Bush's wristwatch gets nabbed.
June 12, 2007 1:11 AM   Subscribe

President Bush received a hero's welcome on a recent trip to Albania. This has been the first time a serving U.S. President has visited the country, and it's probably the first time a president has had his wristwatch stolen while shaking hands.
posted by hafetysazard (80 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
It'll be okay, the hump in his back has an atomic clock.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:17 AM on June 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


Why couldn't they have ripped his goddamn head off after they stole his watch?

Slackers!
posted by newfers at 1:18 AM on June 12, 2007


the cheering was a diversion.
posted by pruner at 1:19 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Albanians and stealing?! Pretty much the expierence most people in Europe associate with these people ...
posted by homodigitalis at 1:20 AM on June 12, 2007


The cheering was asymmetrical warfare.
posted by brundlefly at 1:21 AM on June 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


poetry in motion!
posted by jannw at 1:21 AM on June 12, 2007


If they didn't lop off the wrist it was on, colour me unimpressed.
(I kid. Steal the watch right off the President's wrist? Bragging rights forever)
posted by dreamsign at 1:25 AM on June 12, 2007


Way to go, Albanians! You got more out of his presidency than I ever will!
posted by maryh at 1:41 AM on June 12, 2007 [15 favorites]


That's awesome.
posted by mdonley at 1:43 AM on June 12, 2007


Ok, where in the video did the nabbing happen? That's four whole minutes, I ain't got all day!
posted by zardoz at 1:54 AM on June 12, 2007


Albania's image needs a serious makeover. The WTO should have its own reality show.
posted by phaedon at 2:00 AM on June 12, 2007


You don't see it per se.

You see a very noticeable dark band, the arm disappearing into the crown .... then the band is missing when it reappears.
posted by RavinDave at 2:00 AM on June 12, 2007


Ok, where in the video did the nabbing happen? That's four whole minutes, I ain't got all day!

It gets nabbed somewhere between 0:52 and 1:04.
posted by hafetysazard at 2:03 AM on June 12, 2007


one of those security guards is gonna get a serious shoeing
posted by criticalbill at 2:06 AM on June 12, 2007


I'm confused, it looks like at the end, he GAVE someone his watch. I'm going back to 0:52 to 1:04 to look some more... thank you thank you for bringing that up, zardoz, I thought I was clueless.
posted by rolypolyman at 2:08 AM on June 12, 2007


Hmm... I just noticed that it kind of looks like he takes it off, right after he fells people trying to grab at it, then he sticks it in his right pocket. However, he could also be wondering where the hell his watch went.
posted by hafetysazard at 2:34 AM on June 12, 2007


Looks like a theft to me. The thief takes hold his forearm so the he won't feel the watch being removed. Classic technique.
posted by srboisvert at 2:39 AM on June 12, 2007


OK, now that you pointed out the time frame, I totally see it. You actually see a pair of hands wrap themselves around his left wrist (like others have been doing), and then coax his watch off.

That is awesome [NOT A THIEF].
posted by LMGM at 2:40 AM on June 12, 2007


Now if only we could combine this with the hand grenade instance we'd be laughing.

"President Bush was honoured today to receive a good luck charm from the people of Albania. He expressed his thanks in a speech today about receiving what he described as '...a delightful Fabergé egg charm...' and exclaimed that his '...cheap Mickey Mouse watch was a low price to pay in exchange for such a thing of beauty...' and that it was a terrible shame that '...Karl won't let me use a digital watch anyway because he says the numbers are not a countdown to Apocalypse...'.

Millions looked on desperately willing that gravity make the grenade drop to his feet sans pin and spoon. The RGD-5 hand grenade unfortunately did not detonate and rid the world of one of it's most despised hate figures but then maybe Uri Geller was busy or something."
posted by longbaugh at 2:43 AM on June 12, 2007


Looks like a theft to me. The thief takes hold his forearm so the he won't feel the watch being removed. Classic technique.

