BRUSSELS — Vice President George Bush apologized Saturday for a remark suggesting that the expertise of Soviet military tank mechanics would be welcomed by U.S. auto makers in Detroit.
"I wish I'd never said it," Bush said. "If I offended anyone, I apologize."
Bush said his comment, made in off-the-cuff remarks to reporters Friday, was meant to be humorous, "but it's not coming out right. . . . So, hey, give me a break. I didn't mean anything by it."
Bush, who will announce his candidacy for the presidency on Oct. 12, delivered the apology at a Brussels press conference at the conclusion of a six-nation tour of Europe. (Later, he flew to the United States, landing during an afternoon downpour at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington.)
The United Auto Workers Union had reacted indignantly to the vice president's remark and demanded an apology.
Discussing his meetings with Western European leaders, Bush said he had received "unanimous support" for the intermediate nuclear force reductions the United States is negotiating with the Soviet Union.