Bush’s UN Speech Full of Fone-eh-tick Pronunciations for World Leaders

By Jennifer Parker

Sep 25, 2007 1:52pm

ABC News’ Ann Compton and Jennifer Duck report: Never before has the White House released a draft version of the President’s speech to the annual United Nations General Assembly. 

But this year, a glimpse of how the President sees his speeches was accidentally placed on the UN website along with the speechwriters’ cell phone numbers.

Pronunciations for President Bush’s friend French President Sarkozy "[sar-KOzee]" appeared in draft #20 on the UN website.  Other pronunciations included the Mugabe "[moo-GAHbee] regime" and pronunciations for countries "Kyrgyzstan [KEYRgeez-stan]" and "Mauritania [moor-EH-tain-ee-a]."
 
Most leaders submit a text in advance, especially to help the many translators who simultaneously turn the speeches into more than half a dozen languages. The teleprompter also needs to be loaded with a copy of the President’s words so it will appear on glass screens in front of the lectern.

The Bush White House is unaccustomed to providing advanced texts suitable for reporters to publish before he actually speaks. 

During an afternoon briefing, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said, "there was an error made in trying to make sure that interpreters had what they needed. I don’t know how the draft of the speech — it was not final — was posted, but it was, and it was taken down."

Perino said it was "not unusual" to include phonetic spellings for various countries in the speech though when asked if the president had a hard time pronouncing some of those country names Perino declined comment saying, "I think that’s an offensive question."

The White House also added that no one has called the speech writers’ cell phones.

Richard Coolidge contributed to this report.

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