George W. Bush

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My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers.

George Walker Bush (born 6 July 1946) is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd President of the United States from 2001 to 2009, and the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. He is the eldest son of Barbara and George H. W. Bush. He married Laura Welch in 1977 and ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives shortly thereafter. He was elected president in 2000 after a close and controversial election, becoming the fourth president to be elected while receiving fewer popular votes nationwide than his opponent. He is the second president to have been the son of a former president, the first having been John Quincy Adams.

Contents

Quotes[edit]

I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here.
I'm a uniter, not a divider.
Freedom, by its nature, cannot be imposed. It must be chosen.
We have a place, all of us, in a long story. A story we continue, but whose end we will not see.
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.
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.
This will be a decisive decade in the history of liberty... We've been called to a unique role in human events. Rarely has the world faced a choice more clear or consequential.
I love the military of the United States, and we are a lucky nation to have people who volunteer to serve.
I think we ought to welcome people from different cultures to America.
I miss being the commander in chief, and that's an easy question to answer. I love our military.
America, at its best, is compassionate. In the quiet of American conscience, we know that.
Compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government.
We are a land of immigrants, and we ought to recognize that as a matter of fact.
The great thing about America is we ought to be confident in knowing that everybody becomes an American, and we share the same value system... There's a great capacity for our society to assimilate people.
America's soul is rejuvenated when people come to our country and work hard to realize dreams... We ought to have a process that enables people to come.
Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force, and I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.
I believe that the best government that will yield to peace, is one decided by people.
If we permit our economy to drift and decline, the vulnerable will suffer most.
We go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time.
For most of our history, America felt safe behind two great oceans. But with the spread of technology, distance no longer means security.
This work continues. This story goes on. And an Angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm.
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.
I believe in the universality of freedom.
I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us.
Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.
We did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfill it.
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.
As we act to win the war, protect our people, and create jobs in America, we must act, first and foremost, not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans.
When I called our troops into action, I did so with complete confidence in their courage and skill. And tonight, thanks to them, we are winning the war on terror. The men and women of our armed forces have delivered a message now clear to every enemy of the United States. Even 7,000 miles away, across oceans and continents, on mountaintops and in caves, you will not escape the justice of this nation.
The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country.
It is the job of a president to confront problems, not pass them on to future presidents and future generations.
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.
We fight not a religion, but a group of fanatics which have hijacked a religion.
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.
I believe in justice, not revenge.
Together, we can build a world that is freer, safer, and better for the generations who follow.
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.
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 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.
While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise, even the justice, of our own country. The ambitions of some Americans are limited by failing schools and hidden prejudice and the circumstances of their birth, and sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent, but not a country. We do not accept this, and we will not allow it.
Too many of our citizens have cause to doubt our nation's justice when the law points a finger of suspicion at groups, instead of individuals. All our citizens are created equal and must be treated equally.
If we do not turn the hearts of children toward knowledge and character, we will lose their gifts and undermine their idealism.
Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America.
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.
Acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
America, at its best, is also courageous. Our national courage has been clear in times of depression and war, when defending common dangers defined our common good. Now we must choose if the example of our fathers and mothers will inspire us or condemn us. We must show courage.
The stakes for America are never small. If our country does not lead the cause of freedom, it will not be led.
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 in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them.
No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.
Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage.
The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people, and we are the friends of almost a billion worldwide who practice the Islamic faith. The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name.
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... Strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.
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.
Challenges can be overcome because history moves in the direction of justice.
The evils of slavery were accepted and unchanged for centuries, yet eventually the human heart would not abide them. There is a voice of conscience and hope in every man and woman that will not be silenced.
America is united. The freedom-loving nations of the world stand by our side. This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil.
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.
Good will prevail.
We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. We move forward, optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of victories to come.
The advance of freedom is the surest strategy to undermine the appeal of terror in the world. Where freedom takes hold, hatred gives way to hope. When freedom takes hold, men and women turn to the peaceful pursuit of a better life.
We cannot rely exclusively on military power to assure our long-term security. Lasting peace is gained as justice and democracy advance.
Africans heard the ringing promises of the Declaration of Independence and asked the self-evident question, 'Then why not me?'.
For decades, the circle of liberty and security and development has been expanding in our world. This progress has brought unity.
All fathers and mothers, in all societies, want their children to be educated, and live free from poverty and violence. No people on Earth yearn to be oppressed, or aspire to servitude.
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.
Extend the current peace into the far realm of the future.
The American people have got to go about their business. We cannot let the terrorists achieve the objective of frightening our nation.
We reject every act of hatred against people of Arab background or Muslim faith. America values and welcomes peaceful people of all faiths; Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and many others. Every faith is practiced and protected here, because we are one country.
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.
The dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace.
Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly. Yet, our purpose is sure.
We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others, and we will prevail.
The very people traded into slavery helped to set America free.
We have no intention of imposing our culture. But America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity. The rule of law, limits on the power of the state, respect for women, private property, free speech, equal justice, and religious tolerance.
We're a peaceful nation. Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so tragically, there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror. In the face of today's new threat, the only way to pursue peace is to pursue those who threaten it.
We have seen people consistently make the courageous decision to demand their liberty. For all the suggestions to the contrary, the truth is that whenever or wherever people are given the choice, they choose freedom.
If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us.
The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift.
America will never run. America will do what is necessary to make our country more secure.
Liberty and justice light the path to peace. This is the belief that gave birth to our nation, and in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens.
America will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere.
If peace is your goal, which it's got to be a goal for any American president, it matters a lot whether people live in a free society.
Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.
Taking care of women is good politics.
Mariachi music, folklorika dancing and an ample supply of Mexican food. For a little while, it was just like being in Texas again... Growing up in Texas gave me many things I'm thankful for... In Texas, it's in the air you breathe.
America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.
America learned that freedom is not the possession of one race. We know with equal certainty that freedom is not the possession of one nation. This belief in the natural rights of man, this conviction that justice should reach wherever the sun passes, leads America into the world.
The founding ideals of the political party I represent, was and remains today the equal dignity and equal rights of every American.
A strong America is the world’s best hope for peace and freedom. Yet the cause of freedom rests on more than our ability to defend ourselves and our allies.
I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.
Haven't we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut's gonna do it again. Didn't we already, why are we doing it again? Shouldn't we be giving money to the middle?
Issues call for vigorous debate, and I think it's fair to say we've answered the call.
We have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve, and we must never let down our guard.
I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, "Wanted: Dead or Alive."
I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you! And the people! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!
We will not waiver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.
The war we fight today is more than a military conflict; it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. On one side are those who believe in the values of freedom and moderation – the right of all people to speak, and worship, and live in liberty.
This war will be difficult; this war will be long; and this war will end in the defeat of the terrorists and totalitarians, and a victory for the cause of freedom and liberty.
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.
Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind.
There's people who disagree with the decisions I've made, all over the world. But that's what happens when you make decisions.
I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right.
You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.
We took decisive measures to safeguard our economy. These are very tough times for hardworking families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted. All Americans are in this together. And together, with determination and hard work, we will restore our economy.
Literacy is crucial for the ability for this country to compete and the ability for people to realize dreams. It just is.
We must commit our resources and efforts to advancing education and health and prosperity... The success of these efforts must be measured.
However long the journey, our destination is set. Liberty and justice for all.
It is essential to this nation's future that we remember that the freedom to worship who we want, and how we want, or not worship at all, is a core belief.
I am deeply insulted by the suggestion that we allowed American citizens to suffer because they were black... The more I thought about it, the angrier I felt. I was raised to believe that racism was one of the greatest evils in society... The suggestion that I was a racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all-time low... It was the worst moment of my presidency.
The storm didn't discriminate, and neither will we. When those coast guard choppers, many of whom were first on the scene, were pulling people off roofs, they didn't check the color of a person's skin.
We choose freedom and the dignity of every life. Steadfast in our purpose, we now press on. We have known freedom's price. We have shown freedom's power.
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.
Some folks look at me and see swagger, which in Texas is called 'walking'.
The advance of liberty is the path to both a safer and better world.
I love freedom of speech.
Any suggestion that a segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong... Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals.
I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other: citizen of the United States of America.
He called me a racist... I didn't appreciate it then and I don't appreciate it now. It's one thing to say, you know, I don't appreciate the way he's handled his business. It's another thing to say this man's a racist. I resent it. It's not true, and it's one of the most disgusting moments of my presidency.
Liberty can be delayed, but it cannot be denied.
Our enemies believed America was weak and materialistic, that we would splinter in fear and selfishness. They were as wrong as they are evil. The American people have responded magnificently, with courage and compassion, strength and resolve.
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.
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.
I have a message for the Iraqi people: You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again. All Iraqis who take the side of freedom have taken the winning side. The goals of our coalition are the same as your goals. Sovereignty for your country, dignity for your great culture, and for every Iraqi citizen, the opportunity for a better life.
If Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.
The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the heart.
States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.
I don't think it's good for the country nor the presidency for me to be criticizing my successor, and I don't intend to do that.
Obama's got plenty of critics, and I'm not going to be one.
Words can be empty and all that does is just reinforce the bad behavior of tyrants.
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.
I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region, and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we'd be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we'd allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.
Terrorists envision a world in which religious freedom is denied, 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.
This nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.
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.
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.
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.
Watching Bush give a speech is like watching a drunk man cross an icy street. You really want him to get to the other side, but it's clear he won't be able to make it without a lot of stumbling. ~ Tucker Carlson

