President Bush Strikes From Behind

At the G-8 summit, President Bush grabs German Chancellor Angela Merkel from behind and gives her a quick massage before rushing off. Chancellor Merkel is not amused.

While the Middle East burns, our fearless leader is busy with his frat boy pranks. Click here for the video. (A major hat tip to my German friend.)

UPDATED VIDEO AND COVERAGE: CNN has posted a longer, and clearer, video here. (The story is here). In the video, President Bush appears to suddenly speed up, veer right, and go in for the blitz-massage. ABC News also has a story on the incident here. Various local ABC and NBC TV affiliates are also carrying the story. Countdown with Keith Olbermann covers the story on tonight’s show (7/21/2006).


Bush on the move


Moving in fast...

Scaring the crap out of Angela Merkel...


Merkel is repulsed...

Bush makes his getaway


UPDATE: The LA Times reports on the incident in this article. But according to the LA Times, Chancellor Merkel "smiled". I don’t know about you, but it does not look to me like she is smiling. (Hat tip to NegSpin from Daily Kos for providing the LA Times link in a comment from my cross post there.)

UPDATE II: Watch Jon Stewart comment on the Blitz-Massage on YouTube or watch it on my post here.

UPDATE III: Will Femia of MSNBC’s Clicked has picked up on this story. He has analyzed the video and concluded that it was tantamount to a harmless hair tussle (you know, the kind girlfriends give each other! sheesh!):

I clicked a few links worked up about the President groping or feeling up the German chancellor.  The still photo does give that impression, but watching the clip on Crooks and Liars, I don’t think I agree.  It looks more like he gives her the equivalent of a hair tussle as he walks by.  Her reaction doesn’t look like she’s being violated so much as making a somewhat awkward gesture to get him back.

But he can be forgiven for the hair tussle analysis. He does such stellar work when discussing important conflicts in the world too. Check out this bit of informed journalism from the same post:

Speaking of military equipment, "To  appreciate the thorny, complex, multi-layered difficulties Israel confronts –from house to house battles to the highest levels of international diplomacy– one needs to understand the rather simple Katyusha rocket Hezbollah shoots at Haifa and other Israeli cities."  It’s so weird that with each armed conflict we learn about new missiles.  Remember the scud? [Emphasis added by me.]

I haven’t the heart to remind the hair tussle genius that Katyusha rockets have been around since World War II and Hezbollah’s been using them for a long long time. Katyushas may of course be new to Will but I think the rest of the world probably is a little better informed. Weird indeed! Sometimes facts never get in the way of the story.

 UPDATE IV: The Blitz-Massage is creeping into mainstream media like a virus. MSNBC covers the power of YouTube in spreading the video. As usual, the blogs get cursory mention. My recollection is that this story was and is being driven by the blogs.  I should know – the hits that nearly took my blog down came from the high traffic blogs who really gave the story life. Almost every blog I know is linking to Crooks & Liars for the video, if not the original Bild video.

The article does contain an interesting quote from Professor Larry Sabato:

Larry Sabato, professor of politics at the University of Virginia, agrees that today, public figures have to be more careful in “a thousand ways.” But he maintains sites like YouTube can be revealing.

“If they’re not doing something that’s embarrassing, they have nothing to worry about,” he says. “A president ought to know enough not use an expletive in a fairly open meeting, and almost any male alive today knows that you don’t offer uninvited massages to any female, much less the chancellor of Germany.”

I think I will have to agree with Professor Sabato on this one.

It’s interesting that, much like the Stephen Colbert WH Correspondence Dinner story, this story is being covered by the MSM not directly but rather as a story on the reaction of the blogs, YouTube, etc. to a Presidential embarrassment. I think this is what they call plausible deniability.

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97 Responses to President Bush Strikes From Behind

  1. Sara says:

    Do you people have anything else better to do with your time then talk about the president. He is the only reason this country has any morals. If people lie you were to take over this country would fall apart!

