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The Canine in Conversation
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photograph of George W. Bush and Tony Blair
fogure 1  


poodle. One eager to take care of someone else's needs—either stated or anticipated—especially in order to maintain a position of privilege or status.

In the run up to the second Gulf War, British Prime Minister Tony Blair was derided by opponents for his apparent deference to U.S. President Bush. Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, whom the BBC reports as repeating a common statement, put it this way, “Tony Blair is no more than George Bush's poodle.”reference 1 While this may seem like a largely British turn of phrase, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof was confident enough of the transparency of the meaning that he reported the taunt without any explanation.reference 2



1. Assinder, Nick. 2003. Blair Battles “Poodle” Jibes. BBC News Online. Accessed Jul 8 2003 from http:// 1/ hi/ uk_politics/ 2721513.stm.

2. Kristof, Nicholas D. 2003. In Blair We Trust. New York Times, Jul 8, A27.
About the illustration: Tony Blair, mocked by Britons as a poodle, welcoming President Bush to England in July 2001.reference 3 Whatever he may have done to get himself called this particular name, it was not based on his looks in any obvious way. Though his hair does get a bit poofy sometimes, it does not curl. It is interesting to speculate what is being said in this exchange. Is Bush saying, “Down boy, down”?

This image is a work of a U.S. employee, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image or file is in the public domain.

3. United States. Office of the President. 2001. Press Conference by President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair. United States. President. Press Office. Accessed Jul 8 2003 from http:// /news/ releases/ 2001 /07/ 20010719-5.html.
see also: poodle (hair); poodle skirt
lap dog; minx; bitch
Last updated: July 10, 2008
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