Bush takes stab at speaking Spanish, with mixed results

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The Independent Online

U.S. President George W. Bush showed off his Spanish in a television interview aired as he arrived in Madrid Tuesday, but made at least one big gaffe: mispronouncing the prime minister's name.

When Bush told Spanish state–run television in Washington that he looked forward to meeting with King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, the latter came out as Anzar.

Bush also employed a sort of mangled grammar, with accents in the wrong places and gender disagreement.

"I have to practice this very lovely language," Bush told the interviewer, before switching to English to explain what he'd just said. "If I don't practice I am going to destroy this language."

But as Bush, his wife Laura and a White House delegation arrived Tuesday morning at Zarzuela Palace to meet with the king, it was the monarch who botched a last name – that of National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice – although he did it as a joke, the news agency Efe reported.

Playing on the fact that many senior White House officials are said to be studying Spanish, King Juan Carlos greeted Rice by saying "Buenos Dias, Arroz" – literally, Good Morning, Rice, as in the food. Rice reacted with a big smile.