(CNN) – A spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush apologized Sunday for mistakenly sending condolences for the passing of Nelson Mandela, even though the former South African president is alive and was discharged from the hospital later in the day.
Jim McGrath explained via Twitter that the statement he sent was the result of misreading the headline on a news flash from The Washington Post. "Stupid mistake by me. Apologies to all," he wrote.
At 5:16 a.m. ET, The Washington Post sent out a news alert with the headline: "Nelson Mandela discharged from hospital; condition still critical." McGrath sent out a statement "on the death of Nelson Mandela" shortly before 9 a.m. ET
"Barbara and I mourn the passing of one of the greatest believers in freedom we have had the privilege to know," read the first line of the e-mail.
Earlier in the day, McGrath at first defended the move saying he sent the statement based off a report from the news organization. "We have no independent verification of events in South Africa," he said in a statement to CNN.
But later he admitted to misreading the report and rushing to send out the condolences. He told The Washington Post in an interview that he misread the word "discharge."
"I apologize, because I know a put a lot of people into a modestly stressful position, which is never my intent for my friends in the media," McGrath said "So I'm sorry about that. A massive egg on my face, I'm so sorry."
Around noon, he again tweeted: "The mistake was mine and not the Bushes."
What a decent man. The Guns Over People Partial Government Tea potty whackos will call him a RINO now
Is sen levin THAT stupid? Before he votes yes, he'd darn we'll better figure out an exit strategy. Duh!
Bless his heart....as one who knows that age can be responsible for misspeaking due to confusion,,,I think he handled it with great dignity....At least as they say....."His heart was in the right place"
Another Bush, walking around or being rolled around with much to say, but nothing coherent. Same situation, just another day.
At first thought it was the one who usually puts his foot in his mouth without thinking.
The same thing happened with Bob Hope " Republicans "
weather is just fine here in my neck of the woods
When the time comes we all know what Bush 41's condolence message will be.
phony condolences and phony apology. he's got egg on his face for his life as a puppet politician and especially for his son, W worst president ever.