Bush's Farcical Press Conference





Mr. Carpenter holds a Ph.D. in American History and is a syndicated columnist.

"Iraq's a dangerous place …

"It is dangerous in Iraq …

"It's dangerous in Iraq …

"It is dangerous in Iraq …

"I can't put it any more plainly. Iraq's a dangerous place. That's leveling. It is a dangerous place …

"Iraq's a danger place and I can't put it any more bluntly than that. I know it's a dangerous place …

"Iraq is dangerous."

Thus waxed elegant within the span of a couple minutes the leader of the free world last Tuesday. The occasion was his first press conference in months, a pitiable 48-minute event skulked midday in the Rose Garden.

The presidential performance again confirmed why no presidential aide would even think of putting the bossman in front of television cameras at any actually watched time of day. W.'s open-air ramblings were an embarrassment of simplistic repetition and all-too obvious mental straining, not to mention an unsightly temper, transparent deception, laughable contradictions, tawdry blame laying and frequent unintelligibility. He made one long for the flashy showmanship of Calvin Coolidge, the easy eloquence of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the simple honesty of Richard Nixon.

Illustration by Joshua Brown - historiansagainstwar.org

What's more, the president's wretched little show unfurled even under the best of sheltered circumstances; which is to say, the White House frowns on follow-up questions. That sort of thing simply isn't done in the Boy King's presence. So a compliant, obsequious press lobs soft balls his direction and W. lobs them back with an unaccountability that would curl the British hair of loyal oppositionists during Question Time.

Will the president cooperate with the independent commission investigating the administration's pre-9/11 screwups? Sure he will. Said W., "I want to be helpful" - a contention thrown a bit into question by his steadfast intransigence on the matter. It is, he continued, just that the requested documents (one of which reportedly warned of al Qaeda's plans to hijack airliners a full month before 9/11) would get "politicized."

Any reporter worth minimum wage would leap to point out to the president that, however inadvertently, he just confirmed the existence of damning evidence since, by his own admission, it is indeed "politicize-able." The reporter might also point out that in a free and open society these things do indeed get politicized. But sorry, next question. We must move along.

What great strides have we made in Iraq, ones worth hundreds of American lives? Let's see, beamed 43, one "very important achievement" has been the introduction of "a currency without the picture of the dictator." Understandably stunned, reporters of yesteryear might thereupon ask if that was some kind of sick joke. But sorry. Next question. Move along.

Who are the "suiciders" - as W. called them - causing so much death and destruction in Iraq? Ah, here's one to knock out of the park. "I would assume that they're either/or and probably both Ba'athists and foreign terrorists." Despite this revealed insight - especially the part of "either/or" - we might then want to know why billions spent on crack intelligence leaves the boss having to assume the cutthroats' identity. But no time for that, either/or.

Why is asking about troop levels a year from now a "trick question"? Why, just weeks after finally denying any connection between Saddam Hussein and September the 11th, do you, Mr. President, persist here again in connecting Saddam Hussein and September the 11th? How, Mr. President, can you say you're "focused on the security of the American people" when you spend as much time off the job as Al Capone in the 1930s?

In the absence of hard questions, one consolation is that George W. Bush wouldn't, or couldn't, answer them anyway. So perhaps it no longer matters that the press corps and White House have settled on a kind of "don't ask, don't tell" conspiracy. But one hopes no democracy-aspiring Iraqis were watching last week's presidential amateur hour - for the entire, sorry affair made the imitation of American-style governance of exceptionally dubious value.


© Copyright 2003 P. M. Carpenter

Mr. Carpenter's column is published weekly by History News Network and buzzflash.com.

Illustration by Joshua Brown.


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More Comments:


Michel - 11/23/2003

Bush blaming the military is sort of throwing a boomerang, isn't it? Or has Bush opted out as commander in chief?


George Oilwell - 11/9/2003

You could give Mr. Carpenter a run for his money; and that would be no mean feat, for sure.

Excellent, insightful, provocative, devastating portrait.

It wouldn't be right for you not to write...more.


John - 11/7/2003

the comment "I'm not sure what to say about GW Bush' raw intelligence, but the fact that he is one of the stupidest-looking people alive should have given more voters pause then it did" is all the proof I need to prove my initial point that this isn't about history at all.


F.H. Thomas - 11/6/2003


Actually, I think the Bush has passed through the traditional postwar bottom, and is back up a couple of ticks. As you know, Dear Josh, the economy is the central issue for presidential polls. It will be interesting to see how that factor plays out.






F.H. Thomas - 11/6/2003


Quite correct in your assessment; "Farting.." is improper in a title, regardless of provocation. At times an article will become so sublimely asinine that the lesser angels of my nature just take over, alas, and this was surely one of those times.

I admit it. I am human after all..





Kenneth P. Melvin - 11/6/2003

Tis the day of the idiot. Their turn. Naught to do but go with the flow. They have their president. Here in CA we have our freak and are damned proud of it. Why not? Any idiot can be president. Any freak governor. Bible thumping old testament christians have right of representation. As much as anyone else. We live in a democracy; nicht war? Let's be fair. St. Ayn Rand is too long past due.

How good was it of those fine citizens of Kentucky and Mississippi to assist the voting process? Progress are us. Fifties here we come. No stopping us now afore the at least 1890.


Barbara Cornett - 11/6/2003

you got that right Bert! This press conference most certainly is history and is appropriate for HNN to publish here. Its too bad that there is no excuse or defense for the dimwit who looks just like Alfred E Newman.

Would you follow this man into a war?

Remember when he said in a press conference that we invaded Iraq because Saddam wouldn't allow the inspectors in? I'd like to have some of whatever he's on, he always looks blissfully happy.

you think maybe he has fallen off the wagon or do you think he is a borderline retard? What about the people who supported and voted for him because he had name recognition? Do you think they might support Pamela Anderson because she has name recognition too plus they'd get a couple of bonuses with her in the White House? Do you think she knows where the Persian Gulf is?


David - 11/6/2003

Look how you imply Bush is some sort of a coward because he followed protocol on Air Force One during 9/11. Oh, but that means he's some sort of a scaredy cat. What a silly post. And then the following day, doing his duty as President to comfort the nation, in your eyes he's a hypocrite? Tell me, did Clinton really "feel your pain"? You probably think he did.

The rest of your post is equally silly. Not worth a response.


ken melvin - 11/6/2003

What is it about the Big Lie that so appeals to the rabid right? As bad or worse than communist Russia or China, this. Ah, but these are they who would co-opt the truth by accusing others of revising history as they co-opted anyone calling Bush a liar by labeling Gore so, etc. Ronnie was a genius (some think he was a WWII hero) who sword in hand astride a mighty battleship stopped Russia in its tracks (John Wayne was his second in command). Bush the brave hearted, circled for altitude on 9/11 then, the day after, sped to rescue the nation. Later, he posed aligned with the greats at Mt Rushmore in a setting no doubt thought up by the Lakota.

Begging the nation its prayers and faith in his wisdom, Bush struggled mightily with his decision to go to war with Iraq back in March of 03. Or was it August of 02? Or was it December of 01? But, at least, he was honest with the nation about why we must invade.

After defeating the destitute Army of a bankrupted nation with no Air Force or Navy; Brave Bush (he sometimes of the sleep well tonight Texas Air National Guard) landed on a USNavy Warship afore strutting to standing under a modest banner provided by the USNavy pilots no doubt awestruck by his bravery. There, atop the graves of a mere 200 American and 3,000 Iraqi this cockerel strutted. How modest. Today, he could strut over at least twice those numbers.


