President Bush, Roseanne trade barbs in anthem flap


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The flap over Roseanne Barr's shrill rendition of the national anthem at a baseball game evolved into a federal case Friday with President Bush calling it 'disgraceful' and Barr acidly wondering if he could have sung it any better.

'I'm sorry I didn't sing so good,' the comedienne said during a raucous news conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. 'But I'd like to hear him (Bush) sing it.'


Barr was roundly booed when she screeched her way through the 'Star Spangled Banner' before the second game of a double-header between the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

Bush, talking to reporters aboard Air Force One during a flight Friday to his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, said: 'It was disgraceful.'

'That is the way I feel about it,' Bush said, 'and I think a lot of San Diego fans said the same thing.'


After her singing, Barr spat on the ground and grabbed her crotch, which many fans considered an insult to the national anthem. But at Friday's news conference, she said she had simply been trying to amuse the baseball players and parody their penchant for spitting and adjusting their protective cups.

'I thought that it would be very funny,' she said.

'None of this was meant viciously. Nobody feels worse than me,' Barr said.

Before her 20-minute news conference started, her enraged husband, Tom Arnold, demanded that photographers for tabloid newspapers leave the room. He then focused his anger at a photographer without press credentials who identified himself as Kip Rano of American Photo Syndicate.

Rano initially refused to budge, but he left when three Beverly Hills policemen arrived and said he would be subject to a citizen's arrest if he stayed.

Barr and Arnold, who were both fairly subdued once the news conference started, said they planned to file suit next week against several tabloid newspapers over allegedly untruthful articles.

'I'm not going to take it any more,' she said.

Barr said the lesson she learned from the anthem debacle was to limit her public appearances in the future.


'From now on, I'm going to concentrate on the (TV) show and not leave myself unprotected,' she said.

Barr stressed several times that she had called the news conference because she wanted the controversy to disappear. She also claimed she had received widespread support along with the brickbats.

'I've had hundreds of phone calls from people that say, 'What is the big deal they're making out of this?'' she said.

'You're treating me like I rode (an enemy) tank in North Vietnam,' Barr said. 'I want it to stop. I don't want to be like run out of town on a rail, that Jane Fonda right-wing frenzy stuff.'

Barr said she had expected to be well received for her performance, which was part of a special 'Working Women's Night' promotion, but considered stopping a few seconds after starting because of the boos.

'It took all the guts I had to finish,' she said. 'I'm sorry that people are appalled and that this is the worst thing they've ever heard.'

Barr said she has been taking singing lessons and has been singing as part of her stage act.

'There's a lot of people that sing like me in this country. I have the right to sing the 'Star Spangled Banner' too,' she said.


She also said that the incident has not soured her on baseball and she remains a Padres fan. 'I really love baseball,' she said.

Latest Headlines