Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 12, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE PRESIDENT'S WRISTWATCH....Conspiracy theory of the day: Was George Bush's watch stolen while he was working the crowd in Albania this weekend? Or did he take it off himself?

You be the judge! YouTube video is here. Selected frame grabs are below. At 51 seconds in, Bush has a watch. At 56 seconds he still has a watch. At 57 seconds hands are grabbing at his wrist. His hands are then obscured for a few seconds, and at 1:05 he doesn't have a watch.

Bruce Schneier has collected three different denials that Bush was robbed. Denial 1: At about the one minute mark Bush put his hands behind his back so a bodyguard could remove his watch. Denial 2: It fell off. Denial 3: Bush took it off himself.

Maybe. But it would be a lot funnier if an Albanian pickpocket managed to rip off the president of the United States. Keep an eye on EBay.

Kevin Drum 2:27 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Comments

This is the Bush Administration in a Microcosm - who you going to believe - the White House or your Lying Eyes?

Posted by: Robert on June 12, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

At least he still got his pants.

Posted by: Miracle Max on June 12, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

What's a lousy Mickey Mouse watch worth anyway?

Posted by: Dilbert on June 12, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

He never learned how to read it, anyway.

Posted by: calling all toasters on June 12, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Who, how, and why notices this stuff?

Not to say it isn't good schadenfreude, if indeed Bush got robbed, but how would Bush's watch become a focal point from a youtube clip?

Posted by: A different matt on June 12, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure if I really give a crap about this story, but it's sure a whole lot more interesting than speculation on Paris-ite's STDs.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 12, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Right-wingers once again collapse or invert the space-time continuum to portray their flawlessly perfect republican government officials in a propagandistically favorable light--i.e., either (1) the watch purposely jumped off in order to jubilantly hail the heroic El Presidente Bush and then, it's work done, vanished in a magical puff of pink smoke as it went off to a better land, or (2) the heroic El Presidente Bush in a feat of strength grabbed his arm away from the cheering crowds, magically made time stand still as he carefully removed and pocketed his watch, and hours later took out the watch again, caressed it, and said "I've been through too much with you to ever lose you. Stay with me, baby. Be my watch forever."

The facts are, Bush entered the crowd, was jostled by the crowd, and the watch disappeared. Did someone purposely grab the watch? Did someone accidentally grab the watch? Did it fall off on its own? Who cares? Bush's watch is gone, and he looks like a jerk.

Posted by: Anon on June 12, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Word has it that replica "Presidential Watches" are showing up in the bazaars of Baghdad already.

Price for most people: $1.

Price for body-armor-clad Senators on a photo-op junket: $5.

Posted by: Bill H. on June 12, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

What the heck are is the Secret Service thinking that the President of the United States is in physical contact w/ a crowd? I'm not being racist in my comments and I'm not a fan of this President, but is it wise from a security perspective that people are actually within this close range of the President of the United States?

Posted by: garyk on June 12, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Reminds me of Miami Blues, wherein Alec Baldwin cold cocks Fred Ward and takes his gun, his police badge, and his false teeth.

Posted by: Matt on June 12, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously he regards Albanians as more trustworthy than Americans.

Posted by: Neal on June 12, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Stalin can't find his wristwatch one day, and tells security it's been stolen. The next day he finds where he put it, tells security. They reply, "But Sir, we've already had five people confess to having stolen it."

Posted by: jim on June 12, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

As I commented on Bruce Schneier's blog: the fact that the Bush administration put out an obvious lie (their claim that he put his arms behind his back and his security folks took it off) makes it more likely to me that the watch was swiped. The reason is that the video makes clear that he had the watch on, people in the crowd were reaching out to him and touching his hands and arms, and then the watch wasn't there.

I might have believed the second story that they put out, that it fell on the ground and a security guard found it, had it been the first story. It could have happened that way. But then, why the lie? To cover up an embarrassing truth?

Posted by: Joe Buck on June 12, 2007 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

It does seem odd that the crowd is allowed to touch his hands and arms. Couldn't someone poke him with something?

Or maybe that's what Cheney wants to happen ...

Posted by: Joe Buck on June 12, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Albanians like him more than Americans do...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 12, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously telling these "lies" about the watch is good diplomacy. Let's say the Albanian crowd did swallow the watch. You want the Bush administration to say basically, "Yeah, they stole the president's watch." It's nice of Bush to pretend that he lost his watch/still has the watch/whatever. After all, the story doesn't really make Bush look bad, it makes Albania look bad.

Posted by: Martin on June 12, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Being his left hand they better check his wedding ring.

Posted by: Tripp on June 12, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Alternate story:
They were testing a replacement remote control unit (smaller than the old, boxy, back-mounted unit) and it began to malfunction, so they had to take it off of him before he froze-up completely.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 12, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Talk about your small triumphs of justice!

