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Bush sorry about Queen's 'talking hat'

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WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Wednesday he is sorry Queen Elizabeth looked like a 'talking hat' on television at the White House welcoming ceremony, but he blamed his chief of protocol for the oversight.

The diminutive queen, resplendent in a royal purple outfit with a large brimmed straw hat with white stripes, could barely be seen above the lectern Tuesday morning when she gave a response to the president's welcoming remarks on the south lawn.

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Actually, as she spoke, cameras trained directly on her caught only the hat moving up and down, spurring references in the media the next day to the queen's 'talking hat.'

There was a small pedestal for the queen to stand on but no one pulled it out for her. Nor did anyone push a button raising the podium to a level where she could be seen as she spoke.

Asked why he didn't give the queen a step to stand on, Bush said, 'That's what we hired Joseph Reed for.'

First lady Barbara Bush also absolved her husband of any blame. She told reporters sharply, 'He (the president) doesn't need to apologize. It was someone else's job -- come on.'

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'Well, I feel bad I didn't (adjust the speaker's stand),' Bush said. 'But she stsrted to speak and I didn't realize how it would look from a straight angle, or I would have interrupted her. Because it wasn't fair to her and I'm just sorry that it was overlooked.'

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