1980s[edit]

  • You know, I could run for governor and all this but I'm basically a media creation.  I've never really done anything.  I've worked for my dad.  I worked in the oil industry.  But that's not the kind of profile you have to have to get elected to public office.
    • In an interview with the Midland Reporter Telegram on 4 July 1989, quoted in Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential (John Wiley and Sons, 2003) by James Moore and Wayne Slater, p. 161.

1990s[edit]

  • I've heard the call.  I believe God wants me to run for President.
    • As recalled by minister James Robison in a telephone conversation with Bush, and first reported in the book The Faith of George W. Bush (2004) by Stephen Mansfield.

1999[edit]

  • There ought to be limits to freedom.  We're aware of the site, and this guy is just a garbage man, that's all he is.  Of course I don't appreciate it.  And you wouldn't, either.
  • I watched his interview with her, though. He asked her real difficult questions, like 'What would you say to Governor Bush?' 'What was her answer?' I wonder. 'Please,' Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'don't kill me.'
    • From: "Devil May Care" by Tucker Carlson, Talk Magazine, September 1999, p. 106.
    • During the Larry King-Karla Faye Tucker exchange, Tucker never actually asked to be spared.
  • My appointees to the [Texas] board of pardons and paroles reflect my no-nonsense approach to crime and punishment. They believe people who commit crimes against innocent Texans should pay the consequences; they believe sentences imposed by juries should be carried out.
A Period of Consequences (September 1999)[edit]
Speech at the Citadel, Military College of South Carolina (23 September 1999).
  • 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 1999)[edit]
Speech at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, California (19 November 1999).
  • 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.

2000s[edit]

2000[edit]

  • Some say it is unfair to hold disadvantaged children to rigorous standards. I say it is discrimination to require anything less–-the soft bigotry of low expectations.
    • Campaign speech to the NAACP (2000).
  • If you're a single mother with two children—which is the toughest job in America, as far as I'm concerned—you're working hard to put food on your family.
    • Speech to the Nashua Chamber of Commerce in New Hampshire (27 January 2000), quoted in Fort Worth Star-Telegram (28 January 2000) "Campaign 2000 Highlights From The Campaign Trail Yesterday" [1]
  • This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You've got to preserve.
  • 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.
  • We can do better in Washington, D.C. We can have new leadership in Washington, D.C., leadership that will lift this country's spirits and raise our sights. George P. knows what thousands of other youngsters know, that just because the White House has let us down in the past, that doesn't mean it's going to happen in the future. George P. joins us in a campaign that's going to restore honor and dignity to the White House.
  • More and more of our imports come from overseas.
  • I know the human being and the fish can coexist peacefully.
    • Speech in Saginaw, Michigan (29 September 2000),[5] referring to a widely reported dispute in the Klamath region of Oregon between farmers with irrigation rights and Native Americans with fishing rights.
  • [the U.S. mission in Somalia] Started off as a humanitarian mission and it changed into a nation-building mission, and that's where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price. And so I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation-building.
  • If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation, but strong, they'll welcome us.
  • ...they want the federal government controlling Social Security, like it's some kind of federal program.
    • Speaking of "some [people] in Washington", and in support of his campaign plan to allow workers to invest some portion of their Social Security payroll taxes. Campaign stop, November 2, 2000. [9]
  • 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 laughs out loud, audience laughs out loud] ...just so long as I'm the dictator [more laughter].
    • Online NewsHour interview, Washington, D.C., (December 18, 2000)' during his first trip to Washington as President-elect. The last sentence is also included in Fahrenheit 9/11.

2001[edit]

Listen to an original recording of this quote:

Listen to an original recording of this quote:

  • 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 (18 January 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.
  • My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire.
    • Presidential Radio Address (24 February 2001) [10]
  • [T]he facts are that thousands of small businesses - Hispanically [sic] owned or otherwise - pay taxes at the highest marginal rate.
  • I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country. And I appreciated so very much the frank dialogue.
  • 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.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, this is a difficult moment for America. I, unfortunately, will be going back to Washington after my remarks. Secretary Rod Paige and the Lt. Governor will take the podium and discuss education. I do want to thank the folks here at Booker Elementary School for their hospitality. Today we've had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country. I have spoken to the Vice President, to the Governor of New York, to the Director of the FBI, and have ordered that the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act. Terrorism against our nation will not stand. And now if you would join me in a moment of silence. May God bless the victims, their families, and America. Thank you very much.
  • I want to reassure the American people that the full resources of the federal government are working to assist local authorities to save lives and to help the victims of these attacks. Make no mistake: The United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.
    I've been in regular contact with the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense, the national security team and my Cabinet. We have taken all appropriate security precautions to protect the American people. Our military at home and around the world is on high alert status, and we have taken the necessary security precautions to continue the functions of your government.
    We have been in touch with the leaders of Congress and with world leaders to assure them that we will do whatever is necessary to protect America and Americans.
    I ask the American people to join me in saying a thanks for all the folks who have been fighting hard to rescue our fellow citizens and to join me in saying a prayer for the victims and their families.
  • When I take action, I’m not going to fire a $2 million missile at a $10 empty tent and hit a camel in the butt. It’s going to be decisive.
    • 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)
  • [O]ne of the great goals of this nation's war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry. It's to tell the traveling public: Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Get down to Disney World in Florida.
  • Now, the American people have got to go about their business. We cannot let the terrorists achieve the objective of frightening our nation to the point where we don't conduct business, where people don't shop.
  • Well, you know, I think the American people are sacrificing now. I think they're waiting in airport lines longer than they've ever had before.
  • Lucky me, I hit the trifecta.
    • In reference to his prior, oft-repeated promises to run a year-to-year budget surplus, except in the event of war, recession, or national emergency. Statement made 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, February 27; [13] at Latham for Congress Luncheon, DesMoines IA, March 1;[14] at Saxby Chambliss for Senate Dinner, Atlanta GA, March 27;[15] at Graham for Senate Luncheon, Greenville SC, March 27;[16] at Cornyn for Senate Luncheon, Dallas TX, March 29;[17] at Fisher for Governor Reception, Philadelphia PA, April 3;[18] at Leaders of the Fiscal Responsibility Coalition, Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg, April 16;[19] at Heather Wilson for Congress Luncheon, Albuquerque NM, April 29;[20] at Simon for Governor Luncheon, Santa Clara CA, May 1;[21] at Taft for Governor Luncheon, Columbus OH, May 10; [22] at 14th Annual World Pork Expo, DesMoines IA, June 7;[23] at 21st Century High Tech Forum, Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg, June 13;[24] at Texans for Rick Perry, Houston TX, June 14.[25]
    • Quoted by Paul Krugman in "Hitting the Trifecta," The New York Times [26]
  • I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower. The TV was obviously on. I used to fly myself and I said, "There's one terrible pilot."
    • Quoted in Elisabeth Bumiller (2001-12-05) "A Nation Challenged: The President" New York Times. Colloquial English allows Bush's remark to be interpreted as "I saw that an airplane had hit the tower."
  • We're going to get bin Laden. Dead or alive, it doesn't matter to me.
    • 12/14/2001 [27] Bush's words elsewhere was that he is "determined" to capture Bin Laden dead or alive, and is confident about succeeding[28]
First inaugural address (January 2001)[edit]
Inaugural address, Washington, D.C. (20 January 2001)

