One reporter noticed Bush seemed to lack his normal enthusiasm during the joint statement with Hu and asked the president if something was bothering him. After Bush blamed jet lag for his disposition, he headed toward the door as the reporter tried to ask a follow-up question. The president's attempt to exit was thwarted when he tugged on both handles of the double doors and they didn't budge.
"I was trying to escape," Bush said. "Obviously, it didn't work."
During his visit to Japan in 1992, President George H. W. Bush caused quite a stir when he fell ill while at a state dinner. Bush had been plagued by nausea the entire evening and was seated next to Prime Minister of Japan Kiichi Miyazawa when he vomited and fell unconscious.
First lady Barbara Bush rushed to his side after she realized something was wrong, but quickly moved out of the way to allow the Secret Service to take action. It turned out that Bush had fallen victim to an intestinal flu.
The following day, Bush appeared with Miyazawa for a photo session and remarked that he was embarrassed by the alarm that had been caused by his collapse. In the days to come, the tape of Bush seated at the banquet table becoming sick was aired repeatedly and mocked incessantly by comedians.
While home in Plains, Ga., President Jimmy Carter set out on a solo fishing expedition when he came under attack by a swamp rabbit. The rabbit, which had been swimming near his boat, attempted to board the vessel despite Carter's efforts to shoo it away with his paddle.
After returning to Washington and telling his disbelieving staff about the incident, Carter ordered a print of the images taken by the White House photographer who had been seated ashore. The media got wind of the story after press secretary Jody Powell mentioned it to an Associated Press writer and the legend became to some a metaphor for Carter's presidency.
Although President Gerald Ford was one of the most athletically gifted presidents, his headlong fall down the stairs outside Air Force One became one of his defining moments. Ford had been the star of the University of Michigan football team as the center and linebacker, and even rejected offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers in order to attend law school. His slip from the rain-covered stairs of Air Force One produced endless sketches on "Saturday Night Live" of comedian Chevy Chase impersonating the president's klutzy moves.