G.W. Bush has been calling people in Northern Ireland
to chat about the peace process in that part of
the world. Curious to know what he had to say, I
phoned the White House early one night, hoping to
catch Mr. Bush before he retired to bed. Here is
a transcript of our conversation.
Oh, not you again. What is it now?
F.W: Yes sir, its me. I understand that you
spoke with Gerry Adams last week.
G.B: Who on earth is Gerry Adams?
F.W.: Sinn Fein. IRA.
G.B: Oh sure. Investment Retirement Account. Good
deal. Cuts your taxes.
F.W: No, not that one. Irish Republican Army.
G.B.: How dare you talk to me like that?
F.W.: But you did call, didnt you?
G.B.: I dont recall ever calling the IRA.
F.W.: You talked about a deal in Northern Ireland.
G.B.: I dont make deals. I deal.
F.W: The peace process.
G.B.: Right, were going to bring democracy
to Saudi Arabia
F.W.: You were talking about Northern Ireland, werent
G.B.: Whats a process?
F.W: The Good Friday Agreement, remember?
G.B.: Good Friday? Im not a Catholic, am I?
My closest friends call me evangelical. No, thats
not a nickname.
F.W.: Its an ecumenical agreement, Mr. Bush.
Inclusive. Diverse. Multicultural. Protestants,
Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus. Republicans, Loyalists,
G.B: Republicans? Well now, thats a different
F.W.: Irish Republicans.
G.B: The fighting Irish. Yes. I was at the Army
Navy game. Those boys can play.
F.W.: Thats Notre Dame. But you looked terrific
in shoulder pads.
G.B: And Iran is at it again. Did you say Ian?
F.W.: Right, the Reverend Paisley.
G.B.: Never liked those silly looking ties.
F.W.: Not ties. Hes a politician. Didnt
you talk to him last week?
G.B.: Man kept telling stories about sackcloth.
F.W.: Thats the one you spoke with all right.
G.B.: I swear he wanted to humiliate me.
F.W.: Not you, Mr. Bush.
G.B.: Oh yes. Kept insisting that I pray for photographs.
F.W.: Hes a photographer now?
G.B: Something about guns. Im supposed to
pray for photographs and guns.
F.W.: Politics makes strange bedfellows.
G.B.: And sinners too.
F.W.: He called you one too? How dare he.
G.B.: I think he meant that Gerry guy.
F.W.: The one you didnt talk to?
G.B.: Thats right.
F.W.: Gerry Sinner?
G.B.: Adams, if I recall correctly.
F.W.: So you do remember the conversation.
G.B.: Dont. Cant. Wont. Will not.
F.W.: Are you planning a visit to Northern Ireland?
G.B.: Yes, but not before my next term.
F.W.: Sorry, but you cant run again after
G.B.: Well, after the election.
F.W.: The one in Iraq?
G.B.: No, Belfast.
F.W. Youre mixing your metaphors.
G.B: Too many calls. Cant keep track of them
F.W.: Did the Reverend invite you to attend his
G.B. Well bless my soul, how did you know that?
F.W.: Word gets around.
G.B.: Yes, said we could look at photographs after
F.W.: Of birds?
G.B.: More guns, I guess. I do hunt now and then.
G.B.: Said he would show me his trophy room.
F.W.: And youll talk about sinners?
G.B.: Might do that.
F.W.: Youre a busy man these days.
G.B.: Peace takes up a lot of time.
F.W. And patience.
G.B. And Reverend Gerry.
F.W. Reverend Gerry?
G.B. Gerry Fein. Funny name, isnt it?
F.W.: A barrel of laughs.
G.B. Sorry, but I have to go. Laura promised to
read to me tonight.
F.W.: Of course, but I wonder if next time Im
down your way
G.B. Youre always welcome in my White House.
F.W. Will you be wearing one of Ians shirts?
G.B. No telling what I might do for peace.
F.W. Well, raise a pint for me, will you?
G.B.: I stopped drinking milk. Made a vow. If I
got elected again Id quit cow products.
F.W.: I meant Guinness.
G.B.: Martin? No, I havent spoken with him.
Ian told me not to.
F.W. Are you taping this conversation?
G.B.: Of course, Gerry. Ill send you the transcript.
F.W.: Do you know my address?
G.B: You got it, Reverend. How on earth could I
F.W.: Now that is a very good question.