Off-topic (mostly): Drinking straight from the bottle

The New York Times the other day took a light look at the White House’s preparations for the Queen’s visit. The story began:

How does George W. Bush, a towel-snapping Texan who puts his feet on the coffee table, drinks water straight from the bottle and was once caught on tape talking with food in his mouth prepare for a state dinner with the queen?

Drinks water straight from the bottle, eh? What a hick.

Near the end of the story, details are provided:

In July 2001, the Bushes had lunch with the queen at Buckingham Palace.

“He didn’t drink water out of his bottle,” said Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary, who was there.

By Mr. Fleischer’s telling, Mr. Bush once did drink water out of his bottle at a United Nations lunch, prompting Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to give the president a gentle hint by pouring water in his glass.

Honestly, I’d have thought that one element of Bush’s deliberately constructed redneck image would’ve been conspicuously drinking tapwater, a positive byproduct of the same approach to government that includes skepticism about environmentalism. Somehow icy pitchers on the table seems like more his style than individual bottles of Bling H2O.

But maybe presidents aren’t allowed to drink tapwater or something, just like they aren’t allowed to drive themselves places.


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