Press Releases

The Old Routine: Hu’s on First

By Robert Marsh
Friday December 29, 2006

The Scene: The WHITE HOUSE GREEN ROOM. The PRESIDENT is briefed by his PROTOCOL OFFICER just before the summit meeting with the leaders of China, Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao and Zhu Rong Ji. 


P.O.: Well, Mr. Preident, there are several players besides yourself a this summit conference. 

Pres.: Look, if you’re the Protocol Officer you must know all the players. 

P.O.: I certainly do. 

Pres.: Well, you know I’ve never met the guys, so you’sll have to tell me thier names and when each of us goes on. You know, it seems to me they give these Chinese leaders nowadays very peculiar names. 

P.O.: Well, let’s see, in order of appearance, Hu’s on first... 

Pres.: That’s what I want to find out. 

P.O.: I said Hu’s on first, Wen, he’s on second, and Zhu... 

Pres.: Look, you’re the Protocol Officer and you don’t know the fellows’ names? 

P.O.: Well, I should. 

Pres.: Well then, who’s on first?  

P.O.: Yes. 

Pres.: I mean the fellow’s name. 

P.O.: Hu. 

Pres. The guy on first. 

P.O.: Hu is on first. 

Pres.: I’m asking you who’s on first. 

P.O.: That’s the man’s name. 

Pres.: That’s who’s name? 

P.O.: Yes, Hu. Wen, he’s on second. 

Pres.: When who’s on second? 

P.O.: No, Hu’s on first; Wen he’s on second. 

Pres.: Who’s on first when he’s on second? 

P.O.: Yes. 

Pres.: Well, um. I am on third? 

P.O.: No, Zhu is on thrd. 

Pres.: I is on third! So I was right when I said: “Is our children learning?”