'Shut the mouth': Bush recalls early French lessons
Former US president George W. Bush, in memoirs out Tuesday, recalls early French lessons from his mother decades before US hostility towards France flared in the run-up to the Iraq war.
"I can still picture us riding through the desert with me repeating 'Ferme la bouche... ouvre la fenetre,'" Bush writes, in French, in the first chapter of "Decision Points." The words translate to "shut the mouth... open the window."
"If only Jacques Chirac could have seen me then," he quips, referring to the French leader who opposed the March 2003 invasion of Iraq and clashed with Bush on other issues before they cooperated on curbing Syrian influence in Lebanon.
Barbara Bush administered the lessons as she drove her eldest son to an orthodontist in his home state of Texas.
The 500-page memoirs take readers on a backstage tour of Bush's eight years at the White House -- as well as other key moments in his life, such as his decision to quit drinking alcohol and his 2000 run for the presidency.
© 2010 AFP