But, really, what's the loss of a fuckin' wristwatch, when socio-economic parasites like Bush and his cronies have been -- on a far grander scale -- "picking the pockets" of other people for some three decades now?

Hell, years from now, the good people of Arlington, TX will still be paying off the bonds for that stupid baseball stadium and acquisition by eminent domain of surrounding property, assets which Bush and his Texas Ranger-owning friends were allowed to pilfer from city coffers and sell off for their own financial gain -- and that was back in 1993-94!

I'm sorry, but George W. Bush's rather dubious ethics were in full public view long before Americans handed this corporate con artist the keys to their realm, and then left him to do as he wished.

While we may not have ever intended the chaos that subsequently unfolded across the world, we no longer have any rational excuse to offer that world for allowing this political travesty to continue unabated.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 12, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

What the heck are is the Secret Service thinking that the President of the United States is in physical contact w/ a crowd? I'm not being racist in my comments and I'm not a fan of this President, but is it wise from a security perspective that people are actually within this close range of the President of the United States?

With Darth Cheney lurking in the wings, I admit to being strangely concerned with dumbya's health.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on June 12, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

but is it wise from a security perspective that people are actually within this close range of the President of the United States?


Czolgosz got McKinley and Bremer got George Wallace in such situations, so, yeah, probably not the smartest idea.

I detest the man, but I wouldn't want him assassinated. The cult of personality which would inevitably arise from his martyrdom would eclipse that of Reagan, and make me sick enough to puke on a daily basis.

Posted by: Winda Warren Terra on June 12, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

It wasn't a watch. It was just a band to remind him to ask someone the time.

E. Henry, that was my comment yesterday. The SS lost it for a minute, and Bush was vulnerable. Spectres of Pres. Cheney!

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on June 12, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

They lie about everything, don't they?

Posted by: ogmb on June 12, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Cheney the congress would impeach...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 12, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

The government are pretty much struggling to stay in control in Albania. I read a news report a few years ago which showed how tough a place it is. The coastguard had captured and impounded the speedboat of a smuggler and as in most countries were auctioning it off. A few "friends" of the smuggler went along to the auction and made it clear that bidding against them was not a good idea. They got their boat back. The next time they impounded the boat the authorities decided to burn it instead. So the local mafia kidnapped the chief of police and offered to swap him for their boat.


Even the police wear balaclavas when carrying out any potentially controversial acts, just to stop them being identified and targetted in revenge attacks.


Not a nice place. If Bush only lost his watch then he got away lightly.

Posted by: Jim on June 12, 2007 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK
Denial 1: At about the one minute mark Bush put his hands behind his back so a bodyguard could remove his watch. Denial 2: It fell off. Denial 3: Bush took it off himself.

Maybe.

Maybe?!? Maybe...what? Bush tried to take it off, then stuck it behind his back so a bodyguard could take it off, but as he did so it fell off?

The denials aren't particularly consistent, even before considering the fact that only the second could even remotely be reconciled with the video evidence.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 12, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

According to family members in Italy, the Albanians have pretty much taken over organized crime throughout the north half of the country. They haven't duked it out with the Mafia, Camorra or the 'Ndrangheta on their home turf yet.

Posted by: Peter VE on June 12, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

"With Darth Cheney lurking in the wings, I admit to being strangely concerned with dumbya's health."

It's what, 2010 is the strange year without inheritance tax?
What do blonde haired chubby slightly hot daughter and brown haired not so hot daughter stand to inherit?

(And, look, we can redirect the thread back to Paris if we want --- presumably she also stands to inherit a bunch, though I'm guessing estate planning is not one of her strengths.)

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 12, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

They haven't duked it out with the Mafia, Camorra or the 'Ndrangheta on their home turf yet.
Posted by: Peter VE on June 12, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

so, now they want to mess with the Bush Crime Family?

They obviously have no idea who they're fucking with.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 12, 2007 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

The story isn't that someone swiped the president's watch. People love their souvenirs.

The story is that the Bushies decided it would somehow impugn his fabulously manly cowboyism to just acknowledge that the watch got lost in the crowd. And in typical Bushco style, they couldn't even lie competently.

Now imagine this happening to Clinton. He acknowledges, smiling self-deprecatingly, that his watch did go missing during a big meet-and-greet. He chuckles, noting that these things happen, and there's a memento hunter in every crowd, here or abroad. Then to ensure continued cordial relations with the Albanian government, he earnestly adds that he's sure the culprit is very much an odd man out, and that the people of Albania are warm, welcoming and, incidentally, almost always models of probity.

That's how it's done.

Posted by: shortstop on June 12, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

From the video, it's pretty easy to tell who stole it; the guy's rubbing Bush's arm while he's doing it.

