Republican George Bush stunned an American Legion convention Wednesday by mistakenly saying Sept. 7 marked the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that led America into World War II.Bush opened the day in Louisville with a speech before about 6,000 veterans at their 70th annual meeting.
Departing from his prepared remarks, Bush said, "I wonder how many Americans remember today is Pearl Harbor Day. Forty-seven years ago to this very day we were hit and hit hard at Pearl Harbor and we were not ready.
"In a Bush administration that lesson would not be forgotten," said Bush, who was a Navy flier decorated for combat missions during the war. "It would guide my defense and foreign policy."
The words were barely out of his mouth before the crowd turned uneasy. A buzz of mumurs rose among the audience as Legionnaires began whispering about it. "I thought nobody would forget that date," one veteran commented to another.
A minute after his mistake, Bush stopped dead in his speech, alerted by the stir in the audience and people waving at him over his error.
"Did I say Sept. 7th? Sorry about that," Bush said, adding quickly that the correct date of the attack was Dec. 7, 1941. The audience applauded his correction and generally gave him a warm, polite reception.