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No Albanians stole Bush’s watch

To set the record straight: No one in Albania stole U.S. President George W. Bush's wristwatch this weekend while he was visiting the Eastern European country. Some news outlets had reported that when he was walking through a tight crowd of excited, cheering people, and reaching out to receive their grasping hands, someone swiped his watch. Both the ...

To set the record straight: No one in Albania stole U.S. President George W. Bush's wristwatch this weekend while he was visiting the Eastern European country.

Some news outlets had reported that when he was walking through a tight crowd of excited, cheering people, and reaching out to receive their grasping hands, someone swiped his watch. Both the Albanian police and U.S. embassy have confirmed, however, that the story is untrue. Photographs show Bush putting his hands behind his back so one of his bodyguards could remove the watch.

A YouTube video shows the entire sequence.

  • At 00:51 on the time counter: Bush has a watch on his left wrist.
  • At 00:54: He looks down at the ground, as if he has dropped something.
  • At 00:58: He looks down again.
  • At 1:00: He puts both hands behind his back, and a bodyguard seems to grab them.
  • At 1:04: His watch-free left wrist is clearly visible.

It all makes me wonder if Bush really needs a watch, given the entourage of personnel he has to keep him on schedule. Watches can also get you in trouble: In 1992, his father received a lot of criticism when he looked at his watch—seemingly out of boredom—during a presidential debate.

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. @pjaroonFP

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