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George W. Bush

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Our gains are not measured in the losses of others. They are counted in the conflicts we avert, the prosperity we share and the peace we extend.
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Our gains are not measured in the losses of others. They are counted in the conflicts we avert, the prosperity we share and the peace we extend.

George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946), politician, 43rd president of the USA; son of George H. W. Bush, husband of Laura Welch Bush and grandson of Prescott Bush.

Contents

Sourced

1997

1998

  • You don’t get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier… So long as I’m the dictator.

1999

  • Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.
    • On Kosovo, Houston Chronicle (April 9, 1999)
  • I would define the mission as to restoring Kosovo so the Kosovoians can move back in and at the same time teach Mr. Milosevic that NATO and its allies and the United States will not tolerate genocide.
    • On Kosovo, Houston Chronicle (April 9, 1999)

2000

  • The state can do what they want to do. Don’t try to trap me in this state’s issue like you’re trying to get me into.
  • I think we all agree, the past is over.
    • The Dallas Morning News (May 10, 2000)
  • Well, I think if you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness.
    • CNN Online Chat (August 30, 2000)
  • I know that the human being and the fish can coexist peacefully.
    • The Washington Post (October 1, 2000)
  • They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it’s some kind of federal program.
    • USA Today, St. Charles, MO (November 2, 2000)
  • I told all four [congressional leaders] that I felt like this election happened for a reason; that it pointed out — the delay in the outcome should make it clear to all of us — that we can come together to heal whatever wounds may exist, whatever residuals there may be. And I really look forward to the opportunity. I hope they’ve got my sense of optimism about the possible, and enthusiasm about the job. I told all four that there are going to be some times where we don’t agree with each other, but that’s okay. If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier… [Bush chuckles, audience laughs] …just so long as I’m the dictator [more laughter].
    • Online NewsHour interview, Washington, DC, (December 18, 2000)’ during his first trip to Washington as President-elect. The last sentence is also included in Fahrenheit 9/11.

2001

  • Dealing with Congress is a matter of give and take. The president doesn’t get everything he wants, the Congress doesn’t get everything they want. But we’re finding good common ground. A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no question about it.
  • A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
    America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.
    Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America — with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.
    • Address to the Nation (September 11, 2001)
  • I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
  • I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt.
    • Spoken at a September 13, 2001 meeting with the four senators from New York and Virginia. Reported in “A President Finds His True Voice”, Newsweek (September 24, 2001).
  • Lucky me, I hit the trifecta.
    • Statement to budget director Mitchell Daniels, mid-September; as quoted by him in an address to the OMB Conference Board (October 16, 2001) repeated as a dubious joke through 2002: at Robin Hayes for Congress and Elizabeth Dole for Senate luncheon, Charlotte NC, Feb 27; [1] at Latham for Congress Luncheon, DesMoines IA, Mar 1;[2] at Saxby Chambliss for Senate Dinner, Atlanta GA, Mar 27;[3] at Graham for Senate Luncheon, Greenville SC, Mar 27;[4] at Cornyn for Senate Luncheon, Dallas TX, Mar 29;[5] at Fisher for Governor Reception, Philadelphia PA, Apr 3;[6] at Leaders of the Fiscal Responsibility Coalition, Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg, Apr 16;[7] at Heather Wilson for Congress Luncheon, Albuquerque NM, Apr 29;[8] at Simon for Governor Luncheon, Santa Clara CA, May 1;[9] at Taft for Governor Luncheon, Columbus OH, May 10;[10] at 14th Annual World Pork Expo, DesMoines IA, June 7;[11] at 21st Century High Tech Forum, Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg, June 13;[12] at Texans for Rick Perry, Houston TX, June 14.[13]
  • The English translation is not as eloquent as the original Arabic, but let me quote from the Koran, itself: In the long run, evil in the extreme will be the end of those who do evil. For that they rejected the signs of Allah and held them up to ridicule.
    The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.
    • Remarks at the Islamic Center, Washington, D.C. (September 17, 2001)
  • Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.
    • Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People (September 20, 2001) [14]
  • Americans are asking ‘Why do they[terrorists] hate us?’ They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.
    • Address to a Joint Session of Congress (September 21, 2001)
  • You are either with us or you are against us in the fight against terror.
  • I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower — the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly, myself, and I said, well, there’s one terrible pilot. I said, it must have been a horrible accident.

2002

  • States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.
    • Bush referring to Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as an “Axis of Evil” in his State of the Union Address (January 29, 2002)
  • I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.
  • I hope the message that we fight not a religion, but a group of fanatics which have hijacked a religion is getting through. I understand the propaganda machines are cranked up in the international community that paints our country in a bad light. We’ll do everything we can to remind people that we’ve never been a nation of conquerors; we’re a nation of liberators. And I would ask the skeptics to look at Afghanistan, where not only this country rout the Taliban, which was one of the most barbaric regimes in the history of mankind, but thanks to our strength and our compassion, many young girls now go to school for the first time.
  • 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.

