! His administration's total corruption is what we should be concentrating on.

President Bush, what would this world be like if the BLACK OPS secret antigravity & free energy technologies were allowed to grace the world stage.

HMMM! No Iraq war! No global warming! No home heating or vehicle transportation problems.

How could we tolerate such a peaceful world?

A friend of John Titor

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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