Bert Abramson - 11/6/2003

Good thing they rehearse the JACKASS 20 times before reading his pitiable speech. Otherwise he could not pronounce the words correctly


Barbara Cornett - 11/6/2003



Is the following found at http://slate.msn.com/id/76886/ history yet?

"The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the—the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice."—Washington, D.C., Oct. 27, 2003 (Thanks to Robert Hack.)

"[W]hether they be Christian, Jew, or Muslim, or Hindu, people have heard the universal call to love a neighbor just like they'd like to be called themselves."—Washington, Oct. 8, 2003 (Thanks to George Dupper.)

"See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."—Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 3, 2003

"[W]e've had leaks out of the administrative branch, had leaks out of the legislative branch, and out of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and I've spoken out consistently against them, and I want to know who the leakers are."—Chicago, Sept. 30, 2003

"Washington is a town where there's all kinds of allegations. You've heard much of the allegations. And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it. And that would be people inside the information who are the so-called anonymous sources, or people outside the information—outside the administration."—Chicago, Sept. 30, 2003 (Thanks to Andy Bowers.)

"[T]hat's just the nature of democracy. Sometimes pure politics enters into the rhetoric."—Crawford, Texas, Aug. 8, 2003 (Thanks to Inigo Thomas.)

"I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2003

"I'm so pleased to be able to say hello to Bill Scranton. He's one of the great Pennsylvania political families."—Drexel Hill, Penn., Sept. 15, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"We had a good Cabinet meeting, talked about a lot of issues. Secretary of State and Defense brought us up to date about our desires to spread freedom and peace around the world."—Washington, D.C., Aug. 1, 2003 (Thanks to Tanny Bear.)

"Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace."—Washington, D.C., July 25, 2003

"Our country puts $1 billion a year up to help feed the hungry. And we're by far the most generous nation in the world when it comes to that, and I'm proud to report that. This isn't a contest of who's the most generous. I'm just telling you as an aside. We're generous. We shouldn't be bragging about it. But we are. We're very generous."—Washington, D.C., July 16, 2003

"It's very interesting when you think about it, the slaves who left here to go to America, because of their steadfast and their religion and their belief in freedom, helped change America."—Dakar, Senegal, July 8, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"My answer is bring them on."—On Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces, Washington, D.C., July 3, 2003

"You've also got to measure in order to begin to effect change that's just more—when there's more than talk, there's just actual—a paradigm shift."—Washington, D.C., July 1, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"I urge the leaders in Europe and around the world to take swift, decisive action against terror groups such as Hamas, to cut off their funding, and to support—cut funding and support, as the United States has done."—Washington, D.C., June 25, 2003

"Iran would be dangerous if they have a nuclear weapon."—Washington, D.C., June 18, 2003

"Now, there are some who would like to rewrite history—revisionist historians is what I like to call them."—Elizabeth, N.J., June 16, 2003

"I am determined to keep the process on the road to peace."—Washington, D.C., June 10, 2003 (Thanks to Tanny Bear.)

"The true strength of America happens when a neighbor loves a neighbor just like they'd like to be loved themselves."—Elizabeth, N.J., June 16, 2003

"We are making steadfast progress."—Washington, D.C., June 9, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"I'm the master of low expectations."—Aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things."—Aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

"I recently met with the finance minister of the Palestinian Authority, was very impressed by his grasp of finances."—Washington, D.C., May 29, 2003

"Oftentimes, we live in a processed world—you know, people focus on the process and not results."—Washington, D.C., May 29, 2003

"I've got very good relations with President Mubarak and Crown Prince Abdallah and the King of Jordan, Gulf Coast countries."—Washington, D.C., May 29, 2003

"All up and down the different aspects of our society, we had meaningful discussions. Not only in the Cabinet Room, but prior to this and after this day, our secretaries, respective secretaries, will continue to interact to create the conditions necessary for prosperity to reign."—Washington, D.C., May 19, 2003

"First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill."—Washington, D.C., May 19, 2003

"We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants, and in so doing, we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure."—Crawford, Texas, May 3, 2003 (Thanks to Tony Marciniec.)

"We've had a great weekend here in the Land of the Enchanted."—Albuquerque, N.M., May 12, 2003 (New Mexico's state nickname is "Land of Enchantment.")

"We've got hundreds of sites to exploit, looking for the chemical and biological weapons that we know Saddam Hussein had prior to our entrance into Iraq."—Santa Clara, Calif., May 2, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"I think war is a dangerous place."—Washington, D.C., May 7, 2003

"I don't bring God into my life to—to, you know, kind of be a political person."—Interview with Tom Brokaw aboard Air Force One, April 24, 2003

"You're free. And freedom is beautiful. And, you know, it'll take time to restore chaos and order—order out of chaos. But we will."—Washington, D.C., April 13, 2003

"Perhaps one way will be, if we use military force, in the post-Saddam Iraq the U.N. will definitely need to have a role. And that way it can begin to get its legs, legs of responsibility back."—the Azores, Portugal, March 16, 2003


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"The ambassador and the general were briefing me on the—the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice."—Washington, D.C., Oct. 27, 2003 (Thanks to Robert Hack.)

"[W]hether they be Christian, Jew, or Muslim, or Hindu, people have heard the universal call to love a neighbor just like they'd like to be called themselves."—Washington, Oct. 8, 2003 (Thanks to George Dupper.)

"See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."—Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 3, 2003

"[W]e've had leaks out of the administrative branch, had leaks out of the legislative branch, and out of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and I've spoken out consistently against them, and I want to know who the leakers are."—Chicago, Sept. 30, 2003

"Washington is a town where there's all kinds of allegations. You've heard much of the allegations. And if people have got solid information, please come forward with it. And that would be people inside the information who are the so-called anonymous sources, or people outside the information—outside the administration."—Chicago, Sept. 30, 2003 (Thanks to Andy Bowers.)

"[T]hat's just the nature of democracy. Sometimes pure politics enters into the rhetoric."—Crawford, Texas, Aug. 8, 2003 (Thanks to Inigo Thomas.)


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"I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2003

"I'm so pleased to be able to say hello to Bill Scranton. He's one of the great Pennsylvania political families."—Drexel Hill, Penn., Sept. 15, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"We had a good Cabinet meeting, talked about a lot of issues. Secretary of State and Defense brought us up to date about our desires to spread freedom and peace around the world."—Washington, D.C., Aug. 1, 2003 (Thanks to Tanny Bear.)

"Security is the essential roadblock to achieving the road map to peace."—Washington, D.C., July 25, 2003

"Our country puts $1 billion a year up to help feed the hungry. And we're by far the most generous nation in the world when it comes to that, and I'm proud to report that. This isn't a contest of who's the most generous. I'm just telling you as an aside. We're generous. We shouldn't be bragging about it. But we are. We're very generous."—Washington, D.C., July 16, 2003

"It's very interesting when you think about it, the slaves who left here to go to America, because of their steadfast and their religion and their belief in freedom, helped change America."—Dakar, Senegal, July 8, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"My answer is bring them on."—On Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces, Washington, D.C., July 3, 2003

"You've also got to measure in order to begin to effect change that's just more—when there's more than talk, there's just actual—a paradigm shift."—Washington, D.C., July 1, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"I urge the leaders in Europe and around the world to take swift, decisive action against terror groups such as Hamas, to cut off their funding, and to support—cut funding and support, as the United States has done."—Washington, D.C., June 25, 2003

"Iran would be dangerous if they have a nuclear weapon."—Washington, D.C., June 18, 2003

"Now, there are some who would like to rewrite history—revisionist historians is what I like to call them."—Elizabeth, N.J., June 16, 2003

"I am determined to keep the process on the road to peace."—Washington, D.C., June 10, 2003 (Thanks to Tanny Bear.)

