Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
28

Shirtwipegate: What Really Happened?


Controversy!

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton clasped hands with residents of one of Haiti's massive tent cities Monday on a tour of its quake-devastated capital – a visit intended to remind donors of the immense needs facing the recovery effort.

After shaking hands with residents, Bush appeared to wipe his hand on Clinton's shirt, according to a video shot at the scene.

But is that indeed what we're seeing? I've watched the clip several times now, and here are the possibilities I've come up with.

• George W. Bush is, in fact, wiping his hand on Bill Clinton's sleeve, quite possibly out of disgust with the sweaty palm embrace he's just received from a Haitian person. This theory will find many adherents in those who believe that the former president is uncomfortable with or even actively disgusted by those of a different race or socio-economic status.

• George W. Bush, in a moment of shocking reflection, is overwhelmed by the plight of these poor people whom he and his colleague have pledged to help, and needs to share that emotion by patting his pal on the shoulder in a gesture of solidarity and awe, but somehow withdraws at the last moment, perhaps because he's worried that it will look a little gay. This postulation will prove favorable to Bush supporters who have never doubted the man's compassion and feel he has been denied the credit he deserves for his good nature.

• Bill Clinton wears really slippery shirts. This will make sense to everyone who feels that there is something essentially slippery about Bill Clinton, either sartorially or otherwise.

• George W. Bush is pulling the old fraternity gag where you put a booger in your hand and put it on someone else's shirt. This will seem reasonable to anyone who has read about George W. Bush's fraternity days. (I'm assuming here he placed the booger on his person earlier and was just waiting for the right moment to "give Bubba a nose nugget.")

• George W. Bush doesn't care about cotton.

A wipe or a pat?

In any event, I've scoured this thing over and over as if it were our age's equivalent of the Zapruder film. You can make your own decision about what happened on this fateful day, but one thing is certain: Oliver Stone will definitely have a much more intense take.

28 Comments / Post A Comment

George Bush and Bill Clinton are lovers. That is clearly a tender semi-hug.

the teeth (#380)

Well clearly he's wiping the black off. What I want to know is: what's that finger wiggling thing he does before the wipe? I find it oddly hypnotizing.

WellThen (#1,251)

I believe he was at first attempting to /shake/ the black off. Little known fact: a fair amount of the "dancing" you see white people do to soul or hip hop is actually this very thing.

the teeth (#380)

Hahahaha: I think you nailed it. The idea of a suited white man flailing about, trying to shake off the blasted jazz music that surrounds him, completely makes my day.

brent_cox (#40)

Not sure what the answer is, but I will watch the nightly news to find out.

HiredGoons (#603)

Black and to the left.

doubled277 (#2,783)

*zips up pants*

Fredrick (#268)

Ha, what a Greenberg.

moopus (#4,125)

Clinton's reaction is fascinating. It looks like he starts to recoil in slow-motion during the immediate aftermath of the shirtwipe. You can tell something vaguely begins to dawn on him as he leans away from the strange touch and recoils his right arm slightly. He seems to be looking down at the hand, confused and possibly aghast; he start to look up at Bush's face right when the scene cuts.

HiredGoons (#603)

Also from the still shot near the bottom of the post, it appears Bush and Haitian-man-with-blue-tie make eye contact as Bush wipes his hand and 'OH SHIT THAT GUY TOTALLY SAW ME.'

Whatever, maybe he can clear some brush for them.

moopus (#4,125)

And the woman directly behind the presidents seems to watch, transfixed, the trajectory of the hand, then give a quick nervous glance towards the camera to see if the shirtwipe was recorded.

Flashman (#418)

soil me once…. …uh ….uh
…won't get soiled again!

hockeymom (#143)

This makes me miss Bill Clinton and his ability to connect with people. Watch his body language and George's body language…couldn't be more different.
Clinton's still the man.

(gah…I sound like one of those body language "experts" O'Reilly always has on. ack!)

HiredGoons (#603)

From the NYPost comments:

"Obama told us the healthcare debate would be open and honest – Obama lied! Obama is a Marxist/Socailist – get ready for the Federal Government to have access to your personal health data, if that does not freak you out then you have already had way too much Kool-Aid."

#context?

Fredrick (#268)

I want to say that's racist, but maybe it's a cult reference?

Kidding, it's racist.

HiredGoons (#603)

I just love that it has NOTHING to do with the topic of 'discussion.'

Any forum to regurgitate asinine talking points, it seems.

A few of them used the opportunity to whine about health care.

Slava (#216)

Bush is clearly just brushing dirt off his shoulder.
Probably because Clinton is feeling like a pimp.

Bush is drunk and getting handsy.

KenWheaton (#401)

Bill Clinton wiped his PENIS on Monica Lewinsky's dress.

(Isn't G-dub sorta OCD with the hand scrubbing? Or is that only with non-Republican black people. I can't imagine Condi woulda put up with that.)

garge (#736)

(I think you are confusing him with Howie Mandel)

KenWheaton (#401)

You know, you might be right.

Ronit (#1,557)

this is true. Bush used hand sanitizer immediately after shaking Barack Obama's hand, and offered him some. Source: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/11/bush-and-obama.html

KarenUhOh (#19)

"Poor people's cooties!"

Bittersweet (#765)

Maybe the guy he greeted pulled the old "doncha hate it when you pee on your hands" gag. But then you'd think W would go for the hand sanitizer or the side of his own pants.

Fredrick (#268)

The fact that Clinton's shirt is the go-to (and you know Bush is thinking he'll just explain later and Bill with 'get it') is part of the comedy.

Fredrick (#268)

Bill *will* get it. My daily typo, ladies and germs.

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