  2. Matt says:

    It’s a FRICKING neck rub!!! Nothing intimate that required a “private” session. Good grief if the Chancellor was male everyone would be saying Bush is gay! FIND SOMETHING REAL TO WORRY ABOUT. This is even more stupid that the Clinton oral office event!

  3. Matt says:

    To MASH

    After reading all the comments I had to post one specifically to you. There have been more and more events of documented WMD devices being found in the area of the war. Just last month we learned, from both sides of the media , that at least 500 canisters of nerve gas have been found. Each canister could easily take out an entire town.

    GW is a man, a human man, and just like Clinton, he is going to make stupid mistakes. ALL of us do. This may have been a POLICTIAL mistake, but it was not a human one.

  4. Mash says:

    hmm…very strong opinions here defending the neck rub.

    Sara, that’s a rather broad statement. President Bush is the only reason this country has morals? What about all the moral people that live in this country? If it wasnt for Mr. Bush, they would go astray? Wow, that’s quite a statement.

    I see that some people see a “neck rub” while others don’t see anything at all. For those who think there is nothing inappropriate about it, feel free to put your words into action at your work place. Better yet, tell your HR department you intend to rub your co-worker’s necks and get them to tell you there is nothing wrong with it. Feel free to come back here and tell us how it went and whether you are still employed. Would love to hear back from you. :d

    Is it just me or is it wholly inappropriate for a world leader to massage the neck of another world leader at the G-8 summit in the middle of a meeting with another world leader?

    (now excuse me while I scratch myself)

  5. Mash says:

    Matt says:

    “Just last month we learned, from both sides of the media , that at least 500 canisters of nerve gas have been found. Each canister could easily take out an entire town.”

    Um? I have read the report that you are referring to. Feel free to read my post on the topic here. If you are drawing wild conclusions like “each canister could easily take out an entire town” you are fantasizing. Allow me to quote from the US government report on the matter:

    any remaining chemical munitions in Iraq do not pose a militarily significant threat to Coalition Forces because the agent and munitions are degraded and there are not enough extant weapons to cause mass casualties.

    Would you care to retract your patently false statement?

    Deal in facts, not wild speculation about WMD. I know there are some who still WANT to believe it. If the truth wont convince you, nothing will.

  6. thedude says:

    that dude sucks

  7. Metatechnocrat says:

    to sara and The Truth , Lazarus, and all other Republitards who’ve obviously swallowed the cool-Aid, your all clearly suffering from the cult of personality disorder that afflicted the Germans during WWII. This type of crap from “Our Fearless Leader” just demonstrates what a zoned out addict he is. No-one believes your pathetic excuses for his stupidity and inappropriatness. He’s a disgrace as a world leader, an enemy of democracy, and anyone who voted for him even once let alone twice should be branded a traitor to this great country. Us “Lefties”, liberal democrats, and other ” undesirables” will no longer tolerate you proto-fascist neocons running this country into the ground. We will fight you all and we will crush you all!

  8. Tim says:

    He had a great desire, but the sanctions and inspections had gutted the programs that the 1st war didn’t destroy. True, he had some limited success with long range delivery systems and attempted to retain the trained talent required to restart programs, but the CIA report essentially says that they found no smoking guns – they may still, but as of the 2004 report the WMD were no to be found.

    I am certain that if solid evidence of WMD existed / was to surface that W, Dick, and Karl would go to great lengths to inform the American electorate! It would certainly get wider circulation than a few urban myths floating around the Internet.

    LINK (NOTE: edited by Mash to fix formatting)

    (Who can you trust if not the CIA?)

