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Bush Jokingly Blasts Aides For Posing for Comic Strip Photo

August 8, 1989

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush jokingly pronounced himself furious Tuesday with senior White House aides for posing for a gag photo, straight from the Doonesbury comic strip, depicting the president as an invisible leader.

The photo’s inscription read: ″To President Skippy. From the gang that sees through you.″

Waving the picture round in mock anger, Bush said it should have read, ″The gang that used to work here.″

The picture showed Chief of Staff John Sununu, National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, Deputy National Security Adviser Robert Gates and a fourth, unidentified person sitting around Bush’s desk in the Oval Office, staring at an empty chair.

″I’m furious at him,″ Bush said of White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater, even though Fitzwater was not in the picture. ″Just take a look. Read the inscription.″

He quipped, ″This is a vicious assault on my presidency.″

Bush is a frequent target of criticism from Doonesbury’s creator, Garry Trudeau. Lampooning Bush, Trudeau pictures the president as being invisible and portrays his imaginary, evil twin brother known as ″Skippy.″

Bush has made no secret that he’s no fan of Trudeau. The artist was excluded from the invitation list when Bush invited cartoonists to lunch.

Bush’s brief appearance in the White House press room caused a stampede of cameramen and photographers. The president retreated from the room when reporters tried to turn it into a question and answer session.

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