Many reporters thought they were seeing double at the annual White House press dinner when George W. Bush and his impersonator Steve Bridges joined forces on stage to poke fun at the president’s entourage, and his reputation for mixing up his words.
The event is a highlight in the Washington calendar, attended by presidents since Calvin Coolidge. With Bridges and Bush constantly swapping roles as straight man and funny man, they began by listing those that were present. “Yah, all the usual suspects,” drawled Bridges, perfectly mimicking the president’s Texan twang. “Speaking of suspects, where’s the great white hunter…?” Bush interjected: “I am sorry Vice President Cheney couldn’t be here tonight. I agree with the press that Dick was a little late reporting that hunting episode down at Texas. In fact I didn’t know a thing about it until I saw him on America’s Most Wanted.” Later Bridges-as-Bush decided to deliver a ‘serious’ message, revving himself up for some complicated diplomatic language: “All right, maintain, be cool, let’s give this a try… we must enhance non-compliance protocols, sanction not only at IAEA formal sessions, but through intercessional contact.” This time the president was deliberately making mistakes, telling the crowd: “We must enhance non-compliance protocols, sanction not only at EIEIO formal sessions, but through intersexual conduct.” The press dinner is not just for journalists. Actors George Clooney and Laurence Fishburne, rappar Ludacris, tennis star Anna Kournikova and New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin were among the audience.