February 17th, 2008
03:33 PM ET
6 years ago

Bush visit a slam dunk for Tanzania

President Jakaya Kikwete, next to President Bush, looks on as Bush greets a boy at a Tanzanian hospital Sunday.
President Jakaya Kikwete, next to President Bush, looks on as Bush greets a boy at a Tanzanian hospital Sunday.

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (CNN) – Call it the diplomatic version of a Shaq Attack.

As he seeks to strengthen ties to this African nation, President Bush gave his Tanzanian counterpart some large basketball sneakers autographed by Shaquille O'Neal, the NBA star recently traded from the Miami Heat to the Phoenix Suns.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush gave the gift Sunday to President Jakaya Kikwete, who is a huge sports fan and played basketball in his younger days. In turn, Bush received a stuffed leopard, a stuffed lion, a Zebra skin and a wood carving.

While I'm sure the "kicks" are sweet, that $700 million aid check that Bush turned over to Kikwete on Sunday is probably the diplomatic version of a slam dunk for Tanzania, which is planning to use most of the money for critical infrastructure needs.

– CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry

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