Posted by: uncle toby on June 12, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

You know, a broken watch is correct two more times a day than Bush Co. is.

Posted by: adlsad on June 12, 2007 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know, I think the whole incident is funny as hell.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on June 12, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

The watch is still visible briefly at 57 seconds, then at 1:02 it is clearly missing. Looks to me like it was swiped around 58-59 seconds into the video.

Classic metaphor for his Eastern Europe policies: Bush the dumb tourist. Thinks he's beloved, but the locals are just taking him to the cleaners.

Posted by: smintheus on June 12, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Having a watch stolen is an awfully flimsy excuse for starting another war, but W. Bush has to do what he has to do because the next Democratic president won't do it.

Posted by: Brojo on June 12, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

My father's family comes from Albania.

Today I can hold my head up high.

Posted by: ctm on June 12, 2007 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

If you watch the video til about 1:20 you can watch someone steal his nose. I do this to my nephew all the time.

Posted by: B on June 12, 2007 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii: Hell, years from now, the good people of Arlington, TX will still be paying off the bonds for that stupid baseball stadium and acquisition by eminent domain of surrounding property, assets which Bush and his Texas Ranger-owning friends were allowed to pilfer from city coffers and sell off for their own financial gain -- and that was back in 1993-94!

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing but the lowest regards for the Dufus-in-chief. But as a voter in Arlington in 1990, I proudly voted for that stadium and would do so again. (I moved before the vote for the new Dallas Cowboys stadium going up next door.) For a minimal sales tax increase, Arlington kept a revenue generator that provides jobs not only in the park but in the hotels and restaurants that surround it. The 20-year bond was paid off in 7 years, and the tax was retired. As for the eminent domain, it is truly a bad practice, but hardly rare.

The truly awful part of his Ranger ownership was that voters actually believed that it demonstrated his suitability for the governor's post, never mind the fact that he was merely a figurehead. The big money people used the President's son to ensure MLB acceptance of their bid. That is the worst part...that and the Sammy Sosa-for-Harold Baines trade.

Posted by: yocoolz on June 12, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

What the heck are is the Secret Service thinking that the President of the United States is in physical contact w/ a crowd? I'm not being racist in my comments and I'm not a fan of this President, but is it wise from a security perspective that people are actually within this close range of the President of the United States?

Wouldn't the people in the crowd have gone through security screening?

Posted by: Peter on June 12, 2007 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

I'm impressed Bush doesn't use a digital watch!

Posted by: Fred F. on June 13, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

I heard those sly Albanians also plucked a half dozen of those little airplane bottles of booze from his pockets.

Posted by: MildlyDisturbed on June 13, 2007 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

msnbc/olberman showed video from alternate angle, and it appears clear that Bush removed his own watch and pocketed it.

Posted by: ac on June 13, 2007 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'm just surprised that the coward actually got that close to people. He's a bigger bedwetter than all of his supporters combined.

Posted by: merlallen on June 13, 2007 at 6:46 AM | PERMALINK

Stole his watch!?!? Time to drop the bombs - that'll learn 'em.

Posted by: mroberts on June 13, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals have always had a soft spot in their hearts for countries where equality and social justice are the norms.

Those bastards!

Posted by: Stefan on June 13, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The watch isn't lost, it is on ebay on sale from Poland, the UK and Australia!!!

I like this auction: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Help-find-George-Bushs-watch-artists-impression_W0QQitemZ250131115669

What is the betting ebay have a serious sence of humour failure about this one???

Posted by: Jenny on June 16, 2007 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

The watch isn't lost, it is on ebay on sale from Poland, the UK and Australia!!!

Search for "George Bush's watch" on the site.

What is the betting ebay have a serious sence of humour failure about this one :) ???

Posted by: Jenny on June 16, 2007 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Hillarous, my aching ribs, ouch!!!. This is stuff for a blockbuster movie. Previewed... A powerful massively nuclear weaponed country, launches a war on poor dirt country to find the president's stolen watch. Phew!!!! my back aches.

Posted by: ARIAKA on July 17, 2007 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know why, but do you really think that the most guarded man in this planet gets his wristwatch stolen by some local thief? This is nonsense! Maybe you should read an article: http://www.benisblog.com/2007/08/08/the-story-of-the-presidents-wristwatch-being-stolen-is-it-true/
and than think again who is clever and who is not.

Posted by: Timi on August 11, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know why, but do you really think that the most guarded man in this planet gets his wristwatch stolen by some local thief? This is nonsense! Maybe you should read an article; that guy/girl tips out some good points of this case http://www.benisblog.com/2007/08/08/the-story-of-the-presidents-wristwatch-being-stolen-is-it-true/
and than think again who is clever and who is not.

Posted by: Tim on August 11, 2007 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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