German Paper Runs George H.W. Bush Obituary

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 31 2012 1:31 PM

German Paper Mistakenly Runs George H.W. Bush Obituary, Calls Him "The Better Bush"

George H.W. Bush obituary
The "colorless" former president at a golf match in September.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

George H.W. Bush is on the mend, but a famous German newspaper mistakenly bumped him off on Sunday, briefly publishing online an unfinished obituary of America's 41st president.

The mistake came after an editor at Der Spiegel apparently misconstrued a Bush family spokesperson's statement that the 88-year-old had been moved out of intensive care Saturday. Bush was hospitalized in November for a cough, then moved to intensive care on Dec. 23 when he developed a fever. By Friday, though, his condition had improved, and on Saturday he was deemed well enough to leave the ICU.

Der Spiegel's obituary appeared only for a few minutes before it was taken down, and the paper apologized via Twitter for the error. But screenshots show that the respected weekly's take on the former president wasn't exactly glowing. Titled "The Better Bush," the obituary dubbed H.W. a "colorless politician" whose White House tenure looked good only in comparison to that of his bumbling son.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer. Email him at or follow him on Twitter.

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