  9. Laughter says:

    C’mon already….it cracks me up people are making such a BIG deal out of this….

    i am by no means a bush fan and i did NOT vote for him….i think he’s an idiot and should be a good ole boy on a cattle ranch somewhere NOT running our country….and i think he’s all but ruined US credibility with global leaders….

    but the fact he said the “S” word and what they are calling an “impromtu massage” cracks me up!! first of all it was NOT a massage!! people are WAY too uptight…he was obviously squeezed her shoulders and stopped a moment as he was passing by but this hardly constitutes a massage!!!

    lets try and remember for a moment that regardless of the fact that they are world leaders, they are still human – not gods- with human interactions and human quirks of personality….

    it is obvious from the tape that as he was passing by, he stopped, said hi and squeezed her shoulders…this would implicate he is at a certain comfort level with her to be sure…but how anyone can interpret it as a massage is comedic to be sure…and if you look at the Chancellor, she is obviously smiling and not offended…and raises her hands as she jokes back with him…i’ve seen this in plenty of business meetings in big corporations before and no one started crying “unwarranted massage! help!” …when it comes down to it, they ARE in fact people hanging out waiting for a business meeting to start…

    give me a break…this is another case of political correctness gone wrong and the media is just looking to poke fun at bush they’ll find ANYTHING….trust me, Bush gives us PLENTY of reasons to question his sobriety and credibility…do we really need to focus on silly, inconsequential things such as this??

    i’m still rolling off the chair in laughter….a massage? come on!!

    they ARE after all, sitting around waiting for a business meeting to start…

  10. jol says:

    The Truth … you still believe Iraq had WMDs. You are even more stupid than Bush. Say no more.

  11. jol says:

    The Truth … If you think the word “damn” is outrages, wait till you hear the word “asshole”. You are one childish naive brat.

  12. Steve says:

    Come on, folks! It was obviously the sexy way she was dressed that caused the problem. He obviously was so taken by her that he couldn’t keep his hands off of her. Is that HIS fault! Earlier in the video, the Italian PM is obviously set off by her, too, because his arms are flailing when he was looking and talking directly at her. Maybe it’s her hair? Even Putin looked amused and maybe a little sorry he hadn’t gotten in on the fun. As for the assumption that a U.S. President needs an unsauced brain, haven’t we all learned the truthiness of the Wizard of Oz by now?

  13. Tim says:

    912 days… It is not a liberal nor conservative issue, but rather the thoughtful vs the faithful.

    “There will be no legacy for Mr. Bush. I don’t believe his successor would re-enunciate the words he used in his second inaugural address because they were too ambitious. …  So therefore I think his legacy is indecipherable”

    Buckley: Bush Not A True Conservative In Exclusive Interview, Buckley Criticizes President For Interventionist Policies

    Stamford, Conn., July 22, 2006

    LINK (NOTE: Edited by Mash to fix formatting)

  14. Bengali Fob says:

    I just wanted to say that I read every single comment and although most of them were quite funny, none of them managed to make me laugh like I did when I read this:

    Metatechnocrat Says:
    July 22nd, 2006 at 12:47 am
    to sara and The Truth , Lazarus, and all other Republitards who’ve obviously swallowed the cool-Aid, your all clearly suffering from the cult of personality disorder that afflicted the Germans during WWII. This type of crap from “Our Fearless Leader” just demonstrates what a zoned out addict he is. No-one believes your pathetic excuses for his stupidity and inappropriatness. He’s a disgrace as a world leader, an enemy of democracy, and anyone who voted for him even once let alone twice should be branded a traitor to this great country. Us “Lefties”, liberal democrats, and other ” undesirables” will no longer tolerate you proto-fascist neocons running this country into the ground. We will fight you all and we will crush you all!

    LMAO!!! The voted for him twice part was just priceless! Congrats on making the Bengali Fob laugh like that! =))

  15. Sam says:

    :((That way we’ll be 100% sure that all the world hates America with such a disgusting baby-president. :((

  16. braille says:

    Not that massaging Ms. Angela is proper, but imagine if Bush did it on Blair or Putin. It would not like nice, would it?

  17. Pingback: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying » Restoring Honor And Dignity To The White House

  18. Tim says:

    You mean that the commentators at FOX (Frustrated Old Xenophobes) News Network are trying to tell us the W has Bill’s morals? LOL… 8+ years of hunting and they drew less blood than the VP hunting Quail (now if Danny boy were to volunteer, then we might have a sporting event). I anticipate that when history finally reviews this administration there will be many who have much to answer for…

  19. Mash says:

    I think these guys have a secret crush on Bill Clinton. Its about time they confessed to their man-crush. I am sure we in the left would be quite understanding.

