Clock strike funnybone as Bush gifts Koizumi

President and Prime Minister share favorite film

Humor’s still apparently welcome at the White House, made clear earlier this week when President Bush privately gave Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi an unusual gift for heads of state: a poster of the Western classic “High Noon.”

Turns out the pic came up the first time the two leaders met at Camp David in June. Koizumi told the prez that “High Noon” was his favorite movie, and that he felt like Gary Cooper’s character when it came to public support among the Japanese people for his economic reform plan. The prime minister also made mention that the first President Bush was initially in the same boat as Cooper’s character when it came to the Persian Gulf War.

“High Noon,” helmed by Fred Zinnemann, came up again when Bush and Koizumi met again at an economic summit in Genoa, Italy. Ever fond of nicknames, Bush referred to Koizumi as “Cooper.”

In his visit with Bush at the White House on Tuesday, Koizumi made it clear that President Bush is definitely not a “Cooper,” and that Japan — among other countries — supports Bush’s new war on terrorism, a Japanese Embassy press officer said. “The prime minister has a great respect for President Bush, who faces a difficult challenge,” the embassy official said.

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