2003

  • We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They’re illegal. They’re against the United Nations resolutions, and we’ve so far discovered two. And we’ll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them. -George W. Bush, May 29, 2003 [16]
  • In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted. War criminals will be punished. And it will be no defense to say, “I was just following orders.”
    • speaking directly to the Iraqi people during a national address, 2003-03-17 [17]
  • Every Iraqi atrocity has confirmed the justice and the urgency of our cause. (Applause.) Against this enemy we will accept no outcome except complete victory.
    • The East Room of the White House, March 28, 2003 [18]
  • I said you were a man of peace. I want you to know I took immense crap for that.
  • The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example.
  • There are some that feel like if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don’t understand what they are talking about if that is the case. Let me finish. There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring ’em on. [22], [23]
    • When discussing the insurgency on Iraq.
    • July 2, 2003.
  • Step forth and speak. Sept. 17, 2003 [24]
  • The best way to get the news is from objective sources, and the most objective sources I have are people on my staff who tell me what’s happening in the world.
    • FOX interview w/ Brit Hume, 2003 Sep 23 — cf. the chestnut that those with the king’s ear have the power
  • I don’t know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it.
  • See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don’t attack each other. Free nations don’t develop weapons of mass destruction.
    • Midwest Airlines Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 3, 2003 [25]
  • We’re fighting on many fronts, and Iraq is now the central front. Saddam holdouts and foreign terrorists are trying desperately to undermine Iraq’s progress and to throw that country into chaos. The terrorists in Iraq believe their attacks on innocent people will weaken our resolve. That’s what they believe. They believe that America will run from a challenge. They’re mistaken. Americans are not the running kind.
    • Speech in Portsmouth, NH (Oct 9, 2003) These lines have sometimes been attributed to Paul Wolfowitz, who was reported to have said them the next day, perhaps quoting the President’s speech.
  • Saddam’s rape rooms and torture chambers and children’s prisons are closed forever. His mass graves will claim no victims.
    • 2003 October 18, to the Philippine Congress [26]
  • I love freedom of speech.
    • Said in reference to a protest by Greens member Bob Brown during his address to the Australian Parliament as Brown was ordered to leave the parliament. October 23, 2003 [27]
  • My Geordie is probably just about as bad as my English.
    • Asked if he will be able to understand the accent in Tony Blair‘s constituency in North-East England, 14 November, 2003 [28]
  • So what’s the difference?
    • 2003 Dec 16, to Diane Sawyer, as she presses about the administration’s verbiage about Iraqi WMD vs. the fact none were used or found [29][30]

2004

  • A submarine could take this place out.
    • While surveying the Arkansas River by the Clinton Presidential Center, quoted by the Guardian, Little Rock, Arkansas, November 18, 2004.
  • We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon, and to prepare for new journeys to worlds beyond our own.
  • Returning to the moon is an important step for our space program. Establishing an extended human presence on the moon could vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions. Lifting heavy spacecraft and fuel out of the Earth’s gravity is expensive. Spacecraft assembled and provisioned on the moon could escape its far lower gravity using far less energy, and thus, far less cost. Also, the moon is home to abundant resources. Its soil contains raw materials that might be harvested and processed into rocket fuel or breathable air. We can use our time on the moon to develop and test new approaches and technologies and systems that will allow us to function in other, more challenging environments. The moon is a logical step toward further progress and achievement.
  • No President has ever done more for human rights than I have.
    • Ken Auletta “Fortress Bush”, The New Yorker, Jan 19, 2004, p64
  • This is my chance to help this lady put some money in her pocket. Let me explain how the economy works. When you spend money to buy food it helps this lady’s business. It makes it more likely somebody is going to find work. So instead of asking questions, answer mine: are you going to buy some food?
    • Remarks by the President to the Press Pool, Nothin’ Fancy Cafe, Roswell, New Mexico — Whitehouse Transcript[31], Office of the Press Secretary, January 22, 2004.
  • Right here in the Oval Office I sat down with Mr. Pachachi and Chalabi and al-Hakim, people from different parts of the country that have made the firm commitment, that they want a constitution eventually written that recognizes minority rights and freedom of religion.
    • 2004 Feb 7, interview with Tim Russert (broadcast next day)[32]
  • I’m a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind.
    • On NBC’s Meet the Press, Feb. 8, 2004
  • I fully understand it takes time for free societies, truly free societies to evolve. I don’t expect instant success.
    • Interview on Middle East Television Network, February 18, 2004 [33]
  • Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
  • My meetings with [Ahmed Chalabi] were very brief. I mean, I think I met with him at the State of the Union and just kind of working through the rope line, and he might have come with a group of leaders. But I haven’t had any extensive conversations with him.
    • 2004 June 1, remarks on Iraqi Interim Government[35]
  • I want to be the peace president
  • Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
    • 5 August 2004 [37]
  • Tribal sovereignty means that; it’s sovereign. I mean, you’re a — you’ve been given sovereignty, and you’re viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities.
    • When asked what sovereignty would mean for Native Americans in the 21st century
    • August 6, 2004 [38]
  • This young century will be liberty’s century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America.
    • Acceptance speech at Republic National Convention (September 2, 2004)
  • I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.
    • In response to the question of whether we can win the war on terror (August 30, 2004) [39]
  • In this different kind of war, we may never sit down at a peace table. But make no mistake about it, we are winning, and we will win.
    • Speech at the national convention of the American Legion, in Nashville, Tennessee (August 31, 2004) [40]
  • Well, actually, he forgot Poland.
    • Responding to John Kerry’s criticism of Bush’s “Coalition of the Willing”. 1st Presidential Debate, September 30, 2004 [41]
    • See: You forgot Poland on Wikipedia
  • It’s hard work
    • 1st Presidential Debate, September 30, 2004
  • I hear there’s rumors on the internets [pause] that we’re going to have a draft. We’re not going to have a draft, period.
    • 2nd Presidential Debate, October 8, 2004 [42]
  • I wasn’t happy when we found out there wasn’t weapons [of mass destruction in Iraq]
    • 2nd Presidential Debate, October 8, 2004
  • Our healthcare system is the envy of the world.
    • 3rd Presidential Debate, October 13, 2004 [43]
  • I just don’t think I ever said I’m not worried about Osama bin Laden. It’s kind of one of those exaggerations.
    • 3rd Presidential Debate, October 13, 2004 (See his Mar 13, 2002 quote)
  • In all due respect, I’m not so sure it’s credible to quote leading news organizations about — oh, never mind.
    • 3rd Presidential Debate, October 13, 2004
  • I made it very plain: We will not have an all-volunteer army. [Crowd boos] Let me restate that. We will not have a draft. [Crowd Cheers]
    • Bush speaking at the Daytona International Speedway with his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, October 16, 2004 [44]
  • A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief.
    • Bush to supporters at an airport rally, October 27, 2004 [45]
  • Now that I’ve got the will of the people at my back, I’m going to start enforcing the one-question rule. That was three questions.
    • News conference, apparently joking (4 November 2004) [46]
  • Again, he violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously, you didn’t listen to the will of the people.
    • News conference, apparently joking (4 November 2004) [47]

