WASHINGTON – President Bush wants the story of his vanishing watch to disappear.
Video coverage of Bush's wild stop in Albania over the weekend showed that Bush's watch seemed to disappear from his wrist as he greeted the locals. That led Albanian and U.S. media — and buzzing Web sites — to raise questions about whether the watch had been swiped.
The White House said the watch was not stolen, and that Bush instead had put it in his pocket.
Just to prove the point, Bush showed he was wearing a watch in the Oval Office on Wednesday. Photographers captured the moment.
"I have never seen such a ludicrous story," Bush said of the media's coverage. "Unbelievable."
Later, spokesman Tony Snow confirmed, "That is, in fact, the watch he was wearing in Albania."
The bit of mystery happened near the end of Bush's eight-day trip to Europe.
He was met by a rapturous crowd of people in Fushe Kruje, 15 miles north of Tirana, in Albania. People grabbed him by the arms and wrists, and even ruffled his hair. Bush was clearly delighted by the attention. He was the first U.S. president to visit the country.