Obama Shares Some Bad Advice He Received

By Heyl, Eric | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 21, 2011 | Go to article overview

Obama Shares Some Bad Advice He Received


Heyl, Eric, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Memo obtained under the federal Freedom of Imagination Act:

To: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

From: President Barack Obama

Re: Language barrier

Hillary,

I appreciate the State Department compiling a list of phrases to help me communicate with Chinese President Hu Jintao in his native language.

While some of them were quite helpful, I believe others prevented me from developing a real rapport with Hu during his visit to Washington this week. He did not seem to react favorably to the following phrases:

Chinese: "Wmen de guoji yu geng du de xingsi zh chu b n de xingxiang. Wmen meiyu name da de zhngt kux'ng de dngxi n, dan wmen quesh' xwang waterboard ren sh'bush'."

English: "Our nations have more in common than you might think. We're not as big on the whole torture thing as you are, but we do like to waterboard people every now and then."

Chinese: "N weisheme qiaobuq miyuan, xioni?"

English: "Why you dissing the dollar, shorty?"

Chinese: "N yu meiyu kan dao chong pi de 'qng fng xia" le ma? N znme kan de jihuo shu' banyn jiteng? …

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