With a portrait of the late Yasser Arafat hanging over his head, President Bush speaks to reporters Thursday after meeting PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. (Credit: Dion Nissenbaum)
You can often count on something going wrong whenever you have to deal with Palestinian Authority events, though you'd think they'd get all the kinks worked out when the Leader of The Free World is coming to town for the first time.
When Bush strode on stage today in Ramallah, where he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the de-facto Palestinian White House, he discovered that his earpiece wasn't working.
Bush grimaced and frowned as PA President Mahmoud Abbas, a.k.a. Abu Mazen, launched into his opening statement - in Arabic - which could be heard translated into English in headsets being used by reporters in the hall.
The president gestured a few times until his staff realized that something was awry.
"I ain't got it yet," Bush said as Abu Mazen stopped speaking and an aide got on stage to fix the problem - which looked like it might have been an unplugged cord.
(As an interesting side note, "I ain't got it yet" was changed to "I haven't got it yet" in the official White House transcript...)
When it came time for Bush to speak, it appeared that Abu Mazen's earpiece also wasn't working.
"Is it working?" Bush asked as another aide came on stage to fix Abu Mazen's earpiece.
Abu Mazen, who understands English fairly well, gestured for Bush to go on speaking even though he couldn't hear the Arabic translation, but Bush opted to wait.
"Listen," Bush cracked, "they say I have enough problems speaking English as it is."