2005

  • Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There’s a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It’s kind of muddled. Look, there’s a series of things that cause the — like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate — the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those — if that growth is affected, it will help on the red. (4 February 2005)[48]
  • I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you’re not equally as patriotic if you’re not a religious person. … I’ve never said that. I’ve never acted like that. I think that’s just the way it is. (Washington Times, 12 January 2005)
  • Sometimes, words have consequences you don’t intend them to mean (14 January 2005) [49]
  • Asked why his administration had been unable to locate and arrest Osama Bin Laden: Because he’s hiding. (16 January 2005) [50]
  • To Poland’s President Aleksander Kwas’niewski: I want to thank you for your leadership on that issue, Mr Prime Minister. (10 February 2005) [51]
  • This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. (Short pause) And having said that, all options are on the table. (Laughter) (25 February 2005) [52]
  • “Hello, what’s your name?”
    “My name is Mr. Fischer, what’s your name?”
    “Bush. I’m Mr. Bush.”
    • Dialogue with German foreign minister and Vice Chancellor Joschka Fischer during his visit in Germany, 24. February 2005 [53]
  • I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers’ money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is — I’m against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it. (emphasis added) AP, 21 May, 2005
  • Interestingly enough, Americans now understand we have a problem. — April 26, 2005 [54]
  • See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda. — May 24, 2005 [55]
  • On United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States reaffirms its commitment to the worldwide elimination of torture. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right, and we are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law…Throughout the world, there are many who have been seeking to have their voices heard, to stand up for their right to freedom, and to break the chains of tyranny. Too many of those courageous women and men are paying a terrible price for their brave acts of dissent. Many have been detained, arrested, thrown in prison, and subjected to torture by regimes that fail to understand that their habits of control will not serve them well in the long-term. — June 26 [56]
  • What I intend to do is lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong…. I think one of the things that people want us to do here is to play a blame game. We’ve got to solve problems. We’re problem-solvers. There will be ample time for people to figure out what went right and what went wrong. What I’m interested in is helping save lives. That’s what I want to do.
    • Answering a question regarding Katrina aftermath and what went wrong with government response — July 6, 2005. [57]
  • I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we are having to deal with it and will. — September 1, 2005. [58]
  • I understand not everybody agrees with the decisions I’ve made, but that’s not unique to Central or South America. Truth of the matter is, there’s people who disagree with the decisions I’ve made all over the world. But that’s what happens when you make decisions.
  • We do not torture. November 7, 2005. [60] [61]
  • As Iraqi forces gain experience and the political process advances, we will be able to decrease our troop level in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists. These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington.
    • during address to the United States Naval Academy, November 30, 2005. [62]
  • There was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the attack of 9/11, I’ve never said that and never made that case prior to going into Iraq.[63]

