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

August 9, 2008 |  5:44 pm

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.)

Darn!

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 

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