"The true strength of America happens when a neighbor loves a neighbor just like they'd like to be loved themselves."—Elizabeth, N.J., June 16, 2003

"We are making steadfast progress."—Washington, D.C., June 9, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"I'm the master of low expectations."—Aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things."—Aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

"I recently met with the finance minister of the Palestinian Authority, was very impressed by his grasp of finances."—Washington, D.C., May 29, 2003

"Oftentimes, we live in a processed world—you know, people focus on the process and not results."—Washington, D.C., May 29, 2003

"I've got very good relations with President Mubarak and Crown Prince Abdallah and the King of Jordan, Gulf Coast countries."—Washington, D.C., May 29, 2003

"All up and down the different aspects of our society, we had meaningful discussions. Not only in the Cabinet Room, but prior to this and after this day, our secretaries, respective secretaries, will continue to interact to create the conditions necessary for prosperity to reign."—Washington, D.C., May 19, 2003

"First, let me make it very clear, poor people aren't necessarily killers. Just because you happen to be not rich doesn't mean you're willing to kill."—Washington, D.C., May 19, 2003

"We ended the rule of one of history's worst tyrants, and in so doing, we not only freed the American people, we made our own people more secure."—Crawford, Texas, May 3, 2003 (Thanks to Tony Marciniec.)

"We've had a great weekend here in the Land of the Enchanted."—Albuquerque, N.M., May 12, 2003 (New Mexico's state nickname is "Land of Enchantment.")

"We've got hundreds of sites to exploit, looking for the chemical and biological weapons that we know Saddam Hussein had prior to our entrance into Iraq."—Santa Clara, Calif., May 2, 2003 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"I think war is a dangerous place."—Washington, D.C., May 7, 2003

"I don't bring God into my life to—to, you know, kind of be a political person."—Interview with Tom Brokaw aboard Air Force One, April 24, 2003

"You're free. And freedom is beautiful. And, you know, it'll take time to restore chaos and order—order out of chaos. But we will."—Washington, D.C., April 13, 2003

"Perhaps one way will be, if we use military force, in the post-Saddam Iraq the U.N. will definitely need to have a role. And that way it can begin to get its legs, legs of responsibility back."—the Azores, Portugal, March 16, 2003

"I know there's a lot of young ladies who are growing up wondering whether or not they can be champs. And they see the championship teams from USC and University of Portland here, girls who worked hard to get to where they are, and they're wondering about the example they're setting. What is life choices about?"—Washington, D.C., Feb. 24, 2003

"Now, we talked to Joan Hanover. She and her husband, George, were visiting with us. They are near retirement—retiring—in the process of retiring, meaning they're very smart, active, capable people who are retirement age and are retiring."—Alexandria, Va., Feb. 12, 2003 (Thanks to Dennis Doubleday.)

"Columbia carried in its payroll classroom experiments from some of our students in America."—Bethesda, Md., Feb. 3, 2003

"And, most importantly, Alma Powell, secretary of Colin Powell, is with us."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 30, 2003

"The war on terror involves Saddam Hussein because of the nature of Saddam Hussein, the history of Saddam Hussein, and his willingness to terrorize himself."—Grand Rapids, Mich., Jan. 29, 2003

"When Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried, and persecuted as a war criminal."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 22, 2003 (Thanks to Chad Conwell.)

"Many of the punditry—of course, not you (laughter)—but other punditry were quick to say, no one is going to follow the United States of America."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, 2003

"One year ago today, the time for excuse-making has come to an end."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 8, 2003

"I think the American people—I hope the American–I don't think, let me—I hope the American people trust me."—Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2002

"The goals for this country are peace in the world. And the goals for this country are a compassionate American for every single citizen. That compassion is found in the hearts and souls of the American citizens."—Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2002 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"There's only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug but having committed the troops, I've got an additional responsibility to hug and that's me and I know what it's like."—Washington, D.C., Dec. 11, 2002

"In other words, I don't think people ought to be compelled to make the decision which they think is best for their family."—Washington, D.C., Dec. 11, 2002 (Thanks to Stephanie Nichols.)

"Sometimes, Washington is one of these towns where the person—people who think they've got the sharp elbow is the most effective person." —New Orleans, Dec. 3, 2002 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"The law I sign today directs new funds and new focus to the task of collecting vital intelligence on terrorist threats and on weapons of mass production."—Washington, D.C., Nov. 27, 2002

"These people don't have tanks. They don't have ships. They hide in caves. They send suiciders out."—Speaking about terrorists, Portsmouth, N.H., Nov. 1, 2002

"I know something about being a government. And you've got a good one."—Stumping for Gov. Mike Huckabee, Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 4, 2002

"I need to be able to move the right people to the right place at the right time to protect you, and I'm not going to accept a lousy bill out of the United Nations Senate."—South Bend, Ind., Oct. 31, 2002

"John Thune has got a common-sense vision for good forest policy. I look forward to working with him in the United Nations Senate to preserve these national heritages."

"Any time we've got any kind of inkling that somebody is thinking about doing something to an American and something to our homeland, you've just got to know we're moving on it, to protect the United Nations Constitution, and at the same time, we're protecting you."—Aberdeen, S.D., same day (Thanks to George Dupper.)

"Let me tell you my thoughts about tax relief. When your economy is kind of ooching along, it's important to let people have more of their own money."—Boston, Oct. 4, 2002

"I was proud the other day when both Republicans and Democrats stood with me in the Rose Garden to announce their support for a clear statement of purpose: you disarm, or we will."—Speaking about Saddam Hussein, Manchester, N.H., Oct. 5, 2002 (Thanks to George Dupper.)

"You see, the Senate wants to take away some of the powers of the administrative branch."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002

"We need an energy bill that encourages consumption."—Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002

"People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in's house and say I love you."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002

"I'm plowed of the leadership of Chuck Grassley and Greg Ganske and Jim Leach."—Davenport, Iowa, Sept. 16, 2002

"There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again."—Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

"There's no doubt in my mind that we should allow the world worst leaders to hold America hostage, to threaten our peace, to threaten our friends and allies with the world's worst weapons."—South Bend, Ind., Sept. 5, 2002

"If you don't have any ambitions, the minimum-wage job isn't going to get you to where you want to get, for example. In other words, what is your ambitions? And oh, by the way, if that is your ambition, here's what it's going to take to achieve it."—Speech to students in Little Rock, Ark., Aug. 29, 2002 (Thanks to George Dupper.)

"See, we love—we love freedom. That's what they didn't understand. They hate things; we love things. They act out of hatred; we don't seek revenge, we seek justice out of love."—Oklahoma City, Aug. 29, 2002

"There's no cave deep enough for America, or dark enough to hide."—Oklahoma City, Aug. 29, 2002 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"President Musharraf, he's still tight with us on the war against terror, and that's what I appreciate. He's a—he understands that we've got to keep al-Qaida on the run, and that by keeping him on the run, it's more likely we will bring him to justice."—Ruch, Ore., Aug. 22, 2002 (Thanks to Scott Miller.)

"I'm a patient man. And when I say I'm a patient man, I mean I'm a patient man."

"Nothing he [Saddam Hussein] has done has convinced me—I'm confident the Secretary of Defense—that he is the kind of fellow that is willing to forgo weapons of mass destruction, is willing to be a peaceful neighbor, that is—will honor the people—the Iraqi people of all stripes, will—values human life. He hasn't convinced me, nor has he convinced my administration."—Crawford, Texas, Aug. 21, 2002

"I'm thrilled to be here in the bread basket of America because it gives me a chance to remind our fellow citizens that we have an advantage here in America—we can feed ourselves."—Stockton, Calif., Aug. 23, 2002 (Thanks to Christopher Baird.)

"There's no bigger task than protecting the homeland of our country."

