|The Complete Bushisms
Bryan Curtis is a Slate assistant editor. Jacob Weisberg is Slate's chief political correspondent. You can e-mail him at email@example.com. Posted Friday, Aug. 24, 2001, at 2:30 p.m. PT
Bush on Bushisms!
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"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
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
"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 west 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 debate, Iowa, Jan. 15, 2000
"This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mential losses."—At a South Carolina oyster roast, as quoted in the Financial Times, Jan. 14, 2000
"We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself."—ibid.
"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000
"Gov. Bush will not stand for the subsidation of failure."—ibid.
"There needs to be debates, like we're going through. There needs to be town-hall meetings. There needs to be travel. This is a huge country."—Larry King Live, Dec. 16, 1999
"I read the newspaper."—In answer to a question about his reading habits, New Hampshire Republican Debate, Dec. 2, 1999
"I think it's important for those of us in a position of responsibility to be firm in sharing our experiences, to understand that the babies out of wedlock is a very difficult chore for mom and baby alike. ... I believe we ought to say there is a different alternative than the culture that is proposed by people like Miss Wolf in society. ... And, you know, hopefully, condoms will work, but it hasn't worked."—Meet the Press, Nov. 21, 1999
"The students at Yale came from all different backgrounds and all parts of the country. Within months, I knew many of them."—From A Charge To Keep, by George W. Bush, published November 1999
"It is incredibly presumptive for somebody who has not yet earned his party's nomination to start speculating about vice presidents."—Keene, N.H., Oct. 22, 1999, quoted in the New Republic, Nov. 15, 1999
"The important question is, How many hands have I shaked?"—Answering a question about why he hasn't spent more time in New Hampshire, in the New York Times, Oct. 23, 1999
"I don't remember debates. I don't think we spent a lot of time debating it. Maybe we did, but I don't remember."—On discussions of the Vietnam War when he was an undergraduate at Yale, Washington Post, July 27, 1999
"The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned first-hand from your foreign minister, who came to Texas."—To a Slovak journalist as quoted by Knight Ridder News Service, June 22, 1999. Bush's meeting was with Janez Drnovsek, the prime minister of Slovenia.
"If the East Timorians decide to revolt, I'm sure I'll have a statement."—Quoted by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, June 16, 1999
"Keep good relations with the Grecians."—Quoted in the Economist, June 12, 1999
"Kosovians can move back in."—CNN Inside Politics, April 9, 1999
"It was just inebriating what Midland was all about then."—From a 1994 interview, as quoted in First Son, by Bill Minutaglio
|Join The Fray What did you think of this
Bryan Curtis is a Slate assistant editor. Jacob Weisberg is Slate's chief political correspondent. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty.
Photograph by Rick Wilking/Reuters.
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