White House Red-Faced Over Berlusconi Gaffe

The White House has apologized for a biography of Silvio Berlusconi that calls the Italian leader "one of the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice." The bio was distributed at the G-8 summit.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

There was an embarrassing moment in Japan today at the G-8 Summit. In the past, President Bush has called Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi his good friend.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

But a briefing book distributed to G-8 reporters by the White House called Berlusconi one of the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice.

The bio, apparently copied from the Encyclopedia of World Biography, did not stop there. It went on calling Berlusconi, quote, "a political dilettante who gained his high office only through the use of his considerable influence on the national media."

BLOCK: Well, now, the White House takes it back. They issued this statement. We apologize to Italy and to the prime minister for this very unfortunate mistake.

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