"The federal government and the state government must not fear programs who change lives, but must welcome those faith-based programs for the embetterment of mankind."—Stockton, Calif., Aug. 23, 2002 (Thanks to George Dupper.)

"I love the idea of a school in which people come to get educated and stay in the state in which they're educated."

"There may be some tough times here in America. But this country has gone through tough times before, and we're going to do it again."

"I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here."

"I can assure you that, even though I won't be sitting through every single moment of the seminars, nor will the vice president, we will look at the summaries."

"Tommy [Thompson, Health and Human Services secretary,] is a good listener, and he's a pretty good actor, too."

"The trial lawyers are very politically powerful. … But here in Texas we took them on and got some good medical—medical malpractice.""I firmly believe the death tax is good for people from all walks of life all throughout our society."

—Waco, Texas, Aug. 13, 2002

"There was no malfeance involved. This was an honest disagreement about accounting procedures. ... There was no malfeance, no attempt to hide anything."—White House press conference, Washington, D.C., July 8, 2002

"I also understand how tender the free enterprise system can be."—White House press conference, Washington, D.C., July 9, 2002

"Over 75 percent of white Americans own their home, and less than 50 percent of Hispanos and African Americans don't own their home. And that's a gap, that's a homeownership gap. And we've got to do something about it."—Cleveland, Ohio, July 1, 2002

"Whether you're here by birth, or whether you're in America by choice, you contribute to the vitality of our life. And for that, we are grateful."—Washington, D.C., May 17, 2002

"I'd rather have them sacrificing on behalf of our nation than, you know, endless hours of testimony on congressional hill."—National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Maryland, June 4, 2002

"We're working with Chancellor Schröder on what's called 10-plus-10-over-10: $10 billion from the U.S.,$10 billion from other members of the G7 over a 10-year period, to help Russia securitize the dismantling—the dismantled nuclear warheads."—Berlin, Germany, May 23, 2002

"Do you have blacks, too?"—To Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

"This is a nation that loves our freedom, loves our country."—Washington, D.C, May 17, 2002

"The public education system in America is one of the most important foundations of our democracy. After all, it is where children from all over America learn to be responsible citizens, and learn to have the skills necessary to take advantage of our fantastic opportunistic society."—Santa Clara, Calif., May 1, 2002

"After all, a week ago, there were—Yasser Arafat was boarded up in his building in Ramallah, a building full of, evidently, German peace protestors and all kinds of people. They're now out. He's now free to show leadership, to lead the world."—Washington, D.C., May 2, 2002 (Thanks to M. Bateman.)

"This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating."—as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002

"I want to thank the dozens of welfare to work stories, the actual examples of people who made the firm and solemn commitment to work hard to embetter themselves."—Washington, D.C., April 18, 2002 (Thanks to George Dupper.)

"And so, in my State of the—my State of the Union—or state—my speech to the nation, whatever you want to call it, speech to the nation—I asked Americans to give 4,000 years—4,000 hours over the next—the rest of your life—of service to America. That's what I asked—4,000 hours." —Bridgeport, Conn., April 9, 2002

"It would be a mistake for the United States Senate to allow any kind of human cloning to come out of that chamber."—Washington, D.C., April 10, 2002

"For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times."—Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 18, 2002

"We've tripled the amount of money—I believe it's from $50 million up to $195 million available."—Lima, Peru, March 23, 2002

"We've got pockets of persistent poverty in our society, which I refuse to declare defeat—I mean, I refuse to allow them to continue on. And so one of the things that we're trying to do is to encourage a faith-based initiative to spread its wings all across America, to be able to capture this great compassionate spirit."—O'Fallon, Mo., Mar. 18, 2002

"There's nothing more deep than recognizing Israel's right to exist. That's the most deep thought of all. ... I can't think of anything more deep than that right."—Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002


"I understand that the unrest in the Middle East creates unrest throughout the region."—Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002

"The suicide bombings have increased. There's too many of them."—Albuquerque, N.M., Aug. 15, 2001

"Brie and cheese."—Taunting a reporter who recently spent time on the West Coast, Crawford, Texas, Aug. 23, 2001

"You'll hear people say it's racist to test. Folks, it's racist not to test. Because guess who gets shuffled through the system oftentimes? Children whose parents don't speak English as a first language, inner-city kids. It's so much easier to quit on somebody than to remediate."—Referring to his education bill, Independence, Mo., Aug. 21, 2001 (Thanks to Julie Reagan.)

"One of the interesting initiatives we've taken in Washington, D.C., is we've got these vampire-busting devices. A vampire is a—a cell deal you can plug in the wall to charge your cell phone."—Denver, Aug. 14, 2001

"There's a lot of people in the Middle East who are desirous to get into the Mitchell process. And—but first things first. The—these terrorist acts and, you know, the responses have got to end in order for us to get the framework—the groundwork—not framework, the groundwork to discuss a framework for peace, to lay the—all right."—Referring to former Sen. George Mitchell's report on Middle East peace, Crawford, Texas, Aug. 13, 2001 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"My administration has been calling upon all the leaders in the—in the Middle East to do everything they can to stop the violence, to tell the different parties involved that peace will never happen."—Crawford, Texas, Aug, 13, 2001 (Thanks to Michael Shively.)

"You saw the president yesterday. I thought he was very forward-leaning, as they say in diplomatic nuanced circles."—Referring to his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Rome, July 23, 2001 (Thanks to Alex Hernandez.)

''I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe—I believe what I believe is right."—Rome, July 22, 2001

"I can't tell you what it's like to be in Europe, for example, to be talking about the greatness of America. But the true greatness of America are the people."—Visiting the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., July 2, 2001

"Well, it's an unimaginable honor to be the president during the Fourth of July of this country. It means what these words say, for starters. The great inalienable rights of our country. We're blessed with such values in America. And I—it's—I'm a proud man to be the nation based upon such wonderful values."—Visiting the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., July 2, 2001

"I want to thank you for coming to the White House to give me an opportunity to urge you to work with these five senators and three congressmen, to work hard to get this trade promotion authority moving. The power that be, well most of the power that be, sits right here."—Washington, D.C., June 18, 2001

"We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease."—Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001

"I haven't had a chance to talk, but I'm confident we'll get a bill that I can live with if we don't."—Referring to the McCain-Kennedy patients' bill of rights, Brussels, Belgium, June 13, 2001

"Can't living with the bill means it won't become law."—Referring to the McCain-Kennedy patients' bill of rights, Brussels, Belgium, June 13, 2001

"Russia is no longer our enemy and therefore we shouldn't be locked into a Cold War mentality that says we keep the peace by blowing each other up. In my attitude, that's old, that's tired, that's stale."—Des Moines, Iowa, June 8, 2001

"Anyway, I'm so thankful, and so gracious—I'm gracious that my brother Jeb is concerned about the hemisphere as well."—Miami, Fla., June 4, 2001

"It's important for young men and women who look at the Nebraska champs to understand that quality of life is more than just blocking shots."—Remarks to the University of Nebraska women's volleyball team, the 2001 national champions, Washington, D.C., May 31, 2001

"Our nation must come together to unite."—Tampa, Fla., June 4, 2001

"So on behalf of a well-oiled unit of people who came together to serve something greater than themselves, congratulations."—Remarks to the University of Nebraska women's volleyball team, the 2001 national champions, Washington, D.C., May 31, 2001

"If a person doesn't have the capacity that we all want that person to have, I suspect hope is in the far distant future, if at all."—Remarks to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute, Washington, D.C., May 22, 2001

"Thirdly, the explorationists are willing to only move equipment during the winter, which means they'll be on ice roads, and remove the equipment as the ice begins to melt, so that the fragile tundra is protected."—Conestoga, Pa., May 18, 2001

"Presidents, whether things are good or bad, get the blame. I understand that."—Washington, D.C., May 11, 2001 (Thanks to Jay Schlossberg.)

