Albanian Dodger

by Kieran Healy on June 12, 2007

Via Unfogged: Was Dubya’s watch stolen off his wrist while he worked the crowd in Albania? Seems too funny to be true. Looking at it from around 50 seconds into the clip, you can see the watch as he reaches to shake hands with people, then there’s no watch. It’s possible that it was grabbed and fell off, as Bush seems to look down at the ground just around key moment. But it’s hard to tell. The Zapruder film of this Administration.

“Here”: is a higher-resolution video, via “Alan Bostick”:, and some “comments”: from Bruce Schneier on the various official construals of the event. Bush’s hand goes back and to the left. Back and to the left. Back and to the left.

Interesting to see that he was so popular over there. Albanians are also crazy about “Norman Wisdom,”: as it happens.



ejh 06.12.07 at 8:29 pm

Interesting to see that he was so popular over there

Almost certainly nothing to do with the support for Kosovan independence that he professed just before and during his visit.


Michael Keyes 06.12.07 at 8:31 pm

I remember Richard Nixon coming through New Orleans in the ’60s. He was in a typical slow NO parade and shook hands with a lot of people while going down Canal Street. I was close enough to him to see that both of his cuff links had been taken while he was doing this.

Nothing new, if a president screws you, you are entitled to get something back.


abb1 06.12.07 at 8:31 pm

According to the ABC News:

“It is not true,” said Albania’s police director, Ahmet Prenci.

Photographs showed Bush, surrounded by five bodyguards, putting his hands behind his back so one of the bodyguards could remove his watch.

Bodyguards remove his watch. I wonder if they wipe his ass too.


Wade 06.12.07 at 11:40 pm

Disappointing that the BBC report can’t do without mentioning the apparently hilarious King Zog.


nigel holmes 06.13.07 at 6:53 am

Obviously a Republican ploy. Millions are now willingly watching a video of the only people in the world who are rapturously enthusiastic about Bush: “See. They like me. What’s wrong with you guys?”


Ciarán 06.13.07 at 8:39 am

$19 over on ebay. I’d say it’s one of those talking-the-time contraptions too.


ejh 06.13.07 at 9:04 am

I’ll be amazed if the watch itself doesn’t appear on Ebay. Indeed I’ll be amazed if it doesn’t appear in several different places.


Kiera 06.13.07 at 11:16 am

“Proof that President Bush’s watch is NOT stolen in Albania” by NBC


Sk 06.13.07 at 2:20 pm

“Interesting to see that he was so popular over there.”

Also irrelevant. The only foreigners whose opinion counts are the French. And they still hate Bush.

Oh, wait-I don’t think Sarkozy does.

Ok, the only foreigners whose opinions count are the British. And they still hate Bush.




Stuart 06.13.07 at 4:17 pm


Jon H 06.13.07 at 4:49 pm

He probably put his hands behind his back so a guard could sanitize them.


richard 06.14.07 at 6:28 am

The only foreigners whose opinion counts are the French. And they still hate Bush.
Oh, wait-I don’t think Sarkozy does.

This in itself is such an astonishing confusion that I don’t think I need to respond to any other part of the comment.


george w 06.14.07 at 4:47 pm

Not to defend Bush, but it’s been remarkable how unpopular most of the world’s current leaders are — or were, before the recent round of handovers in Europe. Putin is the only major world leader I can think of with legitimately and consistently high approval ratings.


ourmanintirana 06.14.07 at 11:20 pm

I live in Tirana. Why IS GWB popular here? He’s not. America is popular. Any US President who came here would get the same reception.

Also, I’ve yet to meet an Albanian who has ever heard of Norman Wisdom.


Geoff R 06.15.07 at 12:29 pm

For the wingnuts Albania and Kosovo are all part of the Muslim plot to take over Europe, perhaps they are so preoccupied with the Mexican threat they haven’t had much to say about Bush’s lapse.


Stuart 06.15.07 at 1:51 pm

Ourmainintirana, well the Telegraph seems to think he had a big following in Albania (they have been wrong before of course), and that it was related to his films being the only Western films allowed while Hoxha was in charge. If you arent out of your 20s then its less surprising if you and your friends won’t have heard of him though.

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