    Come on you wingnuts, follow the rainbow…you know you want to. :d

  20. Jake says:

    This isn’t about left or right, up or down.

    This is about the President of the United States acting in a highly unprofessional manner while in a professional setting, and making his nation look bad in the process. He is an embarrassment, and one I can’t wait to see out of the Presidency, never to return.

  21. k2r says:

    As a German I perceived this action as highly inappropriate.
    And from the pictures of her facial expressions I (German) conclude that Angela Merkel (German) did so, too.

    Since I know quite a lot about German culture I’d guess that my interpretation is at least of /some/ significance, compared to quite a lot of opinions of people who have absolutely no clue about German culture and behaviour.

    GWB and Angela Merkel meeting naked in the sauna would have been more appropriate over here than this.

    And please bear in mind that the view on the relationship Merkel – Bush we have in Germany is more like this:, picture from carnival in Cologne

    Now imagine how strange it seems if gods own chimp starts messaging your countries chancellors neck, which in this way is not a guesture of friendship but more a guesture of dominance.


  22. k2r says:

    … Angela Merkel ate my link because I didn\’t vote for her in the last elections.

    I tried to link to this picture:

    Click for image

    [Edited by Mash to fix formatting]

  23. Bart S. says:

    Some of you are Republican haters and that seems pathetic that you cant accept some people have different ideas. But its not like Bush got a blow job in the oval office lord knows that was apropriate. Good work guys catching Bush starting wars with a back massage. Where would we be without you?

  24. joy says:

    Getting blow jobs in the Oval Office isn’t appropriate. Neither is molesting other heads of state. Clinton did what he did consentually. It’s clear from Merkel’s body language that she feels surprised and harrassed by George W. If Bush did the same to me I’d sock him one. As a woman I would find that sort of public molestation repulsive and demeaning. As an American I find it embarrassing. To everyone: I’m sorry that we have enough idiots in the U.S. to elect such an arrogant, rude, moronic and tyrannical President(twice).

  25. Tim says:

    Little things can have a big impact upon perception. I shall assume for a few moments that all actions are benign and exactly what they appear to be. Still some behaviors would be inappropriate in some circumstances. If you do not agree, then:

    1) Give your HR officer a quick squeeze of the shoulders

    2) Show up at your HR office reeking of the night before and in yesterday’s clothes

    3) Fart in your HR office and the brag about eating beans – belching is extra points

    4) Comment upon the physical attributes of your HR officer

    5) Show up for your next job interview wearing a torn tee shirt, jeans, and bare foot

    6) Ask for a shooter to chase the wine at your next communion

    7) Fail to stop for a police officer and/or quickly move your hands after stopping

    8) Asking your mom to pass the f**king potatoes next Sunday afternoon

    9) Ask your dad to see any videos that he and mom made during your conception

    10) Serve Smithfield ham at the next summit seeking peace in the Middle East.

    I am not saying that Mr. Bush groped the Chancellor, just that he failed to consider his responsibilities as President and permitted a personal reflex (I’ll assume benign, but ill considered) to overcome the social requirements of the political setting (much like eating with your mouth open in front of anybody).

    This is not morals; it is self restraint to avoid self-injury and embarrassing your supporters and those whom you represent in the world. It is good judgment!

  26. Mash says:

    I’m with Tim. :)>-

  27. Group Captain Mandrake says:

    How great is it that the right’s favorite defense of Bush’s many gaffes is “well Bill Clinton did something very similar!” MOST of us learned by 2nd grade that “well, Billy was doing it TOO!!!” is not a defense…in fact, that is usually translated by the teacher as “I am a whiny, weasel-like brat who tattles on others to make myself look better.”

    In short, get a new president or a new catchphrase. Clinton has been out of office for 6 years and counting. A VERY VERY LONG six years at that.

