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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush donned a cowboy hat and sang an early goodbye to Washington on Saturday night with a performance that lampooned White House journalists and Vice President Dick Cheney among others.
Bush surprised cabinet secretaries, diplomatic officials and journalists at the annual Gridiron dinner by taking the stage and giving the first public singing performance of his eight-year presidency, which ends in January 2009.
To the tune of country song "Green Green Grass of Home," Bush sang of longing for his ranch in Crawford, Texas and his dog Barney.
"And there to meet me is my mama and my papa, down the lane I look and here comes Barney, heart of gold and breath like honey; it's good to touch the brown brown grass of home."
Bush, singing only slightly off key, then turned to some of the long-term members of his team including Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"For there's Condi and Dick, my old compadre, talking to me about some oil rich Saudi, but soon I'll touch the brown brown grass of home."
"That old White house is behind me, I am once again carefree, don't have to worry 'bout a crisis in Pyongyang. Down the lane I look, Dick Cheney is strolling with documents he'd been withholding, it's good to touch the brown brown grass of home."
Bush told the audience, which erupted in applause and gave him a standing ovation, that they had witnessed "the first and final performance of George Bush and the Busharoos."
The Gridiron Club holds an annual dinner at which journalists put on songs and skits lampooning Democrats and Republicans alike.
Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Stuart Grudgings