"For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it."—Philadelphia, May 14, 2001 (Thanks to John Brooks.)

"There's no question that the minute I got elected, the storm clouds on the horizon were getting nearly directly overhead."—Washington, D.C., May 11, 2001

"But I also made it clear to [Vladimir Putin] that it's important to think beyond the old days of when we had the concept that if we blew each other up, the world would be safe."—Washington, D.C., May 1, 2001 (Thanks to Gene Mosher.)

"Whatever it took to help Taiwan defend theirself."—On how far we'd be willing to go to defend Taiwan, Good Morning America, April 25, 2001

"First, we would not accept a treaty that would not have been ratified, nor a treaty that I thought made sense for the country."—On the Kyoto accord in an interview with the Washington Post, April 24, 2001

"It's very important for folks to understand that when there's more trade, there's more commerce."—Quebec City, Canada, April 21, 2001

"Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican."—Declining to answer reporters' questions at the Summit of the Americas, Quebec City, Canada, April 21, 2001

"We must have the attitude that every child in America—regardless of where they're raised or how they're born—can learn."—New Britain, Conn., April 18, 2001 (Thanks to Eric Beerbohm.)

"It is time to set aside the old partisan bickering and finger-pointing and name-calling that comes from freeing parents to make different choices for their children."—Remarks on "parental empowerment in education," Washington, D.C., April 12, 2001 (Thanks to J.R. Taylor.)

I think we're making progress. We understand where the power of this country lay. It lays in the hearts and souls of Americans. It must lay in our pocketbooks. It lays in the willingness for people to work hard. But as importantly, it lays in the fact that we've got citizens from all walks of life, all political parties, that are willing to say, I want to love my neighbor. I want to make somebody's life just a little bit better."—Concord Middle School, Concord, N.C., April 11, 2001

"This administration is doing everything we can to end the stalemate in an efficient way. We're making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end."—Washington, D.C., April 10, 2001

"The Senate needs to leave enough money in the proposed budget to not only reduce all marginal rates, but to eliminate the death tax, so that people who build up assets are able to transfer them from one generation to the next, regardless of a person's race."—Washington, D.C., April 5, 2001

"It would be helpful if we opened up ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge). I think it's a mistake not to. And I would urge you all to travel up there and take a look at it, and you can make the determination as to how beautiful that country is."—Press conference, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2001

"I've coined new words, like, misunderstanding and Hispanically."—Radio-Television Correspondents Association dinner, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2001

"And we need a full affront on an energy crisis that is real in California and looms for other parts of our country if we don't move quickly."—Press conference, Washington, D.C., March 29, 2001




"I assured the prime minister, my administration will work hard to lay the foundation of peace in the Middle—to work with our nations in the Middle East, give peace a chance. Secondly, I told him that our nation will not try to force peace, that we'll facilitate peace and that we will work with those responsible for a peace."—Photo opportunity with Ariel Sharon, Washington, D.C., March 20, 2001 (Thanks to Scott Beber.)

"There are some monuments where the land is so widespread, they just encompass as much as possible. And the integral part of the—the precious part, so to speak—I guess all land is precious, but the part that the people uniformly would not want to spoil, will not be despoiled. But there are parts of the monument lands where we can explore without affecting the overall environment."—Media round table, Washington, D.C. March 13, 2001

"A lot of times in the rhetoric, people forget the facts. And the facts are that thousands of small businesses—Hispanically owned or otherwise—pay taxes at the highest marginal rate."—to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Washington, D.C., March 19, 2001

"But the true threats to stability and peace are these nations that are not very transparent, that hide behind the—that don't let people in to take a look and see what they're up to. They're very kind of authoritarian regimes. The true threat is whether or not one of these people decide, peak of anger, try to hold us hostage, ourselves; the Israelis, for example, to whom we'll defend, offer our defenses; the South Koreans."—Media roundtable, Washington, D.C., March 13, 2001 (Thanks to Peter Sagal)

"I do think we need for a troop to be able to house his family. That's an important part of building morale in the military."—Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, March 12, 2001

"I suspect that had my dad not been president, he'd be asking the same questions: How'd your meeting go with so-and-so? … How did you feel when you stood up in front of the people for the State of the Union Address—state of the budget address, whatever you call it."—Interview with the Washington Post, March 9, 2001

"I think there is some methodology in my travels." —Washington, D.C., March 5, 2001

"I'm also honored to be here with the speaker of the House—just happens to be from the state of Illinois. I'd like to describe the speaker as a trustworthy man. He's the kind of fellow who says when he gives you his word he means it. Sometimes that doesn't happen all the time in the political process."—Chicago, March 6, 2001 (Thanks to Gary Belkin.)

"Ann and I will carry out this equivocal message to the world: Markets must be open."—Swearing-in ceremony for Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman, Washington, D.C., March 2, 2001

"Of all states that understands local control of schools, Iowa is such a state."—Council Bluffs, Iowa, Feb. 28, 2001 (Thanks to Peter Sagal)

"Those of us who spent time in the agricultural sector and in the heartland, we understand how unfair the death penalty is."—Omaha, Neb., Feb. 28, 2001

"My pan plays down an unprecedented amount of our national debt."—Budget address to Congress, Feb. 27, 2001

"The budget caps were busted, mightily so. And we are reviewing with people like Judd Gregg from New Hampshire and others some budgetary reform measures that will reinstate—you know, possibly reinstate budgetary discipline. But the caps no longer—the caps, I guess they're there. But they didn't mean much."—Washington, D.C., Feb. 5, 2001 (Thanks to Ehren Meditz)

"I have said that the sanction regime is like Swiss cheese—that meant that they weren't very effective."—White House press conference, Washington, D.C., Feb. 22, 2001

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.''—Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001

"Home is important. It's important to have a home."—Crawford, Texas, Feb. 18, 2001

"One reason I like to highlight reading is, reading is the beginnings of the ability to be a good student. And if you can't read, it's going to be hard to realize dreams; it's going to be hard to go to college. So when your teachers say, read—you ought to listen to her."—Nalle Elementary School, Washington, D.C., Feb 9, 2001

"It's good to see so many friends here in the Rose Garden. This is our first event in this beautiful spot, and it's appropriate we talk about policy that will affect people's lives in a positive way in such a beautiful, beautiful part of our national—really, our national park system, my guess is you would want to call it."—Washington, D.C., Feb. 8, 2001

"We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House—make no mistake about it."—Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2001

"I appreciate that question because I, in the state of Texas, had heard a lot of discussion about a faith-based initiative eroding the important bridge between church and state."—Question and answer session with the press, Jan. 29, 2001 (Thanks to Tim Santry.)

"I confirmed to the prime minister that we appreciate our friendship."—After meeting with Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada, Feb. 5, 2001

"There's no such thing as legacies. At least, there is a legacy, but I'll never see it."—To Catholic leaders at the White House, Jan. 31, 2001

"I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2001

"My pro-life position is I believe there's life. It's not necessarily based in religion. I think there's a life there, therefore the notion of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness."—Quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 23, 2001

"Then I went for a run with the other dog and just walked. And I started thinking about a lot of things. I was able to—I can't remember what it was. Oh, the inaugural speech, started thinking through that."—Pre-inaugural interview with U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 22, 2001 issue

"Redefining the role of the United States from enablers to keep the peace to enablers to keep the peace from peacekeepers is going to be an assignment."—Interview with the New York Times, Jan. 14, 2001 (Thanks to Rachael Contorer.)