Maybe it was these guys?
posted by hafetysazard at 2:44 AM on June 12, 2007


QUESTION: (Laughter.) Mr. McCormack, according to reports from Tirana, President Bush when he left Albania's Prime Minister Sali Berisha's residence going to Air Force One, complained that somebody from the Albanian crowd has stolen his beautiful watch. I'm wondering --
MR. MCCORMACK: What?
QUESTION: This is true, his watch.
MR. MCCORMACK: Are you kidding? ..... I can't even tell you if that story is true or not. Where did you get that? QUESTION: From -- it's from (inaudible) today in (inaudible) on the internet.


From the White House daily press briefing
posted by bunglin jones at 2:55 AM on June 12, 2007


The folks who posted the YouTube video are claiming in their (more) listing that he dropped the watch and that secret service found it and that it was returned to him.

Watchgate!
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:58 AM on June 12, 2007


As usual, the White House response is 'who are you gonna believe, us or your lying eyes/facts/reality?'
posted by Flashman at 3:05 AM on June 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


The folks who posted the YouTube video are claiming in their (more) listing that he dropped the watch and that secret service found it and that it was returned to him.

Nuh-uh. The watch was in fact captured in a spider hole by U.S. special forces, spending its time in fear and desperation.
posted by dreamsign at 3:09 AM on June 12, 2007


Did they get his wedding ring too?
posted by orange swan at 3:31 AM on June 12, 2007


They also stole his "What Would A Fucking Idiot Do?" wristband apparently. So we'll now see a dramatic upsurge in sense and empathy any day now.

Fingers crossed eh?
posted by longbaugh at 3:36 AM on June 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


That's Albania's foreign aid receipts doubled.
posted by pompomtom at 3:37 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah that definetly looks like they took it off his wrist.

*clang-clang, clang-clang*
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 3:37 AM on June 12, 2007


Did anyone else read the apparently international comments on the page? Fascinating stuff, all across the landscape.
posted by emmet at 4:07 AM on June 12, 2007


I can just see them, sitting in the oval office, pouring over atlases looking for SOMEWHERE that they could get some good pictures with Dubya and cheering crowds, it was a toss-up, either Albania or Antarctica with the penguins.
posted by mattoxic at 4:12 AM on June 12, 2007


Antarctica's melting. The penguins are less than pleased.
posted by milarepa at 4:17 AM on June 12, 2007


I've never trusted Albanians, what with their evil white skin and those shifty pink eyes.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:18 AM on June 12, 2007 [5 favorites]


That's the first time in recorded History that Bush was the subject of such unchecked adulation. It was pretty hard to watch.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:31 AM on June 12, 2007


Very interesting.. I hope the watch was a priceless family heirloom!

My first thought... Bush would NEVER allow himself to be in that situation in his own country. When was the last time you saw him approach a crowd like that (other than some $10k republican fund raiser). He wouldn't survive 10 seconds before someone would express their feelings about him in some manner that would result in a felony charge....or worse.
posted by HuronBob at 4:34 AM on June 12, 2007


I thought that was hilarious til I read the description, which says, "Bush's wrist watch dropped at some point, but it has been confirmed that it was found by the bodyguards who handed it over to Lady Bush later on."
posted by dobbs at 4:37 AM on June 12, 2007


Wait.... Bush can tell time?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:38 AM on June 12, 2007


Did anyone else read the apparently international comments on the page? Fascinating stuff, all across the landscape.
posted by emmet at 4:07 AM


Indeed, they bode well for peace and prosperity throughout the Balkans.
posted by ciderwoman at 4:45 AM on June 12, 2007


I can just see the Bush Administration demanding the Albanians hand over random-guy-X for his devastating terrorist attack on Bush's ego ...

Then when the Albanians say 'We'd be happy to ... where's your evidence?' ...

Bush : they dare defy us? Launch the bombers!