    And oh yeah, ancient, rusty and empty (from leaking) canisters of mustard gas are what passes for WMDs now? Get a grip on something other than straws.

  28. Bart S. says:

    I am sorry if I confused you as I did not intend Mr. Bill as an excuse but as a comparison that when some complained about Bills indiscretion it was met with its ok and not a problem but any little thing Bush dose is a major travesty, Personally In (And I will admit) My limited knowledge of either situation neither has acted in the best manor.

  29. Lazarus says:

    It’s funny, no matter what Bush does, it all ends up turning into an argument over what was done in Iraq.

    You know, what you liberal cool-aid drinkers never seem to get is, BUSH WAS RELYING ON INTELLIGENCE THAT SAID THAT SADDAM HAD WMD. Do none of you remember KERRY AND CLINTON SAYING THE SAME THING? Everyone thought he had weapons. Authorization to use force in Iraq was approved by 77 senators, including John Kerry and Billary! You like to keep pointing out that we didn’t find any weapons. Ok, fine, so where did they go? He definately had them, and he definately defied weapons inspectors and thumbed his nose at multiple UN resolutions. I am glad we have a president that puts the security of this country ahead of his own popularity. You libs should as well.

  30. Group Captain Mandrake says:

    Yes, Lazarus, and some libs (including Lieberman) continue to swallow the Kool-Aid that GEORGE AND DICK MADE. Even the “go along to get along” Brits saw that “the intelligence was being fixed around the policy.” In short, you’re taking libs to account for BELIEVING A LIAR. Not a great defense for the Administration there! The president sees a LOT more in-depth intelligence information than ANYONE else outside the NSA/CIA, and many people made the mistake of giving Bush the benefit of the doubt. A mistake they certainly won’t make again! 😕

    It’s one thing to believe a lie in the absence of facts to support it; those who continue to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary are either 1) insane or 2) tragically dumb.

  31. Tim says:

    I agree WMD in Iraq are off topic; so do a Google search for the CIA’s report on WMD in Iraq and read it. As the official government analysis, it is as close to reality as we will ever get on this topic. I predict, however, that like many such studies in the past that there will always be those who claim some sort of cover up for political reasons.

    The bottom line for those whom won’t do the research:
    Do not wait with baited breath for the WMD. Diplomacy, containment, sanctions, and time destroyed what little the 1st Gulf war did not touch.

    Finally, I question the assumption that the current administration has made the US more secure or the world a safer place (You can never prove we have selected the optimal path at each decision point – in this case perhaps if the 2nd Regan administration had not abandoned the Mujahideen insurgents when the Soviets pulled out, who knows?). Something a well considered and multi-faceted foreign policy and continuous efforts at alliance strengthening can do for us.

  32. Cindy D. says:

    There is to much here to reply to. Do you people acually watch the news or read papers. There were weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq a long time ago. Hence the United Nations Inspectors. Our President is fighting for freedom for our country, and to liberate other countries, but no one wants to give this man credit. Get off his back, he did nothing wrong. Angela Merkel of Germany was surprised by President Bushs two second message, but when she realized who it was she smiled. People are making it out to be more than it was. This is the President of Our United States, he is working for all of us regardless of your political view. We are all human. I can’t even imagine how this man or any other president, imperor, prime minister, or whatever sleeps soundly at night, knowing that their whole country, nation, is totally in their hands. I’m sure these people being presidents and such have their moments when they cut loose with all out profantity. Could you do what they do?. Are you so egotisical to think that you are so much more superior that you could do such a better job than what these people are trying to do. If so why are you not running this country or any other country for that matter?

