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President Bush Calls Zimbabwe Vote a 'Sham'

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President Bush Calls Zimbabwe Vote a 'Sham'

President Bush Calls Zimbabwe Vote a 'Sham'

President Bush Calls Zimbabwe Vote a 'Sham'

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

President Bush Wednesday joined the chorus of international criticism of the regime of Robert Mugabe. Bush condemned Mugabe for carrying out a campaign of violence against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's supporters.

BILL WOLFF: From NPR News in New York, this is the Bryant Park Project.

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Overlooking historic Bryant Park at midtown Manhattan, live from NPR Studios, this is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. News, information, delicious, nutritious Planter's peanuts. I'm Mike Pesca.


And I'm Rachel Martin. It's Thursday, June 26th, 2008.

PESCA: That was subtle product placement.

MARTIN: Yes, it was. Subtle? Hm, maybe not so much.

PESCA: Well, how about the Bryant Park? They pay us. We don't really disclose that. They pay us a hefty fee to mention their name...

MARTIN: They do not.

PESCA: Four times, the name of the show. So we'll talk a little bit about that. But you know, I heard - I was listening to the newscast just awhile ago and I heard the governor of California talk about something, a bad problem in his state and here's what he said.

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Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Republican, California): I know that the people that are selling all this stuff are going to go crazy now when I say that. But don't buy any of the fireworks. Don't go out and do fireworks this year.

MARTIN: You can hardly contain yourself when you hear him speak!

PESCA: Look, all I know is that everything else being equal, just always elect the guy that you can do a good impression of. He's so much fun. I agree with the guy, but can't you just see him going on this long rip?

(As Arnold Schwarzenegger) I have dodged many a fireball in my career. I think it was during "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" when I went in the motorcycle to the conflagration. This is nothing to joke about.

I mean, it's a terrible impression. It's just fun to do, and I worry about the two men running for president. Are they distinctive enough? Are they imitate-able enough?

MARTIN: So you would support a constitutional amendment that would've allowed Schwarzenegger to run?

PESCA: (As Arnold Schwarzenegger) Definitely!

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: (As Dana Carvey) As I swear in, I have two platforms, one, universal healthcare, and two, fireworks. Do not buy them unless they are set off by a professional.

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PESCA: I'm not doing Schwarzenegger. I'm doing Hans and Franz.

MARTIN: Oh, yeah. That was what it was.

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PESCA: I'm doing Reiner Wolfcastle from "The Simpsons."

(As Reiner Wolfcastle) And I apologize if I've offended you.

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PESCA: All right, also on the show, environmentalists - the girly men - have been saying it for years. The Florida Everglades are hurting. Earlier this week, the state of Florida announced plans to buy 108,000 acres of Everglades, buy it back from sugarcane producers, restore the wetlands, and we'll hear from the Everglades themselves, or at least an ecologist, about what the deal means.

MARTIN: So, you know, when you're watching "Two and a Half Men," or...

PESCA: Never done that.

MARTIN: Or one of your favorite TV shows...

PESCA: Not one of them.

MARTIN: One of the characters seems to be enjoying a Snapple a little bit too much.

PESCA: Yeah.

MARTIN: Maybe twisting the label so it shows more directly into the camera. Well, the FCC may be cracking down on that stealth product placement on television. We'll hear all about it from a Wall Street Journal reporter. The Wall Street Journal, that's where I get all the news that matters to me.

PESCA: Rachel, are you reading you Wall Street Journal? Because I enjoy reading the Wall Street Journal. Wall Street Journal, now including the jumble. So, yeah, good paper.

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PESCA: We'll also talk about the Brooklyn duo, the Quavers. They call what they do porch-techno. We call it awesome. They'll perform a few songs for us and we'll get today's headlines in just a minute, but first...

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(Soundbite of speech)

President GEORGE W. BUSH: The people of Zimbabwe deserve better.

PESCA: President Bush yesterday, adding to the international pressure on Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, to postpone his country's presidential runoff election.

MARTIN: The president called tomorrow's scheduled election a "sham," and criticized Mugabe for carrying out a campaign of violence against supporters of opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

(Soundbite of speech)

Pres. BUSH: You can't have free elections if a candidate is not allowed to campaign freely and his supporters aren't allowed to campaign without fear of intimidation. The Mugabe government has been intimidating the people on the ground in Zimbabwe, and this is an incredibly sad development.

PESCA: Speaking today in Japan, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice echoed an ultimatum laid out by many world leaders. If Mugabe accepts Tsvangirai's offer to discuss a power-sharing agreement before tomorrow's elections, there is hope. If Mugabe proceeds with the election and declares victory, no legitimate government is possible.

MARTIN: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he'd push for new European Union sanctions against Mugabe's government. Addressing Parliament yesterday, Brown said Britain will support African leaders who stand up to the regime.

(Soundbite of speech)

Prime Minister GORDON BROWN (Great Britain): We will stand alongside African leaders who do not accept the legitimacy of the election and who do not accept the legitimacy of the regime and the criminal cabal surrounding President Mugabe.

PESCA: Some of those leaders met yesterday in Swaziland and called for Mugabe to postpone the runoff and to negotiate with the opposition party.

MARTIN: But some say action from African countries has been too slow in coming. U.S. presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, signaled out one nation, saying it needs to do more.

(Soundbite of press conference)

Senator BARACK OBAMA (Democrat, Illinois): In particular, other African nations, including South Africa, I think, have to be much more forceful in condemning the extraordinary violence that has been taking place there. And frankly, they have been quiet for far too long.

PESCA: And for its part, South Africa yesterday said it has sent a top negotiator to Harare to talk through the government's options, including calling off the election.

MARTIN: Speaking separately in London, former South African President Nelson Mandela spoke out on the crisis for the first time, delivering a short but pointed rebuke.

(Soundbite of speech)

Former President NELSON MANDELA (South Africa): We had seen the outbreak of violence against fellow Africans in our own country and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighboring Zimbabwe.

PESCA: Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's opposition leader is disavowing the commentary that appeared under his name, calling for U.N. peacekeepers in the country. Morgan Tsvangirai says he didn't write the essay that appeared in yesterday's edition of the British newspaper the Guardian. An aide says the party is trying to figure out how the commentary was given under Tsvangirai's name.

MARTIN: You can go to throughout the day for updates on this story. Now let's get more of the day's news headlines with the BPP's Matt Martinez.

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