Listen to an original recording of this quote:

  • 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.
  • We have a place, all of us, in a long story. A story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer. It is the American story, a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals. The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born. Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted, and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course. The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born. Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted, and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course.
  • Through much of the last century, America’s faith in freedom and democracy was a rock in a raging sea. Now it is a seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations. Our democratic faith is more than the creed of our country, it is the inborn hope of our humanity, an ideal we carry but do not own, a trust we bear and pass along. And even after nearly 225 years, we have a long way yet to travel.
  • While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise, even the justice, of our own country. The ambitions of some Americans are limited by failing schools and hidden prejudice and the circumstances of their birth, and sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent, but not a country. We do not accept this, and we will not allow it. Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation. And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity. I know this is in our reach because we are guided by a power larger than ourselves who creates us equal in His image. And we are confident in principles that unite and lead us onward.
  • 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. Every child must be taught these principles. Every citizen must uphold them. And every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American. Today, we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation's promise through civility, courage, compassion, and character. America, at its best, matches a commitment to principle with a concern for civility. A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness. Some seem to believe that our politics can afford to be petty because, in a time of peace, the stakes of our debates appear small.
  • But the stakes for America are never small. If our country does not lead the cause of freedom, it will not be led. If we do not turn the hearts of children toward knowledge and character, we will lose their gifts and undermine their idealism. If we permit our economy to drift and decline, the vulnerable will suffer most.
  • We must live up to the calling we share. Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. And this commitment, if we keep it, is a way to shared accomplishment. America, at its best, is also courageous. Our national courage has been clear in times of depression and war, when defending common dangers defined our common good. Now we must choose if the example of our fathers and mothers will inspire us or condemn us. We must show courage in a time of blessing by confronting problems instead of passing them on to future generations.
  • Together, we will reclaim America’s schools, before ignorance and apathy claim more young lives. We will reform Social Security and Medicare, sparing our children from struggles we have the power to prevent. And we will reduce taxes, to recover the momentum of our economy and reward the effort and enterprise of working Americans. We will build our defenses beyond challenge, lest weakness invite challenge. We will confront weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors. The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake: America remains engaged in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. We will defend our allies and our interests. We will show purpose without arrogance. We will meet aggression and bad faith with resolve and strength. And to all nations, we will speak for the values that gave our nation birth.
  • America, at its best, is compassionate. In the quiet of American conscience, we know that deep, persistent poverty is unworthy of our nation’s promise. And whatever our views of its cause, we can agree that children at risk are not at fault. Abandonment and abuse are not acts of God, they are failures of love. And the proliferation of prisons, however necessary, is no substitute for hope and order in our souls. Where there is suffering, there is duty. Americans in need are not strangers, they are citizens, not problems, but priorities. And all of us are diminished when any are hopeless. Government has great responsibilities for public safety and public health, for civil rights and common schools. Yet compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government. And some needs and hurts are so deep they will only respond to a mentor’s touch or a pastor’s prayer. Church and charity, synagogue and mosque lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and in our laws.
  • Many in our country do not know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those who do. And I can pledge our nation to a goal: When we see that wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not pass to the other side. America, at its best, is a place where personal responsibility is valued and expected. Encouraging responsibility is not a search for scapegoats, it is a call to conscience. And though it requires sacrifice, it brings a deeper fulfillment. We find the fullness of life not only in options, but in commitments. And we find that children and community are the commitments that set us free.
  • Our public interest depends on private character, on civic duty and family bonds and basic fairness, on uncounted, unhonored acts of decency which give direction to our freedom. Sometimes in life we are called to do great things. But as a saint of our times has said, every day we are called to do small things with great love. The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone. I will live and lead by these principles: to advance my convictions with civility, to pursue the public interest with courage, to speak for greater justice and compassion, to call for responsibility and try to live it as well. In all these ways, I will bring the values of our history to the care of our times.
  • What you do is as important as anything government does. I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort; to defend needed reforms against easy attacks; to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character.
  • Americans are generous and strong and decent, not because we believe in ourselves, but because we hold beliefs beyond ourselves. When this spirit of citizenship is missing, no government program can replace it. When this spirit is present, no wrong can stand against it.
  • After the Declaration of Independence was signed, Virginia statesman John Page wrote to Thomas Jefferson, '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?' Much time has passed since Jefferson arrived for his inauguration. The years and changes accumulate. But the themes of this day he would know, our nation's grand story of courage and its simple dream of dignity.
  • 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.
Radio Address to the Nation (January 2001)[edit]
Radio Address by the President to the Nation (27 January 2001).

