Just hours after US President George W. Bush suffered a fainting fit induced by a pretzel, industry representatives rushed to defend the safety of the 1,400-year-old baked snack.

Bush, who is currently leading the global war against terrorism, fainted briefly on Sunday while watching football on television in his White House residence. The attack was apparently induced by a decrease in heart rate, caused by coughing after he choked on a pretzel.

Anxious to assure consumers that pretzels are not the latest threat to national security, spokeswoman Ann Wilkes from the Alexandria, Va-based Snack Food Association told reporters: “First, let me say that we’re grateful that the president is all right […] But we’re also glad to know that he enjoys savoury snacks.”

“Pretzels are not usually singled out as being a choking hazard,” she added: “Any solid food can be dangerous.”

Bluffton-based Pretzels Inc. is also putting a positive spin on the president’s misfortune. Spokesman Bill Huggins commented: “Well, we’re happy that the president likes pretzels.”

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Across the Atlantic, the Daily Telegraph thought that the incident could boost Bush’s popularity: “What is so comforting is that here is a president who finds himself conducting an international war against terrorism, with great competence, but who still finds the time to while away his Sunday evenings in front of the box, watching football and munching pretzels.

“He has shown himself, once again, to be completely in tune with the tastes and instincts of the people he leads.”