The Bush dog joke you never heard
July 18th, 2014
04:54 PM ET
8 years ago

The Bush dog joke you never heard

(CNN) - In a draft speech prepared for President Bill Clinton’s appearance at the 1997 Alfalfa Club dinner, a speechwriter’s joke went too far for someone in the White House.

“Socks has been a [sic] exemplary first pet; I don’t want to disparage Millie but some have described her as – well it starts with ‘B’ and rhymes with ‘witch’,” read the joke.


However, it was crossed out of the draft and it appears Clinton never used the quip in his speech, according to previously confidential memos and drafts released by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library on Friday.

Read the Clinton documents

Socks was the Clintons’ cat while they lived in the White House. Millie was George H.W. and Barbara Bush’s dog. The Clintons later acquired a dog named Buddy.

The joke invokes memory of comments Barbara Bush made in 1984 about Geraldine Ferraro, the then-Democratic vice presidential nominee. Bush joked that Ferraro was a "four-million-dollar – I can't say it, but it rhymes with rich." She later apologized, saying she meant to imply Ferraro was a "witch."


Filed under: Barbara Bush • Bill Clinton
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Silence DoGood

    You know there will be a comment somewhere here that reasons that a crossed out joke by Bill Clinton in 1997 means that Hillary Clinton will become a socialist dictator if elected president. If only there wasn't some bigger news story going on in the world....

    July 18, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. Fair is Fair

    Silence DoGood

    You know there will be a comment somewhere here that reasons that a crossed out joke by Bill Clinton in 1997 means that Hillary Clinton will become a socialist dictator if elected president.
    You DO have a flair for the dramatic, Silence... but it's just projection as usual.

    July 18, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    Very pathetic. These idiots raise pets while killing innocents and draining national treasury. Shame to the world–quit this kids stuff.

    July 18, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Starman

    And now the GOP ragers angerly claim Obama should be impeached because liberals like cats better then dogs!

    July 18, 2014 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. ted

    I was thinking that the joke was on George W Bush and someone nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize for excellence in governing.

    July 18, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. bassman

    Seeing the picture of Pres. Bush reminds me of what it means to serve with dignity. I forgot what that feels like watching Pres. Obama.

    July 18, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. Exarach

    Whats the same between Monica L and Bush's dog? They both left stains on the White house Carpet.
    Thought that was the joke

    July 18, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |

    Now that right dare is funny :<) The ha ha kind . Have a great wkend .

    July 18, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Ol' Yeller

    It was crossed out because it isn't really even funny. The republicants would have howled like banshees (ha- like they don't every single friggin' day, but...) and would still be complaining about it today insisting it was what ruined the country (item #12,428,361.829 on their list of things Dems have done which have ruined 'their' country).
    Seeing this old picture of poppa bush and remembering what a poor excuse for a president he was.... but then thinking in retrospect and in comparison with the offerings put forth by the republicants today, he wasn't so bad at all.
    Compared to his son (giulp)... he was a genius, a statesman, and a reasonable individual. I'll bet he and barbara still regret what dubya has done to the family name... even the grandfather's association with the nazi party (this is historically accurate tom I, don't jump on here and blame me for the holocaust again) didn't do the damage he did.

    July 18, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Rick Thwaites

    Who cares! When are we going to get serious about news that affects us and leave the pop-culture spin to the night time comics. CNN is starting to resemble FOX and USA Today!

    July 18, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. Jack Granger

    I think Hillary is peaking too early and Elizabeth Warren will surpass her just like Obama did...just saying.

    July 18, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. joel bishop

    shows what kind of person he really is....

    July 18, 2014 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Tom l

    Wow. Just read the comments today. I didn't think it was possible but the gang is actually more belligerent than normal today. They are actually more confident about their stance that the average American agree with them than ever. They have no idea how far far left they are.

    July 18, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. HillClimber

    I would not believe a thing a Bush has ever said – a 41, 43, a Jeb, or any spouse or child.

    July 18, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. Bill inVA

    To Rick Thwaits….What do you mean CNN IS starting to look like Fox and USA today? Where have you been? Happened a long time ago. But that is OK. Just as long as Fox and CNN don't end up as MSNBC. Now that would be tragic.

    July 18, 2014 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  16. gahh

    To bad the Bushes didn't care about the American people, as much as they cared about their dogs. I remember when Bush 1, refused to raise the minimum wage for the poorest people in America, kind of like the Republicans are doing now.

    July 18, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. airjackie

    No news I see so we go back to Clinton basing. I'm sure the 4000 soldier who died in Iraq for the lies would have loved to live to read this article. But what is news is how well the Bush Doctrine is being used by Russia, Israel and now Syria is at it again. ISIS read the blue print Bush Doctrine made out by Dick Cheney and it seems to be popular with World leaders and Terrorist. The Foreign news said in 2003 if the UN did not stop the illegal Iraq invasion others would used the Bush policy. Bush is still in rehab and drawing Barnie while the family and friends tell him how great he is.

    July 18, 2014 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. nibirutruth

    I like Did's comment at the beginning. Excellent burn.

    July 18, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. John

    Dr. Peter Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
    Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?
    Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly.
    Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
    Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...
    Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!
    Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point!

    July 18, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  20. Dan

    Some might have gotten confused and thought he was talking about Hilary and not a dog

    July 18, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. HenryMason

    All time best was Laura Bush joking about dubya milking the bull.
    Steven Colbert's spin on that was epic.

    July 18, 2014 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. GossipGirl

    That's okay...The "elder" Bush got the final laugh. He unleashed that idiot son of his on the world for 8 years of hell. No ones laughing now...Are they?....

    July 18, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  23. I AM

    Well...that is the least of Bush’s statements ..but he’s right...dogs can be a witch...I’ve got one myself....

    July 18, 2014 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  24. W Grimes

    So the story includes Clinton and Bush but the headline in your home page only mentions Bush? And Barbara at that?

    July 19, 2014 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  25. Olaf Big

    The joke is a bit tired indeed. So, Bill, or somebody in his entourage dumped it. Does William J. Clinton presidential library contain anything more insightful than this? Guess not the right place to ask. CNN is not a brainy outfit these days.

    July 19, 2014 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
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