  33. Group Captain Mandrake says:

    “Working for all of us,” Cindy? I guess you’re not 1) an unwed single mother; 2) gay; 3) poor and/or a minority; 4) a sufferer of Alzheimer’s (not sure about that one), Parkinson’s, or (fill in disease here); 5) an AmeriCorps volunteer; 6) a high-school-age person; or 7) basically ANYTHING but a millionaire CEO. This is the most divisive president in history who doesn’t even PRETEND to be out for everyone, only his far-right hyper-aChristian base. Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid!!! [-(

  34. Lazarus says:

    Mandrake you are so off it’s truly sad. I feel sorry for you. Since Bush took office, federal anti-poverty spending — including Medicaid, food and nutrition programs, housing, earned income tax credit and child credits, plus other programs – has increased 42 percent. This is nearly double the rate of increase under President Clinton.

    Half of all minority households are homeowners, an all-time high.

    Small businesses owned by women rose 20 percent over five years while the number of all U.S. businesses rose by 10 percent.

    Black-owned businesses are up by 45 percent, Hispanic-owned by 31 percent.

    Not to mention the fact that President Bush has elected to put more minorities in high level cabinet positions than any president, EVER.

    Do a little research before you start slinging the Kool-Aid around.[-x

  35. Mash says:

    Lazarus, I am with you – the American people love George W Bush – all 35% of them. \:d/

  36. Tim says:

    So… Cindy… you will not call HR or freak out the next time some dude touches you at work (possible & maybe even plausible… you cannot object based upon you line of defense)? Again, I do not care if they were/are friends… it is inappropriate behavior (please… no Clinton retorts as they are irrelevant, unless we really are in a school yard).

    Again, read the CIA report and not some source with a transparent agenda (can you feel the drudgery?)… the few items that have been found were some rockets and some rockets with severely corroded warheads that had/did contain some traces of chemical weapons (best estimates are that they were left over from the Iran/Iraq war and lost in the bookkeeping [very possible… Hell, in spite of assurances, I anticipate that we could find as much in MD]). No nuclear… No biological… and NOTHING that was a direct and immediate threat to us (unless you want to complete something that your daddy didn’t when your entire professional career is a result of being your daddy’s son – is Dr. Freud in the house?)…

    The bottom line:

    1) The back rub was unprofessional
    2) The assumptions behind invading Iraq were flawed
    3) The administration ignores information that it does not want to hear
    4) Rabid Bush supporters will drink the cool-aid
    5) True conservatives have issues with many Bush policies.
    6) It is yet to be demonstrated that W’s policy choices have made us safer,

  37. Tim says:

    So Lazarus, why bust on Bill Clinton?
    The traditional conservative agenda (not W’s as he cannot claim to be a true conservative) had more traction and gained more ground under his administration than any since Taft…

  38. Lazarus says:


    Bush’s current low poll numbers are mostly the result of high gas prices – something he really has no control over – and the Iraq war. I don’t think you could argue that the economy is doing pretty good, 4.8% unemployment, low inflation, etc. Like I said earlier, I believe this president puts the security of this country ahead of his poll numbers. He did what he thought was right, regardless of whether YOU agree or not. **== **== **==


    The only reason I brought Clinton up is because of the way this “backrub” baloney was being treated. I simply felt that Clintons “issue” was a little more worthy of worldwide embarrassment. :”>

  39. Cindy D. says:

    HEY Captain Mandrake I have my own political opinion too.
    Yes, maybe I was being naive or stupid by saying the president was working for all of us, but then again for you to say that I’m
    not working for all of us is just a stupid statement. By the way I was a single mother, but, I have a boyfriend and between the two of us we have seven children, my grandfather does have Alzheimer’s, and we do have four teenagers. I don’t give a damn about gays rights and the president is catholic, which I am so not. Where you get this hyper-aChristian base crap is beyond me. What makes you think that this is the most divisive president in history when all president have expressed their opinions and disagreements. No president is ever going to have the ability to satisfy everyone. But thats the good thing about living in The United States you can say whatevers on your mind.

  40. Milan says:

    Today, German chancellor visited Washington DC and had a news conference with Bush. In the end of conference Bush comment was: “No back rubs”! 🙂

  41. Mash says:

    I noticed that Merkel had an embarrassed smile on her face after Bush’s remarks. It’s got to be insulting to Germans to have to hear Mr. Bush talk about backrubs to their chancellor. :(|)

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