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Barbra quotes the wrong bard

Los Angeles, Oct 2 (Reuters): Singer Barbra Streisand came to praise Shakespeare, not to misquote him. But the course of politics never did run smooth.

Two days after blistering President George W. Bush over a threatened war on Iraq with what she called “the words of William Shakespeare,” Streisand admitted yesterday that she had inadvertently quoted an Internet prankster instead of the beloved British Bard.

But the crooner and liberal political activist — who doth suffer the slings and arrows of Internet reporter Matt Drudge over the slip — said in a statement that she would stand by her remarks about Bush and the quotation, whoever wrote it.

“This was called to my attention last night and I’m putting a truth alert about that on my web site,” Streisand said in her statement.

“But it doesn't detract from the fact that the words themselves are powerful and true and beautifully written,” she said. “Whoever wrote this is damn talented and he should be writing his own play.”

The singer’s spokesman said Streisand, who delivered her fiery remarks during a Democratic fundraiser in Hollywood on Sunday, was given the quote by a friend who apparently found it on the Internet. Streisand, who sang a few of her standards at the fundraiser, paused during a rendition of The Way We Were to tell the crowd that she found Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney “frightening” for “bringing the country to the brink of war unilaterally five weeks before an election.”

According to Drudge, Streisand then said: “So, in the words of William Shakespeare, ‘Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervour, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood just as it narrows the mind.

“And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know' For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.”

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