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Bush's hair joke falls flat

EL DORADO, Ark. -- President Bush has a penchant for dishing out good-natured insults, and usually the victim laughs along. But Sammie Briery didn't seem much amused when Bush fired one at her yesterday.

Bush was wrapping up a town hall-style appearance at South Arkansas Community College when he let the jest fly.

"You and my mother go to the same hair-dye person," Bush said to Briery, whose blondish bob bore little resemblance to Barbara Bush's shock of white hair. The audience in the gymnasium laughed, and Briery smiled, but replied firmly: "President Bush, I'm a natural blonde."

"Oh, yes," Bush agreed.

"I'm just a natural blonde," she repeated.

"I couldn't help myself, sorry," Bush shrugged.

With that, he turned to Bob Watson, superintendent of the El Dorado Public Schools -- who had opened the meeting by inadvertently insulting Bush.

"Governor -- excuse me, President," Watson had said.

Bush muttered, "How quickly they forget."

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