Bush takes a tumble


Last updated at 12:19 24 May 2004

In metaphorical terms, he has looked wounded for months.

Yesterday President Bush gave the word a more literal take... after falling off his pushbike.

His tumble, near the end of a 17-mile ride on his Texas ranch, left him with what a White House bulletin reported as "minor abrasions and scratches on his chin, upper lip, nose, right hand and both knees".

The accident did not come at the best time for the president. He now faces making a "major global TV address" tonight outlining his strategy for the handover of power in Iraq with either sticking plaster or heavy make-up hiding a graze on his chin.

But at least he has previous experience of picking himself up and dusting himself down.

A year ago he went flying over the handlebars of a scooter when it stalled under the glare of the cameras. In January 2002 he passed out after choking on a pretzel and appeared the next day with a big red mark on his cheek.

Mr Bush joins a long line of accident-prone presidents.

Jimmy Carter collapsed during a promotional jog through the streets of Washington as part of his campaign to encourage older men to exercise. He had to be taken back to the White House in an ambulance.

On another occasion, after a speech on the environment, Mr Carter went fishing in a rowing boat on a pond. When a rabbit fell into the pond and desperately began swimming, the president picked up an oar and clubbed it to death in front of TV cameras.

Gerald Ford also had his share of misfortune. Playing golf after delivering a speech on child abuse his first drive veered way off course and hit a small boy in the crowd.

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