Bungle: : to act or work clumsily and awkwardly.
Etymology: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Icelandic banga to hammer.Well, President Obama and Hillary Clinton both hammered their roles as foreign relations dignitaries last week….
British officials, meanwhile, admit that the White House and US State Department staff were utterly bemused by complaints that the Prime Minister should have been granted full-blown press conference and a formal dinner, as has been customary. They concede that Obama aides seemed unfamiliar with the expectations that surround a major visit by a British prime minister.
Barack Obama’s offhand approach to Gordon Brown’s Washington visit last week came about because the president was facing exhaustion over America’s economic crisis and is unable to focus on foreign affairs, the Sunday Telegraph has been told.
Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been “overwhelmed” by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.
The above quote comes from the Telegraph Newspaper in the UK.
Bloggers in the UK and elsewhere are somewhere between bemused and ouraged:
Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
(Now we can add stupid….)
Hillary’s Benito Bungle
Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows on her first visit to Europe as secretary of state when she mispronounced her EU counterparts’ names and claimed U.S. democracy was older than Europe’s.
Clinton has set herself a gruelling pace on visits to Egypt, Israel and Brussels soon after touring the Far East, attending dozens of meetings and giving speech after speech, with little time worked into her schedule for sleep.
Tiredness appeared to show on Friday when she answered questions in front of 500 young Europeans at the European Parliament, where she was the highest-ranking U.S. visitor since the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1985.
A veteran politician, Clinton compared the complex European political environment to that of the two-party U.S. system, before adding:
“I have never understood multiparty democracy. “It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy.”
The remark provoked much headshaking in the parliament of a bloc that likes to trace back its democratic tradition thousands of years to the days of classical Greece.
One working lunch later with EU leaders, Clinton raised more eyebrows when she referred to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who stood beside her, as “High Representative Solano.”
She also dubbed European Commission External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner as “Benito.”
From Reuters and Canada.com:
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009. Emanuel famously said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)