Turkey stunt comes back to haunt Bush

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The Independent US

The bird carried by a beaming George Bush during his surprise visit to the troops in Baghdad last week could have come from a page in a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving cookbook. But, it was strictly for looking at, not for eating.

What's the big deal, one might ask? After all the turkey had been cooked, even though it was a decoration on the buffet line, not to be served on the steam-trays from which ordinary GIs were doled out their holiday meal. But once again the White House stands accused of embellishing incidents for electoral gain.

Mr Bush's clandestine trip to Iraq has helped push up his latest approval ratings to a healthy 60 per cent-plus. But it wasn't quite as picture perfect as his handlers would have it.

The White House now sheepishly admits that the vaunted conversation between a British Airways pilot and Air Force One on its secret mission last Thursday did not take place. More mundanely, it apparently occurred between the pilot and UK ground control as the plane crossed British skies.

The President's "mission accomplished" declaration seven months ago turned into a bad joke as the violence in Iraq continued. Could the Thanksgiving shot prove a similar turkey?