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Tilting at Windmills

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June 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

WATCH UPDATE....Sadly, it turns out that George Bush's watch wasn't stolen by some enterprising Albanian thief after all. He took it off himself before he waded into the crowd. Chris Hayes comments: "Bush is savvier than I thought, apparently. Although it's also pretty awesome that while he's glad-handling he's thinking 'I bet you one of these Albanians is going to try to take my watch.'"

Kevin Drum 7:44 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Comments

About time he took that watch off: everyone's always saying that the world has gone to hell on Bush's watch.

Posted by: lampwick on June 13, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Eh. I'm no fan of Bush, but it could have been an act of consideration. Not wanting to scratch or poke somebody in that crush of people tugging at his arms.

Or simpler self-interest, not wanting to get snagged on somebody's clothing.

Posted by: John on June 13, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

I hope all of you America-hating liberals will now apologize to the fine citizens of Albania for slandering them as watch thieves.

Posted by: JHM on June 13, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody know what kind of watch it is?

Posted by: jhm on June 13, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

It's a Timex Brainless (always High Noon).

Posted by: chance on June 13, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Does anybody know what kind of watch it is?

A $50.00 Timex. George is pretty slick.

His greatest sleight-of-hand, though, was making over 60 million people believe he was a good president.

Posted by: skeg on June 13, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

He took off his watch before shaking hands with the Albanians?

Posted by: Max Power on June 13, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

...That's worse than having it stolen.

Posted by: Max Power on June 13, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Bush removes his watch before working _American_ crowds, as well. Washington Post:

"The president put it in his pocket, and it returned safely home," said press secretary Tony Snow yesterday. It's not unusual for the president to remove his wedding ring and watch before working a crowd, confirms our colleague Peter Baker.

The Bush family's well documented aversion to plebes.

Posted by: Betty Black on June 13, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

Any footage of the Albanians taking their watches off before they shake Dubya's hand?

Posted by: ogmb on June 13, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

At 1:40 in the video he takes his shirt off, presumably to make it easier for the Albanians to feel him.

The whole thing strikes me as strange. All the touching, feeling, and kissing. Nothing like the time I went to see Bush in the US. I only saw the limo from 50 yards and I only got to feel the backside of a policeman's horse.

Posted by: B on June 13, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Tirana, capital of Albania, is the stolen car-fencing capital of Europe. Banditry is an honored Albanian tradition, of which Lord Byron wrote.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on June 13, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

funny though, you can see in the video you linked to earlier that he had it on well into the "wading into the crowd" phase, and I sure didn't see him take it off. maybe his moves on his own watch are like taking money out of our pockets and giving it to his rich friends? fast and unnoticed by most?

Posted by: supersaurus on June 13, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

I know it's a trivial detail, but given the White House's penchant for lying, can we actually see the watch?

Not the replacement for the one that was stolen, that is...

Posted by: grape_crush on June 13, 2007 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

This whole watch story smells of a liberal smear campaign against Albania for demonstrating such adulation for our President.

Posted by: Al on June 13, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

That YouTube link doesn't work anymore. Why would anyone trust one word Tony Snowjob says?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on June 13, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

The YouTube video is gone, so I don't know what the evidence is. I'm perfectly willing to believe that Bush removed the watch, but a statement from the White House means nothing, since they'd claim it wasn't stolen even if it was.

Posted by: KCinDC on June 13, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, they were grabbing at his hands and arms.

Posted by: Royko on June 13, 2007 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Chris Hayes: "Although it's also pretty awesome that while he's glad-handling he's thinking 'I bet you one of these Albanians is going to try to take my watch.'"

If you're going to put words into Bush's mouth, then at least try to do it correctly, in part by using the more succinct Bush-inspired phrase "one o' them Albaniacs".

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii, Instructor -- Trailer Park English as a Second Language on June 13, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

It is amazing that Kevin and others make a foolish mistake about what happened, then instead of just letting it drop or saying they made a mistake, they attempt to find another way to bash Bush about it. Sometimes, you guys are even stupider than you think Bush is -- now you think Bush is worried about losing a cheap watch?

Posted by: brian on June 13, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "This whole watch story smells of a liberal smear campaign against Albania for demonstrating such adulation for our President."

This is obviously a sensitive issue with Al. Perhaps his parents named him after the country.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 13, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

All the political guys, even apparently the dumb ones, know you don't wear a good watch or cuff-links when you gland hand a crowd. The Secret Service is just there to make sure it doesn't get out of hand (people start snapping off fingers to get rings.) Apparently, even Bush's screened republican crowds do it. It's all done with love...

Posted by: wmcq on June 13, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

brian: "Sometimes, you guys are even stupider than you think Bush is ..."

After reading your insipid comment above, I sadly realized that I often fail to give you actual credit for appearing to be even stupider than you probably already are.

You may rest assured that such an oversight will never happen again.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 13, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Given George's long criminal history and the involvement of his family in all manner of criminal activity for years, it's not surprising that he might anticipate being pickpocketed. It takes a thief to know a thief.

[By the way, not to be pedantic, but I believe it is "glad handing", not "handling".]

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 13, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

He did NOT take off the watch. Take a look at this Reuter's video:

http://www.reuters.com/news/video/videoStory?videoId=56515

I can see no evidence that it was removed by Bush. So why the lie? Just more evidence of the pathology that inhabits the WH?

Posted by: Pragmatic Liberal on June 13, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

The link to YouTube only displays a notice that the video in question has been removed because of a copyright dispute. So where's the proof that Bush took his watch off? Did someone actually capture him on video doing that?

Without some solid evidence, I tend to be a little suspicious of the watch removal story. Just because Tony Snow said it, doesn't mean it's false, but still...

Posted by: Oregonian on June 13, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

The video link from Reuters that Pragmatic Liberal points to is pretty convincing - Bush had the watch on going into the crowd but not at the end of the video. At no point in the video do you see him taking the watch off and putting it in his pocket.

Of course it could have easily fallen off and not been stolen. So why the lie?

Posted by: K on June 13, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, it turns out that George Bush's watch wasn't stolen by some enterprising Albanian thief

Clearly Joe Klein is right about those nassssty hippie bloggers. Here's Kevin Drum actually regretting a failure to steal private property from the President.

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 13, 2007 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, forgot to close the tag: /snark

Posted by: mattsteinglass on June 13, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, forgot to close the tag: /snark

Posted by: brooksfoe on June 13, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, WTF, Kevin?

The Reuters video was one uninterrupted take, showing a wrist becoming watchless while his arm is in full view. There can be no doubt the White House is lying to people: why on earth would you accept that?

Who am I supposed to trust, you or my lying eyes, is that what you're saying?

Posted by: BruceR on June 13, 2007 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

Can't remember where I saw it now, but there was a film on either CNN and MSNBC that showed him taking the watch off. It was, indeed, very quick. I think, too, that it's probably something that people who work crowds get used to doing, not so much because of fear of theft but because watches and rings can scratch and catch on things.

Posted by: THS on June 13, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

I saw the Reuters video and I too thought that is was not possible for Bush to have removed his watch during that sequence.

But after seeing the MSNBC video, I changed my mind. He obviously did.

The real story here is that eyewitness accounts are less reliable than most people think.

The Reuters video.
The MSNBC video.

In the Reuters video, the moment he removes his watch is at second 18 - 10 (when he is moving and not engaging the crowd).

Posted by: JS on June 13, 2007 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

That should have been "second 18-19". He actually does it in less than a second.

Posted by: JS on June 14, 2007 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know; could you get your watch off in less than a second? It looks like a leather band and that would have some sort of buckle closure. I still think some pro lifted it.

Posted by: Pragmatic Liberal on June 14, 2007 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

Looks like his watch wasn't the only thing that dropped this week:

NBC/WSJ: 29% approval (-6)
Quinnipac: 28% (-7)

Posted by: ogmb on June 14, 2007 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

PL, did you watch the MSNBC video? I don't think it leaves any doubt that he did remove it.

OK -- it wasn't in less than a second. I watched again and it now looks more like 2 - 3 seconds.

Posted by: JS on June 14, 2007 at 12:30 AM | PERMALINK

And another thing; the story out of the White House says he took it off himself before he waded into the crowd. That is obviously not true no matter which video you look at. So again, why the lie?

Posted by: Pragmatic Liberal on June 14, 2007 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

So again, why the lie?

Igor ring bell. Dog drool. Bush lie. No mystery.

Posted by: pavlov's assistant on June 14, 2007 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Albanians are notorious watch stealers, I never wear one around them.

Posted by: Matt on June 14, 2007 at 5:42 AM | PERMALINK

I'm still surprised the coward got that close to people.

Posted by: merlallen on June 14, 2007 at 6:08 AM | PERMALINK

merlallen:

He never would have gotten that close to common people in the U.S., unless they were carefully screened Republican supporters on a military base. Unlike Bill Clinton, who often waded into crowds despite concerns from the Secret Service.
No one can ever accuse George W. Bush of being a "man of the people". He is an elitist coward.

TCD

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 14, 2007 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

TCD, actually, Bush occasionally shows up unannounced for dinner at D.C. restaurants and then visits both the kitchen staff and customers.

PL, I don't see that as a lie. you're being rather over-literal.

Posted by: John on June 14, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Bush taking off his watch like that is like someone who locks his car doors when he sees a black man walk down the street.

Not really what you'd call cool.

Posted by: frankly0 on June 14, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't everyone hold on to their wallets at Republican functions?

Posted by: ckelly on June 14, 2007 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

It's not about the frickin' watch... it the inability to tell the truth. Just say it got yanked off accidentally. How hard is that?

Posted by: johnny6644 on June 14, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

JS, you're right. I was wrong; apologies.

Posted by: BruceR on June 14, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

This story and the Paris story make me wonder if I need a vacation from Kevin for a week or two.

Posted by: 1SG on June 14, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Remember too, that Bush is only "popular" in Albania etc. because of what Clinton did to liberate or protect Kosovo etc. a decade earlier. (BTW, we don't get enough appreciation from the Muslim world about our help to the Muslims in that area.)

Posted by: Neil B. on June 14, 2007 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Bull. I watched the original video several times. His hands were never together, from the last moment I saw the watch on his wrist, until I saw that it was gone. Your hands have to be together to take a watch off your wrist.

Posted by: Jaime Frontero on June 15, 2007 at 12:18 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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