09/01/2013 11:30 am ET

George H.W. Bush Spokesman Apologizes For Nelson Mandela Statement


A spokesman for former President George H.W. Bush apologized after mistakenly issuing a statement on the death of Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who was discharged from the hospital on Sunday.

Jim McGrath, a spokesman for Bush, told the Washington Post on Sunday that he had misread a news alert on Mandela's condition from the Washington Post and rushed to get a statement out.

According to USA Today, the statement read:

"Barbara and I mourn the passing of one of the greatest believers in freedom we have had the privilege to know. As President, I watched in wonder as Nelson Mandela had the remarkable capacity to forgive his jailers following 26 years of wrongful imprisonment — setting a powerful example of redemption and grace for us all. He was a man of tremendous moral courage, who changed the course of history in his country. Barbara and I had great respect for President Mandela, and send our condolences to his family and countrymen."

“I just made a very stupid mistake, I’m very sorry about that. My apologies to everyone at The Washington Post,” McGrath told the Post. “I apologize, because I know a put a lot of people into a modestly stressful position, which is never my intent for my friends in the media .. So I'm sorry about that. A massive egg on my face, I'm so sorry.”

Mandela, who had been hospitalized since June with a recurring lung infection, returned to his home in Johannesburg on Sunday. He remains in critical condition.



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