2006

  • I want to share some thoughts with you before I answer your questions […] First of all, I expect this conversation we’re about to have to stay in the room. I know that’s impossible in Washington.
    • post-press conference, closed-door session at the House Republican retreat, February 10, 2006; conferees were unaware that the microphones from the press conference were still relaying their words to reporters
    • “Oops! – Bush Unaware Mikes Were Still On”, Associated Press via Yahoo! News, February 10, 2006
  • Pakistan “will be a steadfast partner…. A force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world.”
    • Televised speech in India, March 3, 2006; According to one news report, “White House spokesman Scott McClellan later had to explain aboard Air Force One en route to Pakistan that Bush meant to say ‘Muslim world’ — uncomfortably noting that Pakistan is not an Arab nation.”
    • “Bush’s Pakistan visit not ‘risk-free'”, Chicago Tribune, March 3, 2006
  • But I’m the decider and I decide what’s best.
  • I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound perch in my lake.
    • Revealing his “best moment since he took office in 2001” to a German newspaper reporter, Bild am Sonntag. [64]
    • (Note: the largest recorded perch in the U.S. is still under 5 pounds.)
  • Eventually, these people will have trials and they will have counsel and they will be represented in a court of law.
  • I traveled to Baghdad to personally show our Nation’s commitment to a free Iraq, because it is vital for the Iraqi people to know with certainty that America will not abandon them after we have come this far. The challenges that remain in Iraq are serious. We face determined enemies who remain intent on killing the innocent, and defeating these enemies will require more sacrifice and the continued patience of our country. But our efforts in Iraq are well worth it, the mission is necessary for the security of our country, and we will succeed.
  • Germany is whole again.
    • during visit in Stralsund, Germany, July 13th, 2006, televised by German TV-stations
  • In the long term, we’ve got to defeat an ideology of hate with an ideology of hope. There’s a reason why people like (al-Qaida leader Osama) bin Laden are able to recruit suiciders, because if you don’t have hope, you’re attracted to an ideology which says, it’s OK to kill people and kill yourself.

Bushisms

Arranged chronologically where a date is provided; then alphabetized, until they can be dated

Bushisms are words, phrases, or other grammatical configurations unique to the style of President George W. Bush while speaking publicly and usually extemporaneously.

  • The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case.
    • San Antonio Express-News, January 30, 2000 [66]; speech in Pella, Iowa
  • I think anybody who doesn’t think I’m smart enough to handle the job is misunderestimating.
    • Quoted in U.S. News & World Reports, April 3, 2000
  • 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.
    • Hardball, May 31, 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, December 5, 2000
  • 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.
    • New York Times, January 14, 2001 [67]
  • Rarely is the question asked, is . . . are children learning?
    • 2001 Washington TV/Radio Correspondents dinner; sometimes reported as “is our children learning?”
  • Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
  • The, uh, questionnaire that she filled out is an important questionnaire, and, uh, obviously they will address the questions that, uh, the senators have in the questionnaire, uh, as a result of the answers to the questions in the questionnaire. [smiles]
  • First, I recognize we live in a momentous time. For those of you watching, we seem to have a mechanical flaw.
    • The White House, January 26, 2006 [68]; Press Conference
  • That makes sense to me, doesn’t it?
    • Speech at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Artesia, New Mexico, 6 June 2006.   Transcript   RealPlayer Video(at 16:25)
  • The United States and China are two nations divided by a vast ocean.
    • Speech about US relations with China, April 20, 2006
  • We have a big border between Texas and Mexico.
    • Speech about illegal immigration, March 20, 2006
  • The primary component of gasoline is crude oil.
    • Speech about gas prices, April 22, 2006
  • You can’t read a newspaper if you can’t read.
    • Speech, August 6, 2004
  • I would still invade Iraq even if Iraq never existed.
    • “Bush: Now Iraq’s a moderate fiasco,” Press-Telegram, Monday, August 21, 2006

Speeches

A Period of Consequences (September 23, 1999)

Speech at the Citadel, Military College of South Carolina

  • The protection of America itself will assume a high priority in a new century. Once a strategic afterthought, homeland defense has become an urgent duty. For most of our history, America felt safe behind two great oceans. But with the spread of technology, distance no longer means security.
  • Let me be clear. Our first line of defense is a simple message: Every group or nation must know, if they sponsor such attacks, our response will be devastating.
  • We will defend the American homeland by strengthening our intelligence community – focusing on human intelligence and the early detection of terrorist operations both here and abroad. And when direct threats to America are discovered, I know that the best defense can be a strong and swift offense – including the use of Special Operations Forces and long-range strike capabilities.
  • I will put a high priority on detecting and responding to terrorism on our soil. The federal government must take this threat seriously – working closely with researchers and industry to increase surveillance and develop treatments for chemical and biological agents.
  • Defending our nation is just the beginning of our challenge. My third goal is to take advantage of a tremendous opportunity – given few nations in history – to extend the current peace into the far realm of the future. A chance to project America’s peaceful influence, not just across the world, but across the years.
  • Yet today our military is still organized more for Cold War threats than for the challenges of a new century — for industrial age operations, rather than for information age battles. There is almost no relationship between our budget priorities and a strategic vision. The last seven years have been wasted in inertia and idle talk. Now we must shape the future with new concepts, new strategies, new resolve.
  • In the late 1930s, as Britain refused to adapt to the new realities of war, Winston Churchill observed, “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”
  • Our military and our nation are entering another period of consequences – a time of rapid change and momentous choices.
  • Now comes our time of testing. Our measure is taken, not only by what we have and use, but what we build and leave behind. And nothing this generation could ever build will matter more than the means to defend our nation and extend our peace.