"The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants."—Interview with the New York Times, Jan. 14, 2001

"I'm hopeful. I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure."—Interview with the Associated Press, Jan. 18, 2001 (Thanks to M. Bateman.)

"If he's—the inference is that somehow he thinks slavery is a—is a noble institution I would—I would strongly reject that assumption—that John Ashcroft is a open-minded, inclusive person."—NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw, Jan. 14, 2001

"She's just trying to make sure Anthony gets a good meal—Antonio."—On Laura Bush inviting Justice Antonin Scalia to dinner at the White House. NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw, Jan. 14, 2001

"I want it to be said that the Bush administration was a results-oriented administration, because I believe the results of focusing our attention and energy on teaching children to read and having an education system that's responsive to the child and to the parents, as opposed to mired in a system that refuses to change, will make America what we want it to be—a literate country and a hopefuller country."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 11, 2001

"I would have to ask the questioner. I haven't had a chance to ask the questioners the question they've been questioning. On the other hand, I firmly believe she'll be a fine secretary of labor. And I've got confidence in Linda Chavez. She is a—she'll bring an interesting perspective to the Labor Department."—Austin, Texas, Jan. 8, 2001

"I do remain confident in Linda. She'll make a fine labor secretary. From what I've read in the press accounts, she's perfectly qualified."—Austin, Texas, Jan. 8, 2001

"I mean, these good folks are revolutionizing how businesses conduct their business. And, like them, I am very optimistic about our position in the world and about its influence on the United States. We're concerned about the short-term economic news, but long-term I'm optimistic. And so, I hope investors, you know—secondly, I hope investors hold investments for periods of time—that I've always found the best investments are those that you salt away based on economics."—Austin, Texas, Jan. 4, 2001

"The person who runs FEMA is someone who must have the trust of the president. Because the person who runs FEMA is the first voice, often times, of someone whose life has been turned upside down hears from."—Austin, Texas, Jan. 4, 2001

"She is a member of a labor union at one point."—Announcing his nomination of Linda Chavez as secretary of labor. Austin, Texas, Jan. 2, 2001

"Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods."—Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000

"I also have picked a secretary for Housing and Human Development. Mel Martinez from the state of Florida."—Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000

"Let me put it to you this way, I am not a revengeful person."— Interview with Time magazine in the Dec. 25, 2000, issue.

"I am mindful of the difference between the executive branch and the legislative branch. I assured all four of these leaders that I know the difference, and that difference is they pass the laws and I execute them."—Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2000

"The great thing about America is everybody should vote."—Austin, Texas, Dec. 8, 2000

"Dick Cheney and I do not want this nation to be in a recession. We want anybody who can find work to be able to find work."—60 Minutes II, Dec. 5, 2000

"I knew it might put him in an awkward position that we had a discussion before finality has finally happened in this presidential race."

—Describing a phone call to Sen. John Breaux. Crawford, Texas, Dec. 2, 2000

"As far as the legal hassling and wrangling and posturing in Florida, I would suggest you talk to our team in Florida led by Jim Baker."—Crawford, Texas, Nov. 30, 2000

"The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law."—Austin, Texas, Nov. 22, 2000

"They misunderestimated me."—Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

"Think about that. Two hundred and eighty-five new or expanded programs, $2 trillion more in new spending, and not one new bureaucrat to file out the forms or answer the phones?"—Minneapolis, Nov. 1, 2000

"They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program."—St. Charles, Mo., Nov. 2, 2000

"They said, 'You know, this issue doesn't seem to resignate with the people.' And I said, you know something? Whether it resignates or not doesn't matter to me, because I stand for doing what's the right thing, and what the right thing is hearing the voices of people who work."—Portland, Ore., Oct. 31, 2000

"Anyway, after we go out and work our hearts out, after you go out and help us turn out the vote, after we've convinced the good Americans to vote, and while they're at it, pull that old George W. lever, if I'm the one, when I put my hand on the Bible, when I put my hand on the Bible, that day when they swear us in, when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not—to uphold the laws of the land."—Toledo, Ohio, Oct. 27, 2000

"It's your money. You paid for it."—LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

"That's a chapter, the last chapter of the 20th, 20th, the 21st century that most of us would rather forget. The last chapter of the 20th century. This is the first chapter of the 21st century. "—On the Lewinsky scandal, Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

"It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet."—Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

"I don't want nations feeling like that they can bully ourselves and our allies. I want to have a ballistic defense system so that we can make the world more peaceful, and at the same time I want to reduce our own nuclear capacities to the level commiserate with keeping the peace."—Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 23, 2000

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."—LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

"If I'm the president, we're going to have emergency-room care, we're going to have gag orders."

"Drug therapies are replacing a lot of medicines as we used to know it."

"It's one thing about insurance, that's a Washington term."

"I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun."

"Mr. Vice President, in all due respect, it is—I'm not sure 80 percent of the people get the death tax. I know this: 100 percent will get it if I'm the president."

"Quotas are bad for America. It's not the way America is all about."

"If affirmative action means what I just described, what I'm for, then I'm for it."—St. Louis, Mo., October 18, 2000

"Our priorities is our faith."—Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000

"I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children."—Second presidential debate, Oct. 11, 2000 (Thanks to Leonard Williams.)

"It's going to require numerous IRA agents."—On Gore's tax plan, Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000

"I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to answer questions. I can't answer your question."—In response to a question about whether he wished he could take back any of his answers in the first debate. Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Oct. 4, 2000 (Thanks to Peter Feld.)

"I would have my secretary of treasury be in touch with the financial centers, not only here but at home."—Boston, Oct. 3, 2000 (Thanks to M. Bateman.)

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."—Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

"I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy."—Redwood, Calif., Sept. 27, 2000

"One of the common denominators I have found is that expectations rise above that which is expected."—Los Angeles, Sept. 27, 2000

"It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas."—Beaverton, Ore., Sep. 25, 2000

"Well, that's going to be up to the pundits and the people to make up their mind. I'll tell you what is a president for him, for example, talking about my record in the state of Texas. I mean, he's willing to say anything in order to convince people that I haven't had a good record in Texas."—MSNBC, Sept. 20, 2000 (Thanks to Gregory H. Monberg.)

"I am a person who recognizes the fallacy of humans."—Oprah, Sept. 19, 2000

"A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness."—The Edge With Paula Zahn, Sept. 18, 2000

"The woman who knew that I had dyslexia—I never interviewed her."—Orange, Calif., Sept. 15, 2000

"The best way to relieve families from time is to let them keep some of their own money."—Westminster, Calif., Sept. 13, 2000

"They have miscalculated me as a leader."—Ibid.

"I don't think we need to be subliminable about the differences between our views on prescription drugs."—Orlando, Fla., Sept. 12, 2000

"This is what I'm good at. I like meeting people, my fellow citizens, I like interfacing with them."—Outside Pittsburgh, Sept. 8, 2000

"That's Washington. That's the place where you find people getting ready to jump out of the foxholes before the first shot is fired."—Westland, Mich., Sept. 8, 2000

"Listen, Al Gore is a very tough opponent. He is the incumbent. He

represents the incumbency. And a challenger is somebody who generally

comes from the pack and wins, if you're going to win. And that's where

I'm coming from."—Detroit, Sept. 7, 2000 (Thanks to Michael Butler, Houston, Texas.)

"We'll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers."—Houston, Texas, Sept. 6, 2000

"We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans."—Scranton, Pa., Sept. 6, 2000

"I regret that a private comment I made to the vice presidential candidate made it through the public airways."—Allentown, Pa., Sept. 5, 2000.

"The point is, this is a way to help inoculate me about what has come and is coming."--on his anti-Gore ad, in an interview with the New York Times, Sept. 2, 2000

"As governor of Texas, I have set high standards for our public schools, and I have met those standards."--CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000

"Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness."--Ibid.