It's happened before :)
posted by kaemaril at 5:04 AM on June 12, 2007


What's the Albanian for cojones?
posted by Flashman at 5:19 AM on June 12, 2007


Poop. I so wanted this to be true. Oh well, the post did give me this, from bunglin jones' link, above:

QUESTION: How do you explain the fact that the popularity of President Bush is higher in Albania than in Texas and the District of Columbia?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know, the good judgment of the Albanian people, I don't know. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: You're insulting the Americans.

MR. MCCORMACK: No, I am not insulting the good -- I'm praising them for their fine judgment, that's all --


I think he's actually known as "The bringer of fine watches" in that part of the world.
posted by mmahaffie at 5:34 AM on June 12, 2007


And in Italy his limo broke down. It is interesting to see a few of the spectators morph into secret service agents during the car swap.
posted by srboisvert at 5:57 AM on June 12, 2007


There is hope for all those of us who want this to be true. Apparently, the White House is denying the "it fell off but someone gave it back" story:

A White House spokeswoman denied today that that the President had been robbed. She also denied other Albanian reports that Mr Bush's watch did fall off during the vigorous walkabout but that it was returned to a bodyguard. Instead the spokeswoman said that Mr Bush had removed it himself. "He took it off," she said.

When challenged that this did not seem to happen during the footage shown on YouTube, the spokeswoman said: "I'm not going to change what I'm saying. I was told that he took it off about the one-minute mark."


The watch Bush is wearing when he boards AF1 later on is, apparently, a replacement.
posted by flashboy at 6:00 AM on June 12, 2007


He looks so happy. And appreciated. Maybe we could trade him for some uhhh.... Albanian stuff.

Aw, hell. Just take him. Return the Mickey Mouse watch and we'll call it square.
Please?
posted by Killick at 6:33 AM on June 12, 2007


Ahhh, Youtube - video quality so shitty nobody can tell what the F' is going on.
posted by Muddler at 6:36 AM on June 12, 2007


The Daily Show show summed up what I was thinking (paraphrase):
They're patting him on the arm & back, they're TOUSLING his hair. How did they get so close - WE'RE not even allowed to ask him a question.

Dear Albania: If you wanted to keep the miserable piece o' shite for the next 1.5 years, that'd be fine with most of us.


[But btw an Air America host said Albanians like the U.S. because of Clinton. The Prez's are just interchangeable to them I guess.]
posted by NorthernLite at 6:43 AM on June 12, 2007


In some respects I appreciate this post just so I can go find out about Albanian related humour

Q: How can you stop an Albanian tank?
A: You shoot the soldier that is pushing it.

Q: Why is there a rubber-band shortage in Albania?
A: They're saving it for their satellite launch.

Q: Why is there a crisis in the Albanian economy?
A: Their donkey died.

Q: Why do Albanian submarines surface every five minutes?
A: To let the oarsmen breathe

Oh let the mirth flow...

Even better - they apparently think Norman Fucking Wisdom is funny.

They've some interesting political views about Bush et al here - my favourite being this bit

'...Bush is my man. Bush hates muslim scum, which means that he also hates most retarded, ugly Albos. The good Albos (the christian ones that don't suck muslim ****, which excludes any Albof.u.c.ks posting on this forum) can live. Bush is gonna win even if he has to steal the election like he did before (LOL). Kerry is a jewhalfbreed so Americans won't elect him. Ha ha ha. Bush is gonna win again......so much for your independent Kosof.u.c.k in 2005.......that is nothing but a distant memory. U.S. troops are already pulling out and we Serbs are preparing to come back, rape your women, kill your homosexual halfbreed men, and sell your ugly heathen babies into slavery! Die Turk halfbreed scum! The beautiful Serbs are coming to make you suck on mansize sausage! Kerry is a joke. Bush knows how to deal with Muslim countries! Can't wait for the elections cuz I'm voting for the Albo-Muslim-hating winner....George W. (The Serbs can have Kosovo back) Bush jr.......LOL!...'