Listen to an original recording of this quote:

  • A week ago today I received a great honor, and all the great responsibilities that come with it. The first order of business is education reform, and we have started strong. On Tuesday, I sent to Congress a package of reforms to turn last year's pledges into this year's laws. I want to make all of our public schools places of learning and high standards and achievement. Our country must offer every child, no matter what his or her background or accent, a fair start in life with a quality education. I also met this week with congressional leaders in both parties, and we found a lot of agreement on the basic goals of reform. No one is content with the status quo. Most are open to new ideas. Everyone agrees at least that the problems are serious and action is urgently needed. This city has heard so much talk over the years about education reform. So many different approaches have been tried. So many new programs have been created. But we need more than a few new programs. We need a new way of thinking. We must go back to the fundamentals of early reading and regular testing, local control, and accountability for results, clear incentives for excellence, and clear consequences for failure.
  • These are the elements of the plan I am proposing. Real reform starts by giving schools and school districts more authority and flexibility. We cannot expect schools to change unless they have the freedom to change. My plan respects the principle of local control. It does not try to run the schools from a central office in Washington. I view principals, teachers and parents as allies in reform. They are ready to raise the standards, ready to take responsibility and answer for results. Those results must be measured by testing every child every year, in tests developed and administered by states and local districts, not the federal government. Without yearly testing, we do not know who is falling behind and who needs our help. Without yearly testing, too often we don't find failure until it is too late. Testing allows us to help children early, before frustration turns into apathy. We need to aim high, but we also need to be realistic. Many schools, particularly those in poor neighborhoods, will need help to meet high standards. And they will have it, including a new $5 billion initiative over five years for reading instruction. The goal is to improve our public schools. We want them to succeed, and when they're willing to change, we'll give them the tools to do so.
  • At the same time, we will not continue to pour taxpayers' money into schools that do not teach and will not change. My plan will give every failing school a fair chance to improve, but there will be a deadline, a moment of truth when parents are given better options and their children are given a way out. There are some honest differences of opinion in Congress about what form these options should take. I have my own plan which would help children in persistently failing schools to go to another public, private or charter school. Others suggest different approaches, and I am willing to listen. But all reform must be based on a principle: Children and parents, who have had only bad choices need better choices. And it is my duty as President to help them. In sending my plan to Congress, I ask that we act before this summer, when schools begin planning for the next school year. I hope to have the support of Republicans and Democrats alike, and I hope to have your support, as well. Thank you for listening.
Radio Address to the Nation (February 2001)[edit]
Radio Address by the President to the Nation (24 February 2001).

Listen to an original recording of this quote:

