President Bush really does have a sense of humor, and at times, it's quite sophisticated. He gives nicknames to all of his friends and associates — such as "Kenny-Boy" to Ken Lay, the disgraced CEO of Enron, and "Big Dick" to Vice President Cheney — when he can find him. When not irritated with his Secretary of State, Bush calls Colin Powell "Colin-oscopy". While not on the level of say, Oscar Wilde or Mark Twain, Bush's hijinks have been known to keep the Oval Office in stitches.
Now that Bush is facing a reelection campaign, he's had to leave the White House (and his 'ranch' where he raises mesquite and scrub brush) to maintain that $500,000 per day campaign war chest.
Which means, as described by reporter Richard W. Stevenson, he's taken his show "on the road":
For months, he has gotten big yucks from crowds at his fundraisers by saying that the nation has had "no finer vice president than Dick Cheney," and then waiting a moment to deliver his punch line. "Mother," he would add, referring archly to his father's tenure in the No. 2 spot, "may have a second opinion."
In the last few weeks, he has added his brother Jeb, governor of Florida, to his humor hit list. After appearing with or mentioning his party's newest star, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Mr. Bush has offered this zinger: "I used to think the coolest governor was from Florida."
But he really risked familial tension in a speech to donors earlier this week in Houston when he brought up his wife, Laura. "I married the greatest first lady the country has ever had," he said. "Mother included," he added, prompting roars of somewhat nervous laughter in Barbara Bush's hometown.
(One pictures the hormonally imbalanced matriarch gettin' out a switch and threatening the war president with a severe beating.)
Bush has other hilarious lines up his sleeve, as I discovered recently when I was given illicit copies of future speeches by an unnamed source close to the President.
Some zingers from these secretly obtained documents: