DOCUMENT: Celebrity

George H. W. Bush And His Black Balls

Handsy ex-president has odd sense of humor

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Bush Blackballed?

OCTOBER 26--In light of George H. W. Bush’s apology for patting “women’s rears” in a “good-natured manner,” The Smoking Gun offers another look at the former president’s, um, jocularity, courtesy of the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”

During a months-long hacking spree that began in late-2012, Marcel Lehel Lazar breached the e-mail account of Dorothy Bush Koch, daughter of the 41st president, and several other Bush family members and friends.

Included in the correspondence swiped by the now-imprisoned Lazar were exchanges regarding the medical condition of Bush, who was hospitalized in late-2012 with bronchitis. Bush, 88 at the time, spent two months recuperating in Houston Methodist Hospital.

In a December 29 e-mail to her brothers George, Jeb, Neil, and Marvin, Dorothy relayed an encounter their father just had with a nurse named Claire.

The former president asked Claire if his testicles were black, Dorothy reported. The nurse replied, “You think your testicles are black, sir?” “Yes,” Bush replied.

The nurse, Dorothy told her siblings, then “went over and put rubber gloves on to check!!” But before Claire could examine the Republican octogenarian’s genitalia for discoloration, a third party stepped in.

“Mom finally stopped her,” Dorothy wrote, referring to Barbara Bush, the former first lady (who was then 87).

The testicle gambit, Dorothy observed, was evidence that the Bush family patriarch was “feeling better.”

In his 2010 memoir (and related interviews), George W. Bush referred to the “black testicles” gag, recalling how his father had once targeted a female nurse at the Mayo Clinic following an operation. After Bush 41 twice asked the nurse, “Ma’am, are my testicles black?” the woman reached for the sheet covering the ex-president. At that point, Bush--pretending that the nurse misheard him--asked, “Are my test results back?”

Bush’s late-2012 hospitalization was of such concern to his children that they discussed the possibility of his death and plans for his funeral. In response to an e-mail from his brother George seeking ideas for a future eulogy, Jeb replied that their father’s “Are my testicles black” joke was his favorite. But Jeb added, “don’t know if it could work in such a somber occasion.”

Two actresses this week told of being groped by Bush during photo ops at which they were standing next to the wheelchair-bound former president. Jordana Grolnick said that as she posed last year with Bush, his wife Barbara, and several other female performers, the ex-president asked the group, “Do you want to know who my favorite magician is?” Grolnick told Deadspin that, “As I felt his hand dig into my flesh, he said, ‘David Cop-a-feel!’” As members of the group laughed nervously, Grolnick recalled, Barbara Bush “said something along the lines of, ‘He’s going to get himself put into jail!'"

In response to the accounts of the actresses, Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath replied, “At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke--and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.” (2 pages)