  • Good morning. This coming week I will be making the trip up Pennsylvania Avenue to address a joint session of Congress. We have some business to attend to called the budget of the United States. The federal budget is a document about the size of a big city phone book, and about as hard to read from cover to cover. The blueprint I submit this week contains many numbers, but there is one that probably counts more than any other – $5.6 trillion. That is the surplus the federal government expects to collect over the next 10 years; money left over after we have met our obligations to Social Security, Medicare, health care, education, defense and other priorities. The plan I submit will fund our highest national priorities. Education gets the biggest percentage increase of any department in our federal government. We won't just spend more money on schools and education, we will spend it responsibly. We'll give states more freedom to decide what works. And as we give more to our schools we're going to expect more in return by requiring states and local jurisdictions to test every year. How else can we know whether schools are teaching and children are learning? Social Security and Medicare will get every dollar they need to meet their commitments. And every dollar of Social Security and Medicare tax revenue will be reserved for Social Security and Medicare.
  • My budget blueprint will restrain spending, yet meet growing needs with a reasonable 4 percent growth rate, which is a little more than inflation. After paying the bills, my plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire. That would be a good worry to have. Finally, along with funding our priorities and paying down debt, my plan returns about one out of every four dollars of the surplus to the American taxpayers, who created the surplus in the first place. A surplus in tax revenue, after all, means that taxpayers have been overcharged. And usually when you've been overcharged, you expect to get something back. Tax relief means real help for both American families and the American economy. Everybody who pays income taxes will receive a tax cut. Nobody will be targeted in, and nobody will be targeted out. The typical family will get about $1,600 in tax relief, and that's real money. And that's money that will help American families manage their own accounts, manage your own balance sheets.
  • My address to Congress comes on Tuesday night at 9:00 o'clock Eastern Time. I hope you'll tune in and consider what I have to say. I hope you'll agree that my plan is good for you and for your family. But, even more, I hope you'll agree it's good for America. Thank you for listening.
Address to Joint Session of Congress on Administration Goals (February 2001)[edit]
Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Administration's Goals (27 February 2001).
  • The last time I visited the Capitol, I came to take an oath. On the steps of this building, I pledged to honor our Constitution and laws, and I asked you to join me in setting a tone of civility and respect in Washington. I hope America is noticing the difference. We are making progress. Together, we are changing the tone in the Nation’s capital. And this spirit of respect and cooperation is vital, because in the end we will be judged not only by what we say or how we say it, we will be judged by what we are able to accomplish. America today is a Nation with great challenges, but greater resources.
  • An artist using statistics as a brush could paint two very different pictures of our country. One would have warning signs: increasing layoffs, rising energy prices, too many failing schools, persistent poverty, the stubborn vestiges of racism. Another picture would be full of blessings: a balanced budget, big surpluses, a military that is second to none, a country at peace with its neighbors, technology that is revolutionizing the world, and our greatest strength, concerned citizens who care for our country and care for each other.
  • As government promotes compassion, it also must promote justice. Too many of our citizens have cause to doubt our nation's justice when the law points a finger of suspicion at groups, instead of individuals. All our citizens are created equal and must be treated equally. Earlier today, I asked John Ashcroft, the Attorney General, to develop specific recommendations to end racial profiling. It is wrong, and we will end it in America. It is wrong. In so doing, we will not hinder the work of our nation’s brave police officers. They protect us every day, often at great risk. But by stopping the abuses of a few, we will add to the public confidence our police officers earn and deserve.
  • A strong America is the world’s best hope for peace and freedom. Yet the cause of freedom rests on more than our ability to defend ourselves and our allies. Freedom is exported every day, as we ship goods and products that improve the lives of millions of people. Free trade brings greater political and personal freedom.
Radio address (May 2001)[edit]
Full text of radio address (5 May 2001).
  • We celebrated a little early at the White House this year, on quatro de Mayo, with a fiesta on the South Lawn. With the mariachi music, folklorika dancing and an ample supply of Mexican food. For a little while, it was just like being in Texas again.
  • Growing up in Texas gave me many things I'm thankful for. And one of them is an appreciation of the Hispanic culture. In Texas, it's in the air you breathe; Hispanic life, Hispanic culture and Hispanic values are inseparable from the life of our state, and have been for many generations. The history of Mexican-American relations has had its troubled moments, but today our peoples enrich each other in trade and culture and family ties.
Black Music (June 2001)[edit]
A Proclamation By the President of the United States of America on Black Music Month (29 June 2001).
  • America's rich musical heritage reflects the diversity of our people. Among many influences, the cultural traditions brought to this land from Africa more than four centuries ago and the remarkable musical achievements of African Americans since then have strongly and unmistakably improved the sound of American music.
  • From historical burdens such as slavery and injustice to the celebration of faith, much of the origin of African-American music reflects our national story. The work songs, shouts and hollers, spirituals, and ragtime of an earlier era laid the creative foundation for many of America' s most distinctive and popular musical genres. These include rhythm and blues, jazz, hip hop, gospel, rap, and the roots of rock and roll.
  • Jazz, often called America's classical music, so influenced our culture that Americans named a decade after it. Like the country of its birth, jazz blends many traditions, such as African-American folk, rhythm and blues, French Creole classical form, and gospel. Through the creation and performance of music like jazz, black Americans were better able to exchange ideas freely across racial and cultural barriers. Before our Nation made significant strides in truly promoting equal justice and opportunity for all, black and white musicians in the genres of jazz, blues, and country played together in jam sessions, recording studios, and small bands. In many ways, their art preceded social change, allowing black and white musicians to meet as equals and to be judged on their musical ability, rather than the color of their skin. Their music also provided an outlet for African Americans to speak passionately and brilliantly to the rest of the Nation and the world.
  • From New Orleans and the back roads of the Mississippi Delta to Harlem and Chicago, black musicians set enduring and distinctive standards for American creativity. The blues of Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, the gospel of Mahalia Jackson, the jazz of Duke Ellington, and the soul of Marvin Gaye claim fans of all ages from around the world. The trumpeting genius of Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie illustrate the exceptional musicianship so prominent in various genres of African-American music.
  • The career of Marian Anderson, the world-class contralto who was denied permission to sing in Constitution Hall because of her race, symbolizes the achievements of so many black American musicians. Performing instead at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, she drew an audience of 75,000 and inspired the world not only with her rich musical gifts, but also with her determination and courage.
  • The music of Marian Anderson and other African-American artists has greatly enriched our quality of life and created one of our Nation's most treasured art forms. As universal and original expressions of the human experience, their body of work, both past and present, entertains, inspires, and thrills countless people around the world.
A Great People Has Been Moved to Defend a Great Nation (September 2001)[edit]
Remarks on the September 11 attacks (11 September 2001).

