George H. W. Bush vomiting incident

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Frame from an ABC News video of First Lady Barbara Bush holding a napkin in front of President George H. W. Bush's face as he vomits.

On January 8, 1992, about 8:20 p.m JST, while attending a banquet hosted by the Prime Minister of Japan, Kiichi Miyazawa, U.S. President George H. W. Bush fainted, after vomiting in Miyazawa's lap.


On January 8, 1992, Bush was attending a state event for 135 diplomats held at the home of the Japanese Prime Minister, near the end of the President's 12-day trade-oriented trip through Asia. Earlier that day Bush had played a doubles tennis match in which the Emperor of Japan Akihito and his son the Crown Prince Naruhito beat Bush and his partner, a former U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Effects of the incident[edit]

The incident was widely reported,[1] coming just weeks before the New Hampshire Primary, and quickly became fodder for the nation's comedians. Footage of the President vomiting was broadcast on the ABC network. The incident was parodied by Saturday Night Live[2] with a mock documentary, with Barbara Bush trying to escape by crawling across the table, echoing the assassination of John F. Kennedy when Jacqueline Kennedy crawled across the rear of the limousine.

Shortly after the incident, an Idaho man, James Edward Smith, called CNN posing as the president's physician and claimed that Bush had died. A CNN employee entered the information into a centralized computer used by both CNN and sister network CNN Headline News, and Headline News nearly aired it before it could be verified. Smith was subsequently questioned by the Secret Service and hospitalized at a private mental health facility for evaluation.[3]

In Japan, even several years later, Bush was remembered for this event.[4] According to the Encyclopedia of political communication, "The incident caused a wave of late night television jokes and ridicule in the international community, even coining Bushu-suru (ブッシュする) which literally means 'to do the Bush thing'."[5]

In 1993, the incident was spoofed in the comedy film Hot Shots! Part Deux.[6] According to a 2007 listicle published by USA Today, the incident was one of the top "25 memorable public meltdowns that had us talking and laughing or cringing over the past quarter-century."[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wines, Michael (January 9, 1992). "Bush Collapses at State Dinner With the Japanese". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-09-28. Retrieved 2009-08-28. President Bush fell suddenly ill and collapsed at a state dinner being given for him Wednesday night at the home of the Japanese Prime Minister.
  2. ^
  3. ^ McDougal, Dennis (1992-01-10). "CNN Averts Hoax About Bush's 'Death'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  4. ^ Peter McKillop, "Letter from Japan: Back to the Future: Will George W. Bush carry on his father's (barfing) legacy?, Time Asia found at Time Asia archives Archived 2009-04-12 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed September 19, 2009.
  5. ^ Lynda Lee Kaid and Christina Holtz-Bacha, Encyclopedia of Political Communication, Volume 1, p. 72, (SAGE, 2008), ISBN 978-1-4129-1799-5, found at Google Books. Accessed September 19, 2009.
  6. ^ Kevin Jackson (August 16, 1993). "FILM / It's not hot and there's no shots in it: Hot Shots: Part Deux] is the latest exercise in movie parody from Jim Abrahams. Kevin Jackson met him". The Independent. Archived from the original on September 2, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  7. ^ "They did what, said what?". USA Today. May 7, 2007. Archived from the original on 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2017-08-28.