Our illustrious leaders! 8*Feb 18, 10:45 am ET
MADRID (Reuters) - Jeb Bush came to Madrid looking forward to trade ties but ended up looking back to the violent past, mistakenly calling Spain a republic.
In the kind of gaffe his brother George has been famed for, the governor of Florida temporarily forgot King Juan Carlos I as he complimented Jose Maria Aznar, the prime minister whose title in Spanish is president of the government.
"I would like to finish by thanking the president of the Republic of Spain for his friendship with the United States," Bush told reporters in fluid, Miami-accented Spanish.
Spain has not been a republic since the late 1930s, when General Francisco Franco crushed Republican troops in the Civil War. His nationalist dictatorship, on paper a kingdom for most of its life, lasted until his death in 1975, when Spain became a constitutional monarchy.
Jeb Bush need not worry his faux pas will damage relations.
His older brother George W. Bush referred to Aznar as "Anzar" ahead of his first visit to Spain as U.S. president in 2001, but the two became personal friends and close allies.
President Bush, accused by opponents of having a shaky grasp on geography, has also famously referred to Greeks as Grecians.
Spanish historian Juan Pablo Fusi, however, was less forgiving of Jeb Bush's slip-up, calling it a "foolish and grotesque error."