Listen to an original recording of this quote:

  • Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices -- secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers. Moms and dads. Friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.
  • The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. 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 shatter 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.
  • The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources for our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
  • America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.
  • This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
Freedom and Democracy Are Under Attack (September 2001)[edit]
Remarks by the President In Photo Opportunity with the National Security Team (12 September 2001).
  • The deliberate and deadly attacks which were carried out yesterday against our country were more than acts of terror. They were acts of war. This will require our country to unite in steadfast determination and resolve. Freedom and democracy are under attack.
  • The American people need to know that we're facing a different enemy than we have ever faced. This enemy hides in shadows, and has no regard for human life. This is an enemy who preys on innocent and unsuspecting people, runs for cover. But it won't be able to run for cover forever. This is an enemy that tries to hide. But it won't be able to hide forever. This is an enemy that thinks its harbors are safe. But they won't be safe forever.
  • This enemy attacked not just our people, but all freedom-loving people everywhere in the world. The United States of America will use all our resources to conquer this enemy. We will rally the world. We will be patient, we will be focused, and we will be steadfast in our determination. This battle will take time and resolve. But make no mistake about it: we will win.
  • The federal government and all our agencies are conducting business. But it is not business as usual. We are operating on a heightened security alert. America is going forward, and as we do so, we must remain keenly aware of the threats to our country. Those in authority should take appropriate precautions to protect our citizens.
  • But we will not allow this enemy to win the war by changing our way of life or restricting our freedoms. This morning, I am sending to Congress a request for emergency funding authority, so that we are prepared to spend whatever it takes to rescue victims, to help the citizens of New York City and Washington, D.C. respond to this tragedy, and to protect our national security.
  • I want to thank the members of Congress for their unity and support. America is united. The freedom-loving nations of the world stand by our side. This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil. But good will prevail.
I Can Hear You, the Rest of the World Hears You (September 2001)[edit]
Impromptu speech given at Ground Zero at WTC site (14 September 2001)
  • Thank you all. I want you all to know; it can't go any louder. I want you all to know that America today, America today is on bended knee. In prayer for people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here. for the families who mourn. This nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.
  • I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!
  • The nation, the nation sends its love and compassion for everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud, and may God bless America.
Islam is Peace (September 2001)[edit]
Remarks by the President at Islamic Center of Washington, D.C. (17 September 2001), Washington, D.C.
  • Thank you all very much for your hospitality. We've just had a wide-ranging discussions on the matter at hand. Like the good folks standing with me, the American people were appalled and outraged at last Tuesday's attacks. And so were Muslims all across the world. Both Americans and Muslim friends and citizens, tax-paying citizens, and Muslims in nations were just appalled and could not believe what we saw on our T.V. screens. These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith, and it's important for my fellow Americans to understand that. 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. When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace, and that's made brothers and sisters out of every race, out of every race.
  • America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country. Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms, and dads, and they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.
  • Women who cover their heads in this country must feel comfortable going outside their homes. Moms who wear cover must be not intimidated in America; that's not the America I know. That's not the America I value. I've been told that some fear to leave; some don't want to go shopping for their families. Some don't want to go about their ordinary daily routines because, by wearing cover, they're afraid they'll be intimidated. That should not and that will not stand in America. Those who feel like they can intimidate our fellow citizens to take out their anger don't represent the best of America, they represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behavior.
  • This is a great country. It's a great country because we share the same values of respect and dignity and human worth, and it is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way I do. They're outraged, they're sad. They love America just as much as I do. I want to thank you all for giving me a chance to come by, and may God bless us all.
Freedom and Fear Are at War (September 2001)[edit]
Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People (20 September 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.
  • Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.
  • I ask you to uphold the values of America, and remember why so many have come here. We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.
  • Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.
Invasion of Afghanistan (October 2001)[edit]
Speech announcing the invasion of Afghanistan to remove the Taliban and al-Qaeda from power and capture Osama bin Laden (7 October 2001)
  • More than two weeks ago, I gave Taliban leaders a series of clear and specific demands: Close terrorist training camps. Hand over leaders of the Al Qaeda network, and return all foreign nationals, including American citizens unjustly detained in our country. None of these demands were met. And now, the Taliban will pay a price.
  • The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people, and we are the friends of almost a billion worldwide who practice the Islamic faith. The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name. This military action is a part of our campaign against terrorism, another front in a war that has already been joined through diplomacy, intelligence, the freezing of financial assets and the arrests of known terrorists by law enforcement agents in 38 countries.
  • Given the nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose. Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader. Every nation has a choice to make. In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocence, they have become outlaws and murderers themselves. And they will take that lonely path at their own peril.
  • We're a peaceful nation. Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so tragically, there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror. In the face of today's new threat, the only way to pursue peace is to pursue those who threaten it.
  • We did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfill it.
  • A commander in chief sends America's sons and daughters into battle in a foreign land only after the greatest care and a lot of prayer. We ask a lot of those who wear our uniform. We ask them to leave their loved ones, to travel great distances, to risk injury, even to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. They are dedicated. They are honorable. They represent the best of our country, and we are grateful. To all the men and women in our military, every sailor, every soldier, every airman, every coast guardsman, every Marine, I say this: Your mission is defined. The objectives are clear. Your goal is just. You have my full confidence, and you will have every tool you need to carry out your duty.
  • I recently received a touching letter that says a lot about the state of America in these difficult times, a letter from a fourth grade girl with a father in the military. As much as I don't want my dad to fight, she wrote, I'm willing to give him to you. This is a precious gift. The greatest she could give. This young girl knows what America is all about.
  • Since September 11, an entire generation of young Americans has gained new understanding of the value of freedom and its cost and duty and its sacrifice. The battle is now joined on many fronts. We will not waiver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.