"I don't know whether I'm going to win or not. I think I am. I do know I'm ready for the job. And, if not, that's just the way it goes."—Des Moines, Iowa, Aug. 21, 2000

''This campaign not only hears the voices of the entrepreneurs and the farmers and the entrepreneurs, we hear the voices of those struggling to get ahead."—Ibid.

"We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.''—Ibid.

"I have a different vision of leadership. A leadership is someone who brings people together."—Bartlett, Tenn., Aug. 18, 2000 (Thanks to Tarja Black.)

"I think he needs to stand up and say if he thought the president were wrong on policy and issues, he ought to say where."—Interview with the Associated Press, Aug. 11, 2000 (Thanks to Ryan Rhodes.)

"I want you to know that farmers are not going to be secondary thoughts to a Bush administration. They will be in the forethought of our thinking."—Salinas, Calif., Aug. 10, 2000 (Thanks to Kris Sester.)

"And if he continues that, I'm going to tell the nation what I think about him as a human being and a person."—President George H.W. Bush, on the Today show, Aug. 1, 2000

"You might want to comment on that, Honorable."--To New Jersey's secretary of state, the Hon. DeForest Soaries Jr., as quoted by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, July 15, 2000

"This case has had full analyzation and has been looked at a lot. I understand the emotionality of death penalty cases."--Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 23, 2000 (Thanks to Johnny Green.)

"States should have the right to enact reasonable laws and restrictions particularly to end the inhumane practice of ending a life that otherwise could live."—Cleveland, June 29, 2000 (Thanks to Douglas Basford.)

"Unfairly but truthfully, our party has been tagged as being against things. Anti-immigrant, for example. And we're not a party of anti-immigrants. Quite the opposite. We're a party that welcomes people."—Cleveland, July 1, 2000 (Thanks to M. Bateman.)

"The fundamental question is, 'Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?' I will be, but until I'm the president, it's going to be hard for me to verify that I think I'll be more effective."—In Wayne, Mich., as quoted by Katharine Q. Seelye in the New York Times, June 28, 2000

"The only things that I can tell you is that every case I have reviewed I have been comfortable with the innocence or guilt of the person that I've looked at. I do not believe we've put a guilty ... I mean innocent person to death in the state of Texas." All Things Considered, NPR, June 16, 2000 (Thanks to Andy Nouraee.)

"I'm gonna talk about the ideal world, Chris. I've read—I understand reality. If you're asking me as the president, would I understand reality, I do."—On abortion, Hardball, MSNBC; May 31, 2000

"There's not going to be enough people in the system to take advantage of people like me."—On the coming Social Security crisis; Wilton, Conn.; June 9, 2000 (Thanks to Andy Mais.)

"I think anybody who doesn't think I'm smart enough to handle the job is underestimating."—U.S. News & World Report, April 3, 2000 (Thanks to Alfred Stanley, Austin, Texas.)

Bush: "First of all, Cinco de Mayo is not the independence day. That's dieciséis de Septiembre, and ..."

Matthews: "What's that in English?"

Bush: "Fifteenth of September." (Dieciséis de Septiembre = Sept. 16)

—Hardball, MSNBC, May 31, 2000 (Thanks to numerous readers.)

"Actually, I—this may sound a little West Texan to you, but I like it. When I'm talking about—when I'm talking about myself, and when he's talking about myself, all of us are talking about me."—Ibid.

"This is a world that is much more uncertain than the past. In the past we were certain, we were certain it was us versus the Russians in the past. We were certain, and therefore we had huge nuclear arsenals aimed at each other to keep the peace. That's what we were certain of. ... You see, even though it's an uncertain world, we're certain of some things. We're certain that even though the 'evil empire' may have passed, evil still remains. We're certain there are people that can't stand what America stands for. ... We're certain there are madmen in this world, and there's terror, and there's missiles and I'm certain of this, too: I'm certain to maintain the peace, we better have a military of high morale, and I'm certain that under this administration, morale in the military is dangerously low."—Albuquerque, N.M., the Washington Post, May 31, 2000

"He has certainly earned a reputation as a fantastic mayor, because the results speak for themselves. I mean, New York's a safer place for him to be."—On Rudy Giuliani, The Edge With Paula Zahn, May 18, 2000 (Thanks to Peter Goldman.)

"The fact that he relies on facts—says things that are not factual—are going to undermine his campaign."—New York Times, March 4, 2000 (Thanks to Garry Trudeau.)

"I think we agree, the past is over."—On his meeting with John McCain, Dallas Morning News, May 10, 2000

"It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it."--Reuters, May 5, 2000 (Thanks to Allison Fansler.)

GOV. BUSH: Because the picture on the newspaper. It just seems so un-American to me, the picture of the guy storming the house with a scared little boy there. I talked to my little brother, Jeb—I haven't told this to many people. But he's the governor of—I shouldn't call him my little brother--my brother, Jeb, the great governor of Texas.

JIM LEHRER: Florida.

GOV. BUSH: Florida. The state of the Florida.—The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, April 27, 2000

"I hope we get to the bottom of the answer. It's what I'm interested to know."—On what happened in negotiations between the Justice Department and Elián González's Miami relatives, as quoted by the Associated Press, April 26, 2000 (Thanks to Saul Selzer.)

"Laura and I really don't realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objective analysis."—CNBC, April 15, 2000

"You subscribe politics to it. I subscribe freedom to it."—Responding to a question about whether he and Al Gore were making the Elián González case a political issue. In Palm Beach, Fla., as quoted by the Associated Press, April 6, 2000 (Thanks to Helen Kennedy.)

"I was raised in the West. The wesv of Texas. It's pretty close to California. In more ways than Washington, D.C., is close to California."—In Los Angeles as quoted by the Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2000

"Reading is the basics for all learning."—Announcing his "Reading First" initiative in Reston, Va., March 28, 2000 (Thanks to Carl LaRocca.)

"We want our teachers to be trained so they can meet the obligations, their obligations as teachers. We want them to know how to teach the science of reading. In order to make sure there's not this kind of federal—federal cufflink."—At Fritsche Middle School, Milwaukee, March 30, 2000

"Other Republican candidates may retort to personal attacks and negative ads."—Fund-raising letter from George W. Bush, quoted in the Washington Post, March 24, 2000

"I've got a reason for running. I talk about a larger goal, which is to call upon the best of America. It's part of the renewal. It's reform and renewal. Part of the renewal is a set of high standards and to remind people that the greatness of America really does depend on neighbors helping neighbors and children finding mentors. I worry. I'm very worried about, you know, the kid who just wonders whether America is meant for him. I really worry about that. And uh, so, I'm running for a reason. I'm answering this question here and the answer is, you cannot lead America to a positive tomorrow with revenge on one's mind. Revenge is so incredibly negative. And so to answer your question, I'm going to win because people sense my heart, know my sense of optimism and know where I want to lead the country. And I tease people by saying, 'A leader, you can't say, follow me the world is going to be worse.' I'm an optimistic person. I'm an inherently content person. I've got a great sense of where I want to lead and I'm comfortable with why I'm running. And, you know, the call on that speech was, beware. This is going to be a tough campaign."—Interview with the Washington Post, March 23, 2000

"People make suggestions on what to say all the time. I'll give you an example; I don't read what's handed to me. People say, 'Here, here's your speech, or here's an idea for a speech.' They're changed. Trust me."—Interview with the New York Times, March 15, 2000

"It's evolutionary, going from governor to president, and this is a significant step, to be able to vote for yourself on the ballot, and I'll be able to do so next fall, I hope."—In an interview with the Associated Press, March 8, 2000 (Thanks to Joshua Micah Marshall.)