So yeah - those are the sort of people who think he's awesome.
posted by longbaugh at 6:46 AM on June 12, 2007


I thought that was hilarious til I read the description, which says, "Bush's wrist watch dropped at some point, but it has been confirmed that it was found by the bodyguards who handed it over to Lady Bush later on."
Wait, Lady Bush? She's an aristocrat now? Too... many... jokes...
posted by Soliloquy at 6:58 AM on June 12, 2007


I thought that was hilarious til I read the description, which says, "Bush's wrist watch dropped at some point, but it has been confirmed that it was found by the bodyguards who handed it over to Lady Bush later on."

Why on earth would you believe an account on YouTube by an Albanian who obviously desperately wants to ward off charges that Albanians are a bunch of thievin' yahoos?

Incidentally, in case anyone's wondering about the BUSH ZHYTET MES TURMES so prominent during the first half of the video, it's Albanian for BUSH PLUNGES INTO CROWD (it's headlinese for the normal Albanian sentence Bush zhytet në mes tës turmës 'Bush plunges into the midst of the crowd').
posted by languagehat at 7:13 AM on June 12, 2007


Is "the midst of the crowd" Albanian for 20% approval rating?
posted by longbaugh at 7:23 AM on June 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


George Bush is the new Enver Hoxha.
posted by QuestionableSwami at 7:40 AM on June 12, 2007


Hail to the thief.
posted by mosk at 7:45 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wait, Lady Bush? She's an aristocrat now? Too... many... jokes...
The wife of a president is referred to as the First Lady.
posted by JDHarper at 7:47 AM on June 12, 2007


AWESOME.
posted by dead_ at 7:53 AM on June 12, 2007


Lady Bush

Not to say that this isn't a quasi-imperial Presidency, but I vaguely remember learning in grammar school that there's a Lady Street in Columbia, SC because it was named for Lady Washington, which was how the first First Lady was referred to. In fact, there was a US Navy ship named for her as well as a brig that's been in a couple of movies.
posted by pax digita at 8:03 AM on June 12, 2007


Wait.... Bush can tell time?
posted by XQUZYPHYR


No, it's just his Sea Monkeys watch.
posted by NationalKato at 8:07 AM on June 12, 2007


When challenged that this did not seem to happen during the footage shown on YouTube, the spokeswoman said: "I'm not going to change what I'm saying. I was told that he took it off about the one-minute mark."


So the official story is that he took it off as the adoring crowd gathered around him? Doesn't that imply that he was thinking "Ewww, better take off the watch before one of these thieving Albainians tries to nab it." Yet another no-win situation for the WH spokesweasels.
posted by maryh at 8:21 AM on June 12, 2007


You know you had a good time when you lose your wristwatch and it turns up in some Lady Bush...
posted by stenseng at 8:22 AM on June 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


posted by languagehat Incidentally, in case anyone's wondering about the BUSH ZHYTET MES TURMES so prominent during the first half of the video, it's Albanian for BUSH PLUNGES INTO CROWD (it's headlinese for the normal Albanian sentence Bush zhytet në mes tës turmës 'Bush plunges into the midst of the crowd').

So this is just another Bush Plunge story.
posted by fandango_matt at 8:25 AM on June 12, 2007


"Albanians love Americans. And Kosovar Albanians... they really love Americans." -- interesting post by an American in Priština.
posted by Ljubljana at 8:47 AM on June 12, 2007


Considering what low esteem he is held in most of the world, a watch hardly seems too big a price to pay for this show of adoration.
posted by caddis at 8:52 AM on June 12, 2007


I like this Borat-ish comment on the YouTube page:

"Here is joke: Why did Albanian steal Booshie's watch? Because he needed it to find out what time to go to work! Hahahaha! Is joke because Albanian does not work! Hahahaha!"
posted by LarryC at 8:59 AM on June 12, 2007


Wasn't Albania the country used as a backdrop to distract from presidential scandal in the movie Wag the Dog?
posted by StephenV at 9:01 AM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of the scene in Leaving Las Vegas where the Nick Cage character loses his wedding ring.
posted by NoiseTrader at 9:27 AM on June 12, 2007


This Dutch site has a higher-quality video of the heist.
posted by exogenous at 10:20 AM on June 12, 2007


Alright, having seen the Dutch video it kinda looks like somebody started to loosen his watch, but it actually fell off on its own. When he pulls his arm down and away from the crucial encouter it's still on - you can see a flash of black - but when he raises his arm again it's gone. It looks like that's when it falls off, but it doesn't seem like any of his goons notice at that point.