A Distinctly American Internationalism (November 19, 1999)

Speech at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California

  • In the defense of our nation, a president must be a clear-eyed realist. There are limits to the smiles and scowls of diplomacy. Armies and missiles are not stopped by stiff notes of condemnation. They are held in check by strength and purpose and the promise of swift punishment.
  • The most powerful force in the world is not a weapon or a nation but a truth: that we are spiritual beings, and that freedom is “the soul’s right to breathe.”
  • American foreign policy must be more than the management of crisis. It must have a great and guiding goal: to turn this time of American influence into generations of democratic peace.
  • Some have tried to pose a choice between American ideals and American interests — between who we are and how we act. But the choice is false. America, by decision and destiny, promotes political freedom — and gains the most when democracy advances. America believes in free markets and free trade — and benefits most when markets are opened. America is a peaceful power — and gains the greatest dividend from democratic stability. Precisely because we have no territorial objectives, our gains are not measured in the losses of others. They are counted in the conflicts we avert, the prosperity we share and the peace we extend.
  • The case for trade is not just monetary, but moral. Economic freedom creates habits of liberty. And habits of liberty create expectations of democracy.
  • We are no longer fighting a great enemy, we are asserting a great principle: that the talents and dreams of average people — their warm human hopes and loves — should be rewarded by freedom and protected by peace. We are defending the nobility of normal lives, lived in obedience to God and conscience, not to government.
  • America has never been an empire. We may be the only great power in history that had the chance, and refused — preferring greatness to power and justice to glory.

First Inaugural Address (January 20, 2001)

Washington, DC [69]

  • The peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings.
  • America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens.
  • We are not this story’s author, who fills time and eternity with His purpose. Yet His purpose is achieved in our duty, and our duty is fulfilled in service to one another. Never tiring, never yielding, never finishing, we renew that purpose today; to make our country more just and generous; to affirm the dignity of our lives and every life.
    This work continues. This story goes on. And an Angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.
    • Bush concluded his address with these lines, paraphrasing a quotation by John Page he had used earlier within it: We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?. Page himself, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson (20 July 1776), was quoting a phrase from Ecclesiastes 9:11: I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to the intelligent, nor yet favour to men of knowledge; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Remarks by the President to United Nations General Assembly (November 10, 2001)

  • We must speak the truth about terror. Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th; malicious lies that attempt to shift the blame away from the terrorists, themselves, away from the guilty. To inflame ethnic hatred is to advance the cause of terror.

Address to the National Endowment for Democracy (November 6, 2003)

United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington, DC [70]

  • The prosperity, and social vitality and technological progress of a people are directly determined by the extent of their liberty. Freedom honors and unleashes human creativity — and creativity determines the strength and wealth of nations. Liberty is both the plan of Heaven for humanity, and the best hope for progress here on Earth.
  • Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom, and never even to have a choice in the matter? I, for one, do not believe it. I believe every person has the ability and the right to be free.
  • The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.
  • The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country. From the Fourteen Points to the Four Freedoms, to the Speech at Westminster, America has put our power at the service of principle. We believe that liberty is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the direction of history. We believe that human fulfillment and excellence come in the responsible exercise of liberty. And we believe that freedom — the freedom we prize — is not for us alone, it is the right and the capacity of all mankind.
  • This is, above all, the age of liberty.

Remarks on U.S.-British relations and foreign policy (November 19, 2003)

Whitehall Palace, London [71]

  • Americans traveling to England always observe more similarities to our country than differences. I’ve been here only a short time, but I’ve noticed the tradition of free speech exercised with enthusiasm is alive and well here in London. We have that at home too. They now have that right in Baghdad as well.
  • The United States and Great Britain share a mission in the world beyond the balance of power or the simple pursuit of interest. We seek the advance of freedom and the peace that freedom brings.
  • We cannot rely exclusively on military power to assure our long-term security. Lasting peace is gained as justice and democracy advance.
  • If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and anger and violence for export. And as we saw in the ruins of two towers, no distance on the map will protect our lives and way of life. If the greater Middle East joins the democratic revolution that has reached much of the world, the lives of millions in that region will be bettered, and a trend of conflict and fear will be ended at its source.
  • We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq and pay a bitter cost of casualties and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins.

Speech to United Nations General Assembly (September 21, 2004)

UN Headquarters, New York, NY [72]

  • For decades, the circle of liberty and security and development has been expanding in our world. This progress has brought unity to Europe, self-government to Latin America and Asia, and new hope to Africa. Now we have the historic chance to widen the circle even further, to fight radicalism and terror with justice and dignity, to achieve a true peace, founded on human freedom.
  • We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace. We know that oppressive governments support terror, while free governments fight the terrorists in their midst. We know that free peoples embrace progress and life, instead of becoming the recruits for murderous ideologies.
  • Every nation that wants peace will share the benefits of a freer world. And every nation that seeks peace has an obligation to help build that world.
  • The security of our world is found in the advancing rights of mankind.
  • Peaceful nations must stand for the advance of democracy. No other system of government has done more to protect minorities, to secure the rights of labor, to raise the status of women, or to channel human energy to the pursuits of peace.
  • When it comes to the desire for liberty and justice, there is no clash of civilizations. People everywhere are capable of freedom, and worthy of freedom.
  • The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls, or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will find a way.
  • For too long, many nations, including my own, tolerated, even excused, oppression in the Middle East in the name of stability. Oppression became common, but stability never arrived. We must take a different approach. We must help the reformers of the Middle East as they work for freedom, and strive to build a community of peaceful, democratic nations.
  • The advance of liberty is the path to both a safer and better world.