"It is not Reaganesque to support a tax plan that is Clinton in nature.''—Los Angeles, Feb. 23, 2000

"I don't have to accept their tenants. I was trying to convince those college students to accept my tenants. And I reject any labeling me because I happened to go to the university."—Today, Feb. 23, 2000

"I understand small business growth. I was one."—New York Daily News, Feb. 19, 2000

"The senator has got to understand if he's going to have—he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road."—To reporters in Florence, S.C., Feb. 17, 2000

"Really proud of it. A great campaign. And I'm really pleased with the organization and the thousands of South Carolinians that worked on my behalf. And I'm very gracious and humbled."—To Cokie Roberts, This Week, Feb. 20, 2000

"I don't want to win? If that were the case why the heck am I on the bus 16 hours a day, shaking thousands of hands, giving hundreds of speeches, getting pillared in the press and cartoons and still staying on message to win?"—Newsweek, Feb. 28, 2000

"I thought how proud I am to be standing up beside my dad. Never did it occur to me that he would become the gist for cartoonists."—ibid.

"If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign."—Hilton Head, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

"How do you know if you don't measure if you have a system that simply suckles kids through?"—Explaining the need for educational accountability in Beaufort, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

"We ought to make the pie higher."—South Carolina Republican Debate, Feb. 15, 2000

"I do not agree with this notion that somehow if I go to try to attract votes and to lead people toward a better tomorrow somehow I get subscribed to some—some doctrine gets subscribed to me."—Meet The Press, Feb. 13, 2000

"I've changed my style somewhat, as you know. I'm less—I pontificate less, although it may be hard to tell it from this show. And I'm more interacting with people."—ibid

"I think we need not only to eliminate the tollbooth to the middle class, I think we should knock down the tollbooth."—Nashua, N.H., as quoted by Gail Collins in the New York Times, Feb. 1, 2000

"The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case."—Pella, Iowa, as quoted by the San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 30, 2000

"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"—Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000

"This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve."—Speaking during "Perseverance Month" at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua, N.H. As quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 28, 2000

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."—Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

"What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate, quotas, I think vulcanize society. So I don't know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that's my position.''—Quoted by Molly Ivins, the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2000 (Thanks to Toni L. Gould.)

"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were," he said. "It was us vs. them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there."—Iowa Western Community College, Jan 21, 2000

"The administration I'll bring is a group of men and women who are focused on what's best for America, honest men and women, decent men and women, women who will see service to our country as a great privilege and who will not stain the house."—Des Moines Register


David - 11/5/2003

This guy is a historian?


David - 11/5/2003

This is a "right-wing" site if you're an anarchist.


Liberal who got mugged by reality - 11/5/2003

If Leftist history as portrayed by the "historians" on this site were true, then why is Leftism in such a state of bankruptcy and in full retreat everywhere we look? Why has common sense been so victorious over "complexity"? Why has the common man rejected the social engineering of the Paternalist Left?

Don't you get it? It's OVER. Give it up.


Hugh High - 11/5/2003



What a silly little piece Carpenter has written !

Not scholarship, mere drivel better suited to other outlets and not one which has aspirations to scholarly discussion. Indeed, if Carpenter is representative of columnists at History Network , then the Network might wish to reconsider its affialiation with him since such mere "pottage" , devoid of substance, demeans the Network and brings it into disrepute which, over time, will harm it immensely.


sheila skemp - 11/5/2003

Wonderful--in a depressing sort of way--as far as it goes. But what about Bush's craven attempt to blame the military
for his "Mission Accomplished" banner?


John Brown - 11/5/2003

Is that the issue? I seem to remember some talk about "weapons of mass destruction." Or was it links to Al Qaeda? Neither of which are any more true today than when the White House so cynically sold its war to the American public. I don't believe too many Americans would have been willing to go to war to give Iraqis better electrical service, and I don't believe the White House did either.


John Brown - 11/5/2003

Hell, no, it is not a fair assessment. You speak for nobody but yourself. Little that is posted on this list is "history," at least of the Lynne Cheney-approved variety, and Carpenter's is a lone voice in an otherwise monotonous wilderness of ignorant right-wing cheerleading. You're free not to read it. At least for now, we are free to do so.


Suetonius - 11/5/2003

How interesting to read the comments here directed in response to this piece. From all sides of the spectrum, there's agreement that this piece is not history, and I'd submit that the readership here doesn't want more of it. Is that a fair assessment?


Suetonius - 11/5/2003

You're right about the maxim, Josh, but I think you might have a better fit with Carpenter than Bush. Those who cannot understand the immediate past are doomed to write repetious, boring editorials that scream the same thing each time.

Carpenter claims that nothing has been done in Iraq (citing Bush's naming of the currency reform as the 'best' that could be mentioned). But he's so completely wrong that even the most die-hard Dean supporter would have to concede that there has been tremendous good work done to repair the lives and livelihood of the ordinary Iraqis. For one example...there's more electricity in Iraq now than there ever was under the Hussein regime. How can Carpenter willingly downplay this stuff, or even use some manufactured ambiguity as a point to hammer Bush? Regardless of anyone's position on Bush, the facts are there...life is better in Iraq than it was a year ago.


Josh Greenland - 11/5/2003

Such a title, Mr. Thomas! More of your gentlemanly airs?

As far as what's reflected in the polls, Bush is dropping in them. Why is that, I wonder?


Josh Greenland - 11/5/2003

I don't think we've gotten off the beaten path of history. This may be the perfect manifestation of George Santayana's maxim, that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/George_Santayana/21

Americans have already had as a counter-example Ronald Reagan, whose underlings put him in press conferences as infrequently as possible. When press conferences had to occur, staffers referred to them as "damage control" because of the work they had to put in to keep RR from screwing up any more than was unavoidable.

I'm not sure what to say about GW Bush' raw intelligence, but the fact that he is one of the stupidest-looking people alive should have given more voters pause then it did. The Supreme Court's Florida ruling and Republican party machinations played their parts in edging Shrub into office, but enough Americans had to ignore Santayana to get Bonzo II close to the prize.


Josh Greenland - 11/5/2003

Such a title, Mr. Thomas! More of your gentlemanly airs?

As far as what's reflected in the polls, Bush is dropping in them. Why is that, I wonder?


Sally Dean - 11/5/2003

You're right, this is not history.

Fine. When Carpenter starts bashing Israelis and Jews incessantly week after week, then we can "trade": Carpenter for Pipes (i.e. dump them both). Who will HNN then bring in to counteract Kramer and Klinghoffer's repetitive ahistorical propaganda ?

By the way, John Kipper, have you ever posted a comment in criticism of Pipes ? A little "practicing" of what you "preach" might go a long way.


F.H. Thomas - 11/4/2003


What a pity that Mr. Carpenter's hit piece finds so little echo in the polls. I suppose that another leftie staple, "it's the economy stupid", must have gone down the memory hole.


John Kipper - 11/4/2003

And it is not even current events. It is just mindless hyperbole from a Dowd wannabe. I have a question for all of you who routinely complain about the postings of Kramer and Pipes, who at least include some analysis in their postings: why do you not address Carpenter's frequent screeds? His posting are (or should be)an embarrassment to anyone who has any pretensions to rationality. Or effective argumentation.


Gus Moner - 11/4/2003

I agree it is off the beaten path from history.


Carl Foley - 11/4/2003


"...the masquarading [sic] of polemical diatribes (such as this piece) as history....demeans the credibility of this site as being one about history."


John - 11/3/2003

No matter how many times I hear the excuse that current events is history too, it still does not excuse the masquarading of polemical diatribes (such as this piece) as history. It isn't and further demeans the credibility of this site as being one about history.

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