Huckabee's "apologies" for Bhutto death probably bad choice of words

December 28, 2007  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Weblog

Many bloggers are attacking GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee who, reacting to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, expressed "our sincere concern and apologies for what has happened in Pakistan." Apologize for what, they're asking.

I'm no Huckabee fan, but my first reaction was that Huckabee meant "regrets" or "sympathy" when he said "apologies." In many languages the same term is used for both of these words. For example, in German you can apologize or sympathize with an expression that translates to: "It's to my regret." In French, a way of saying "I regret it" as in "I regret we don't sell that type of photo film" translates literally to "I excuse myself."

Indeed, the Huckabee campaign later tried to explain he "intended to extend his deepest sympathies to the people of Pakistan when he used the word 'apologies.'" So he seems to realize that he made a faux pas even if he's not entirely sure why.