Second Inaugural Address (20 January 2005)

  • The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
  • From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave.
  • We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation — the moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right.
  • As hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well — a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.
  • In America’s ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character — on integrity and tolerance toward others and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self.
    That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards,and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before — ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today and forever.
  • The exercise of rights is ennobled by service and mercy and a heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.
  • From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?
  • We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes — and I will strive in good faith to heal them. Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free.
  • We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as he wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages, when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty, when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner “Freedom Now” — they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled.
  • History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction set by liberty and the author of liberty. When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, “It rang as if it meant something.” In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength — tested, but not weary — we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.

Address to the National Endowment for Democracy (October 6, 2005)

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, DC [73]

  • Our nation stood guard on tense borders; we spoke for the rights of dissidents and the hopes of exile; we aided the rise of new democracies on the ruins of tyranny. And all the cost and sacrifice of that struggle has been worth it, because, from Latin America to Europe to Asia, we’ve gained the peace that freedom brings.
  • We’re facing a radical ideology with inalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world. No act of ours invited the rage of the killers — and no concession, bribe, or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder.
  • Because free peoples believe in the future, free peoples will own the future.
  • Any government that chooses to be an ally of terror has also chosen to be an enemy of civilization.
  • There’s always a temptation, in the middle of a long struggle, to seek the quiet life, to escape the duties and problems of the world, and to hope the enemy grows weary of fanaticism and tired of murder. This would be a pleasant world, but it’s not the world we live in. The enemy is never tired, never sated, never content with yesterday’s brutality. This enemy considers every retreat of the civilized world as an invitation to greater violence.
  • In Iraq, there is no peace without victory. We will keep our nerve and we will win that victory.

Address to the Nation on Iraqi Elections (December 18th, 2005)

[74]

  • My conviction comes down to this: we do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them.
  • If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone. This is not the threat I see. I see a global terrorist movement that exploits Islam in the service of radical political aims — a vision in which books are burned, and women are oppressed, and all dissent is crushed.
  • To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor and I will not allow it.

State of the Union (January 31, 2006)

[75]

  • In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting — yet it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our people … the only way to secure the peace … the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership — so the United States of America will continue to lead.
  • Abroad, our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal — we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it.
  • No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam — the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death.
  • Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan or blow up commuters in London or behead a bound captive the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.
  • In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat.
  • But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil. America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. We are the nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps, and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed, and move this world toward peace. We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders — and for the others, their day will come.
  • Members of Congress: however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in its vital mission.
  • This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know about it — because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
  • Our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy — a war that will be fought by presidents of both parties, who will need steady bipartisan support from the Congress. And tonight I ask for yours. Together, let us protect our country, support the men and women who defend us, and lead this world toward freedom.
  • Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
  • America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.
  • As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. We have proven the pessimists wrong before — and we will do it again.
  • Fellow citizens, we have been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. And sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore. Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing.
  • Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well? Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom’s advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward — optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of victories to come.

United Nations General Assembly in September 2006

[76]

  • Imagine what it’s like to be a young person living in a country that is not moving toward reform…While your peers in other parts of the world have received educations that prepare them for the opportunities of a global economy, you have been fed propaganda and conspiracy theories that blame others for your country’s shortcomings.
  • Extremists in your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is engaged in a war against Islam. This propaganda is false, and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror.

Attributed

Misquotations

  • I don’t know where he [Osama Bin Laden] is. I have no idea and I really don’t care.
    • This misquotation is frequently attributed to a White House press conference, March 13, 2002 [77]
    • The relevant parts of the White House transcript reads:
      THE PRESIDENT: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he’s alive at all. Who knows if he’s hiding in some cave or not; we haven’t heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is — really indicates to me people don’t understand the scope of the mission. Terror is bigger than one person. And he’s just — he’s a person who’s now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He’s the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is — as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide — if, in fact, he’s hiding at all. So I don’t know where he is. You know, I just don’t spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. I’m more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did.
    • Q: But don’t you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won’t truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?
      THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven’t heard much from him. And I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don’t know where he is. I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.
  • The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.
    • Alleged to have been made in a September 13, 2001 press conference, but apparently someone’s paraphrasing of Bush’s sentiments at the time. No official or credible site has a transcript with that precise quote. This and the preceding quote are often used to support criticism of what some say is Bush’s failure to keep his eye on the ball.
    • See “not blink in the face of danger” quote as sourced contrast
  • I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq… And I did. And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I’m gonna do it.
    • According to Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath, said by Bush to him, apparently in the same June 2003 meeting, as reported by BBC News [78]. Shaath later clarified this with “We understood that he was illustrating [in his comments] his strong faith and his belief that this is what God wanted.” [79].
    • Denied by White House spokesperson Scott McClellan, October 6, 2005. Denied also Mahmoud Abbas, who attended the meeting in question. Abbas said “This report is not true. I have never heard President Bush talking about religion as a reason behind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush has never mentioned that in front of me on any occasion and specifically not during my visit in 2003.” [80].

