NEW YORK – With a group of New York City elementary school students standing behind him, President Bush touted higher national test scores by proudly declaring: “Childrens do learn.”
Oops. He did it again.
Malapropisms are never good. And Bush, who once famously asked, “Is our children learning?” knows that all too well.
But Wednesday’s foot-in-mouth verbal gaffe was particularly egregious because, well, it was an education event, and the backdrop behind the president read, “No child left behind,” and the audience included U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and, to top it off, first lady Laura Bush.
For the record, the first lady, a former public-school teacher and librarian, didn’t appear to flinch when the president said, “As yesterday’s positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.”
Bush followed with another cringe-worthy slip-up: “Congress needs to work with this administration to pass legislation that helps gives (sic) our children the education they deserve.”
At the event, held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, Bush lauded Bloomberg, a recent defector from the Republican Party. “The mayor is a no-nonsense guy who understands that if you set a goal, you expect to see results in achieving that goal,” Bush said. “He knows how to ask tough questions, and he’s pretty good about moving aside bureaucracy that will inhibit the people he has selected to achieve the goal.”