It smells of a really misguided piece of advice from one of Poppy's advisors, a way of making our president more populist, more accessible. This is for him to give nicknames to everyone around him, which even the nickname recipients often do not understand. These are from the New York Times Week in Review (Feb 18, 2001), but I'm sure some more will surface in the coming (help!) four years of Dubya presidency...

Attorney General John Ashcroft- Snake Hips
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld- Chickenman
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman- Pistol Pete
Secretary of State Colin Powell- Bubblefoot
First Lady Laura Bush- Stretch
Russian President Vladimir Putin- Ostrich Legs
Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman- Bullet
Vice President Dick Cheney- Hopalong, or alternatively, Crash-Dive

There is also an aid Frenchy, there are Knuckles, Bones, The Eskimo, Skeezix, The Undertaker, Stilts, and a cabinet member Spinach Man. And Bush has a friend named Darryl whom he calls The Big Goober. This is why we call him The Embarrassment.
W's penchant for assigning nicknames is not a bit of false populism, sadly. Perhaps symptomatic of his inability to take anything seriously or understand appropriate behavior. It goes back (at least) to his college days and his frat. It seems that it's his way of "connecting" to people. There are news mentions of the habit dating back to his time as Governor of Texas. I've worked with people like that. People like The Copy Guy. Interestingly, one of Bush's nicknames for Rove is "turd blossom".

According to news reports, most foreign leaders consider this "character trait" to be insulting.

Keepersoflists provides a counterperspective, with the top nicknames for Bush:
The Global Village Idiot
Mr. 'Strategery'
All your w are belong to us
Hail to the Thief!
Daddy's Boy
The Resident
The Shrub
The Chadmeister
Commandanter In Chieflyness
Richard Cheney (you said President, right?)
Eco Terrorist
Lord Vader
The Wimp in Chief

From (the challenge is to figure out which ones they made up, and which are real...):

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Today, in the interest of desecretizing my trademark approach to political bipartisanship and international diplomacy, I have assembled a comprehensive list of the folksy, affectionate monikers I bestow on those persons of whom my advisors wish me to be aware. They are as follows:



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