Misattributed

  • We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of our great nation.
    • The quote is from Bush at War by Bob Woodward, but it was not said by Bush. Woodward attributes the quote to one among “about 25 men representing three different Special Forces units and three CIA paramilitary teams” during the dedication of a September 11th memorial in the mountains of Afghanistan on February 5, 2002.
  • No, I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God.
  • It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.
    • According to Snopes.com, originally from October 1991 issue of Mad Magazine article “Future Quayle Quotes We Can Expect to Hear”. [81]
  • Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a goddamn piece of paper!
    • Originally cited here but later retracted due to lack of verifiable source.

Secondhand quotes

These quotes are reported by secondary sources and have either been unconfirmed or explicitly denied by George W. Bush or his representatives. They should be considered skeptically, and are listed here for completeness.

  • The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.
    • Reported first in The Times on 9 July, 2002; supposedly said during a discussion of the French economy with President Jacques Chirac and Great Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair, during the G8 summit in Kananaskis, Alberta.
    • The story has been repeated to Shirley Williams, the Baroness Williams of Crosby, by Tony Blair. [82]
  • We’re not going to have any casualties.
    • According to Pat Robertson, said by Bush to him in Nashville, Tennessee, USA before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. [83]
  • I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.
    • reportedly said to a group of Old Order Amish as published by the Lancaster New Era, July 16, 2004. [84]

Unsourced attributed

Undated

  • Ike had lots to do. First off, he had to clean up the big mess left by Franklin Roosevelt, a President who wasted so much taxpayer money on needless and wasteful social programs that us Republicans had to impose a two-term limit.
    • 1999, at a fundraiser in Montana, referring to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
  • I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply. Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot.
    • 2000; describing how he will lower gas prices if elected
  • Every time they say tax the rich, the rich dodge and you pay.
    • Bush before the 2004 election.
  • If your platform is the destruction of Israel, it means you’re not a partner in peace, and we’re interested in peace
  • A pandemic can strike at any time so we can’t waste time preparing.
  • They have mis-underestimated us!
    • 2003 address referring to the war on Terrorism, perhaps deliberately repeating an earlier malaprop of his own
  • I’m escaping (door mishap at a press conference)
    • 2005
  • Both Iraq and Lebanon seem to have used this whole voting thing to elect Islamic fundamentalists who hate America and Israel.
    • Overheard during a conversation with an adviser at the 2006 G8 meeting in Saint-Petersburg.
  • I care what 51 percent of the people think of me.
    • 2006, before the election, to Oprah Winfrey

2000

  • If we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road.
    • October 3, 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, OH, 4 October 2000.
  • If affirmative action means what I just described, what I’m for, then I’m for it.
    • St. Louis, Missouri, October 18, 2000

2001

  • I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
    • Addressing rescue workers at Ground Zero in New York, September 14, 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
  • It’s amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, and incumbency.
  • The resolve of our great nation is being tested. But make no mistake: We will show the world that we will pass this test. God bless.
    • Statement at Barksdale Air Force Base (September 11, 2001)
  • I want justice. And there’s an old poster out West, I recall, that says, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive.’[85][86]
    • referring to Osama Bin Ladin after the 9/11 attack. September 17, 2001.

2002

  • Do you have blacks, too?

2003

  • In our time, respect for the right to life calls us to defend the sick and the dying, persons with disabilities and birth defects, and all who are weak and vulnerable. And this self-evident truth calls us to value and to protect the lives of innocent children waiting to be born.
    • Jan 22, 2003, speaking at the at 30th Annual March for Life
  • Yes, if you heard the bombs falling, you’ll know that democracy is on the march in the Middle East.
    • Outside the White House, March 25, 2003.
  • I think war is a dangerous place.
    • Washington, D.C., May 7, 2003
  • And we base it, our history, and our decision making, our future, on solid values. The first value is, we’re all God’s children.[87]
    • Speaking to urban leaders, Washington, D.C., Jul. 16, 2003
  • We won’t be proven wrong […] I believe that we will find the truth. And the truth is, he was developing a program for weapons of mass destruction. [88]
    • Responding to a question about the importance of finding WMD in Iraq, The Cross Hall, Jul. 17, 2003
  • The only thing I know for certain is that they are bad people.
    • On the British detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay by the U.S. without judicial process, in meeting with British PM Tony Blair, Washington, D.C., Jul. 18, 2003
  • I caution those who may try to take the speck out of a neighbor’s eye when they got a log in their own.
    • 30 July 2003
  • As you know, these are open forums, you’re able to come and listen to what I have to say.
    • Oct. 28, 2003, Washington, D.C.

