Photo-Op Hell

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Guitars and photo ops can make for a perilous political mix.

First there was George Bush, captured clowning around with a presidential guitar given to him by country music star Mark Wills on the day after Katrina hit, when the hurricane's victims could be seen on CNN screaming for help at the Superdome.

More recently, while on a trip secure South American cooperation in the War on Drugs, musically minded Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accepted the gift of a charango (an Andean ukulele) from Bolivian coca-farmer-cum-populist-president Evo Morales.

The two shared a good laugh as Rice strummed for photographers. But the joke was on Rice — who remained oblivious to the fact that the beautiful green inlay was actually made of lacquered leaves of the plant responsible for making Bolivia the world's number three producer of cocaine.

No word on whether the schedule-1 drug-laced instrument cleared customs.

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