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    January 30, 2008

    The Bush-Barney embrace

    Posted by: Chris

    Bushbarneyfox_1 The embrace between President Bush and gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) after Monday night's State of the Union address was so warm and affectionate that Fox News anchor Brit Hume interrupted Nina Hagen's post-speech analysis to comment on it, albeit haltingly:

    Hold on a second, what we just saw there was an interesting moment, a moment of friendship and almost affection between the president and none other than Barney Frank. Who I think it's fair to say is one of the most liberal Members of Congress, also one of the smartest guys up there, but, uh...

    Hagen imagined a political reason for the playful hug, since Frank has worked closely with the Bush administration on banking regulation and the economic stimulus package agreed to by the House yesterday. In fact, the reason was much more personal, as the Boston Globe reports:

    It's a time-worn president's trick: walk up to a congressman chatting on the phone and send your regards to the astonished person on the other end of the line, charming the listener with your regular-guy credentials.

    That's what President Bush did Monday night at the State of the Union address, when he approached Newton Democrat Barney Frank, who was talking on his cell phone in the House Speaker's lobby before Bush's speech.

    What Bush didn't know was that the congressman was talking to his boyfriend.

    "Tell him I said, 'Hello,' '' Bush said to Frank, leaning in to pat the congressman's shoulder. As Bush continued into the House chamber, Frank told his skeptical boyfriend that it had been the conservative Republican president sending his good wishes. Frank's boyfriend didn't believe him, so the Massachusetts lawmaker put one of the sergeants-at-arms on the phone to back up his story.

    After the speech, Frank said, he felt he had to tell Bush what he had done. After all, the president opposes gay marriage, and gay rights groups do not see the president as an ally.

    Frank sought out the president, who put his hand on the back of the congressman's head to hear him more clearly in the noisy, crowded room.

    "Mr. President, by the way, the person I was talking to when you said to say hello was my boyfriend,'' Frank said he told the commander-in-chief.

    "Well. I hope you said how open-minded I am,'' Frank said the president replied.

    "I considered telling [the president] I wouldn't marry him,'' Frank said, "but then I thought, 'Nah.' ''

    The Globe doesn't indicate whether Frank was referring to his boyfriend or the president, but let's hope it's the latter.



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    1. Kevin on Jan 30, 2008 2:26:37 PM:

      I saw the full footage of the encounter (sans Fox News background noise) in a Jeanne Moos piece on CNN International this morning. It was funny and awkward, and Bush actually put his hands around the side of Barney Frank's head in a sort of affectionate, almost Italian, grab and smack. I wasn't sure, but I think Barney either put his hand up to do a small squeeze on Bush's forearm to acknowledge it (but Bush was moving fast and was pulling away just as the gesture was being returned), or Barney was simply shoving Bush's hand away like a girl getting her butt pinched. Either one was believable with Barney, and either one would have been honorable for one reason or another. But the CNN piece was about how Bush was running around kissing, hugging, and stroking everyone on his last visit as President (while Obama and Clinton were as cold as ice to each other).

    1. Tim on Jan 30, 2008 5:17:56 PM:

      and how can this be? For he is the Kwisatz Haderach!
      geesh this is a story?

    1. Geena The Transgirl on Jan 30, 2008 6:28:44 PM:

      Oh no! The gender-ENDA crowd will have to hate George Bush even more.

    1. Monster Beats Sale on Nov 30, 2011 2:59:19 AM:

      crowd will have to hate George Bush even more.

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