2004

  • It’s not a dictatorship in Washington, but I tried to make it one in that instance.
    • Describing his executive order making faith-based groups eligible for federal subsidies, New Orleans, Louisiana, Jan. 15, 2004
  • Just remember it’s the birds that’s supposed to suffer, not the hunter.
    • Advising quail hunter and New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici, Roswell, N.M., Jan. 22, 2004
  • Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife.
    • February 24, 2004
  • I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it… You know, I just — I’m sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer, but it hadn’t yet.
    • – when asked if he had made any mistakes as President.
    • Press Conference, 13 April 2004
  • I want you to know. Karyn is with us. A West Texas girl, just like me.
    • Nashville, Tennessee, May 27, 2004
  • But we’ve got a big border in Texas, with Mexico, obviously — and we’ve got a big border with Canada — Arizona is affected.
    • Washington, D.C., 24 June 2004
  • I mean, if you’ve ever been a governor of a state, you understand the vast potential of broadband technology, you understand how hard it is to make sure that physics, for example, is taught in every classroom in the state. It’s difficult to do. It’s, like, cost-prohibitive.
    • Washington, D.C., 24 June 2004
  • We’ll do everything in our power to save America one soul at a time.
    • Speaking to the National Urban League, 23 July 2004
  • Freedom is the Almighty God’s gift to every man and woman.
    • Speaking to the National Urban League, 23 July 2004
  • We may still find weapons. We haven’t found them yet.
    • August 2, 2004
  • Our enemies are resourceful and innovative, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
    • August 5, 2004, signing Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005
  • Had we to do it over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success, being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day.
    • August, 2004, telling Time magazine that he underestimated the Iraqi resistance
  • Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat.
    • September 17, 2004, Washington, D.C.
  • A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your Commander in Chief
    • Pres. George W. Bush, October 24, 2004 campaign speech
  • America has spoken, and I’m humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens.
    • Acceptance speech for second term (November 3, 2004)
  • We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America.
    • Acceptance speech for second term (November 3, 2004)
  • Let me put it to you this way. I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style.
    • News conference (4 November 2004)
  • I would like to thank all you Canadians for your warm welcome at the airport. Especially those of you who waved (Pause) with all 5 fingers.
    • Bush in a press conference during his state visit to Canada. November 30, 2004
  • Justice ought to be fair.
    • Bush speaking at the White House Economic Conference, Washington, D.C., December 15, 2004
  • It is complex
    • Bush referring to the job of Secretary of Defense at his 17th Press Conference since taking office; December 20, 2004

2005

  • Can you imagine if my name had been Mungo Bush?
    • 18 February 2005; commenting on the name of a reporter’s son
  • On the one hand, you’ve got people who’re working here to alleviate poverty, to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS. They’re working on ways to have a clean environment… And on the other hand, you’ve got people killing innocent people. The contrast couldn’t be clearer, between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill: those who’ve got such evil in their hearts that they will take the lives of innocent folks. The war on terror goes on. — July 7, 2005; speaking to the press outside the G8 Conference at Gleneagles, in response to the London bombings. BBC News 24.
  • I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts and if someone committed a crime they will no longer work in my administration.
    • White House press conference (multiple sources) with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, July 18 2005
    • in response to question about Karl Rove controversy (see also September 30 2003)
  • We have a serious ongoing investigation here. I think it’s best that people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. I don’t know all the facts. I want to know all the facts.
    • White House press conference (multiple sources) with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, July 18 2005
    • in response to question about Karl Rove controversy (see also September 30 2003)
  • I’m trying to figure out what else I can say that you — I didn’t say yesterday that sounds profound to you without — without actually answering your question.
    • White House press conference with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, July 19, 2005, in response to a question about his upcoming Supreme Court nominee
  • Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.
    • Speaking to FEMA head Michael D. Brown (multiple sources), following Hurrican Katrina, September 2, 2005.
    • As a result, the phrase “heck of a job” has been often re-used to sarcastically denote a job that has been executed poorly or with incompetence.
  • Well, the jury is still out on evolution, you know. George W. Bush answering a question regarding the case about how the evolution of man should be taught in schools. September 2005
  • The Iranian regime is evil. They are bad. Iran is run by a paranoid club of intolerant men who think God talks to them and them only. (July 19 2005)
  • Katrina exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government, and to the extent that the federal government didn’t fully do its job right, I take responsibility.
    • White House press conference (multiple sources) with President Jalal Talabani of Iraq, September 13, 2005 in response to the Federal Government’s actions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
  • Judge Alito is one of the most accomplished and respected judges in America. And his long career in public service has given him an extraordinary breadth of experience… I urge the senate to act promptly so that an up or down vote is held before the end of this year.
  • A Haiku by GW Bush from his trip to Japan, November 16th, 2005 (pointed out by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show)[89]:
I’ve consistently
said as the Iraqis stand
up, we will stand down.
  • Those who enter the country illegally are breaking the law. (5 December 2005)
  • The third part of our plan to strengthen border enforcement is to stop people from crossing the border illegally in the first place. (5 December 2005)

Disputed

  • I’m driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq… And I did. And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I’m gonna do it.
    • According to Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath, said by Bush to him, apparently in the same June 2003 meeting, as reported by BBC News [90]. Shaath later remarked that he didn’t think that Bush was speaking literally [91].
    • Denied by White House spokesperson Scott McClellan, October 6, 2005, and by Mahmoud Abbas who attended the meeting in question [92].

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