Former President George W Bush has released a press statement admitting his entire presidency was a protracted practical joke. The shocking admission came after Bush was spotted exiting the well known Betty Ford rehab centre late Friday evening.
In the statement, Bush claims "I honestly didn't think it would go on so long. I was put up to it by old frat buddies and, well, I guess once it gathered momentum I didn't know how to stop it."
According to sources close to the recently departed President his candid statement is entirely sincere, and Bush is serious in his desire to come clean to the American people and the world.
The statement, released on Bush's official website and due to be published in February's Playboy, gives a startling insight into the mind of a man who held the most powerful post in world politics.
"I won't say I didn't enjoy myself, but God, when I think of some of the things I pulled I feel kind of bad. You know, guilty. I honestly didn't think I'd ever win a single vote, let alone get elected twice. You'd think people would have guessed it was kind of a joke.
I kept trying to do more and more bizarre things, but everybody just took it so seriously. I realise some people might be a little upset with all the confuserations and, you know, the thousands of deaths and all. But I just ask the American people to open their hearts to forgive. And I also say that if you take a long look at me and my Presidency, can you honestly tell me some part of you didn't know it was a prank?"
George W Bush is expected to undergo a speaking tour of Starbucks branches towards the end of this year. Security is expected to be tight.
The former President also released details of his plans to repair some of the damage he's done to world affairs.
"I have caused a few problems. I accept my responsibility. I have two ways I'm willing to give something back, after I have taken so much. In reparation I've come up with a road map for peace in Scandinavia. It's the best I could come up with. I mean I didn't want to go near the Middle East again, not after what happened last time. You'd be surprised how bad tempered the Swedes can get. I believe we can have even more peace in Scandinavia within the next 10 years.
Secondly. I'm willing to sell half of the stuff I don't use any more on Ebay. People have said to me, 'George, how is that going to make up for the death and descruction you've caused?'
Honestly I don't know, but i made up these plans pretty quickly and I do have a load of junk I'm not going to be needing. It will certainly give me more room in my den."
The statement descends into crude humour and obscenity after this extract. Political web blogs have also been rife with speculation over the meaning of a crudely drawn penis which is visible over much of the statement.
Bush hasn't made an official public appearance since the release of the statement, but today eyewitnesses reported seeing a man fitting his description skateboarding down Capital Hill wearing "Hippy beads and a kind of hat or headscarf."