Plus, that guy up front in the Members Only jacket - it's obviously Nikki Leotardo, Phil's nephew from season 6.
posted by Flashman at 10:44 AM on June 12, 2007


Actually, it looks like he sticks something in his pocket right before he goes back into the crowd.
posted by waitingtoderail at 10:53 AM on June 12, 2007


Now Joe Lieberman wants to bomb Albania too
posted by matteo at 11:03 AM on June 12, 2007


Very interesting.. I hope the watch was a priceless family heirloom!

Not a chance, you know the guy can't tell time. My guess is it was a five dollar Casio from his friends at Walmart.
posted by fusinski at 11:44 AM on June 12, 2007


You can clearly see the watch on his left hand on the Dutch video when he does the raised hand-clasp with his right. This occurs at 00:58 on the youtube video. After that he separates from the crowd for a moment and both arms are obscured. As he steps back in you can see that the watch is gone.

It was loosened by the crowd and either fell off or was taken off when he was separated. Bush would have had some nimble fingers to take it off himself so quickly if it had not already been coming off. Surprisingly, the White House is telling the truth on this one.
posted by Manjusri at 12:13 PM on June 12, 2007


In the high-qualityh video, it seems fairly clear to me that the watch is stolen. If you watch you can see someone grab his arm, someone else unstrap the watch and then they let go of his hand, which naturally falls back. It's very smooth and slick -- bravo!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:53 PM on June 12, 2007


Yeah, this is much more important than his administration destroying the United States.

(Okay, that was a bit too snarky, but I guess my patience for fluffy "That's our president!" stories is at a low ebb.)
posted by JHarris at 1:40 PM on June 12, 2007


Aw man, I feel bad for Bush, all of the phone numbers for his foreign diplomat friends were on that watch.
posted by limmer at 2:46 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lupus: I'll agree that the crowd may have been attempting to take the watch, as they do seem a bit aggressive with his forearm. However if you freeze-frame it during the handclasp which occurs after, you can clearly see the watch still on his wrist.
posted by Manjusri at 2:48 PM on June 12, 2007


MDMA AERIAL MIST MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
posted by buzzman at 3:20 PM on June 12, 2007


Did anyone notice that there was a watch "tan line"? He looked pretty disturbed during and right after the "event". He even looks to the ground to see if it fell.
posted by snsranch at 4:26 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


dobbs writes "Bush's wrist watch dropped at some point, but it has been confirmed that it was found by the bodyguards who handed it over to Lady Bush later on."'

Bush got a knighthood?
posted by jack_mo at 5:20 PM on June 12, 2007


I took a screenshot of the point where people think the watch is stolen, and the moment afterwards when you can still see it on his hand. It is also the moment when he is looking down, apparently not for his watch.

Next up, the grassy knoll...
posted by Manjusri at 6:14 PM on June 12, 2007


Some close ups stills from la Repubblica.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:22 PM on June 12, 2007


I can't get over the fact that the Albanians seem to love him so much.

And he's obviously loving the adoration.
posted by Brittanie at 11:19 PM on June 12, 2007


I saw another piece of footage on TV this morning that confirms that the watch wasn't stolen. I know, I liked the story better before too.

You see a shot from over his left shoulder, and he quickly, brings his hands down, and whips the watch off with his right hand and hands it off to an agent.
posted by JBennett at 7:45 AM on June 13, 2007


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