Clinton apologizes for Irish 'metaphor'
October 8, 1999
Web posted at: 6:12 p.m. EDT (2212 GMT)
WASHINGTON -- President Bill Clinton apologized Friday for comparing participants in the Northern Ireland peace process to a couple of Irish drunks.
In a written statement, Clinton said, "Earlier today, in a discussion of the Irish peace process, I used a metaphor that was inappropriate, I want to express my regret for any offense my remark caused."
Clinton, whose ancestors came from Ireland, made the analogy in Ottawa, Canada. At the dedication of the new U.S. Embassy Clinton said the two sides in the Northern Ireland matter had faltered because they were like "a couple of drunks" who can't leave the bar.
"I spent an enormous amount of time trying to help the people in the land of my forebears in Northern Ireland get over 600 years of religious fights," said the president. "And every time they make an agreement to do it, they're like a couple of drunks walking out of the bar for the last time. When they get to the swinging door, they turn right around and go back in and say 'I just can't quite get there.'"
The audience laughed.
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Friday, October 8, 1999