2002[edit]

  • We are working hard to convince both the Indians and the Pakis there's a way to deal with their problems without going to war.
  • "Deep in my heart I know [Osama bin Laden] 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. ... 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."
  • Given the goals of rogue states and terrorists, the United States can no longer solely rely on a reactive posture as we have in the past. The inability to deter a potential attacker, the immediacy of today’s threats, and the magnitude of potential harm that could be caused by our adversaries’ choice of weapons, do not permit that option.We cannot let our enemies strike first.
  • You've got to be kidding me, you're doing great. The country's really proud of the team. A lot of people that didn't know anything about soccer, like me, are all excited and pulling for you. Absolutely. Well, I appreciate it. I just got off the phone a little earlier with the president of Mexico. I was gracious. I hadn't declared victory yet, but I felt pretty confident. Yeah, well God bless you all. Tell the team how proud we are. Alright, well give it all you got. I know you will. God bless you and I look forward to a great victory.
  • 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.
  • You have lifted a shadow of fear for many families. God bless you and may God bless the victims.
  • 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.
  • Any suggestion that a segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong. Recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country. He has apologized and rightly so. Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals, and the founding ideals of our nation, and in fact the founding ideals of the political party I represent, was and remains today the equal dignity and equal rights of every American.
State of the Union address (January 2002)[edit]

Listen to an original recording of this quote:

George W. Bush's Second State of the Union Address (29 January 2002)
  • Thank you very much. Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished guests, fellow citizens. As we gather tonight, our nation is at war, our economy is in recession, and the civilized world faces unprecedented dangers. Yet the state of our Union has never been stronger.
  • We last met in an hour of shock and suffering. In four short months, our nation has comforted the victims, begun to rebuild New York and the Pentagon, rallied a great coalition, captured, arrested, and rid the world of thousands of terrorists, destroyed Afghanistan's terrorist training camps, saved a people from starvation, and freed a country from brutal oppression.
  • The American flag flies again over our embassy in Kabul. Terrorists who once occupied Afghanistan now occupy cells at Guantanamo Bay. And terrorist leaders who urged followers to sacrifice their lives are running for their own.
  • America and Afghanistan are now allies against terror. We'll be partners in rebuilding that country. And this evening we welcome the distinguished interim leader of a liberated Afghanistan, Chairman Hamid Karzai.
  • The last time we met in this chamber, the mothers and daughters of Afghanistan were captives in their own homes, forbidden from working or going to school. Today women are free, and are part of Afghanistan's new government. And we welcome the new Minister of Women's Affairs, Doctor Sima Samar.
  • Our progress is a tribute to the spirit of the Afghan people, to the resolve of our coalition, and to the might of the United States military. When I called our troops into action, I did so with complete confidence in their courage and skill. And tonight, thanks to them, we are winning the war on terror. The men and women of our armed forces have delivered a message now clear to every enemy of the United States: Even 7,000 miles away, across oceans and continents, on mountaintops and in caves — you will not escape the justice of this nation.
  • For many Americans, these four months have brought sorrow, and pain that will never completely go away. Every day a retired firefighter returns to Ground Zero, to feel closer to his two sons who died there. At a memorial in New York, a little boy left his football with a note for his lost father: Dear Daddy, please take this to heaven. I don't want to play football until I can play with you again some day.
  • Last month, at the grave of her husband, Michael, a CIA officer and Marine who died in Mazur-e-Sharif, Shannon Spann said these words of farewell, 'Semper Fi, my love'. Shannon is with us tonight. Shannon, I assure you and all who have lost a loved one that our cause is just, and our country will never forget the debt we owe Michael and all who gave their lives for freedom.
  • Our cause is just, and it continues. Our discoveries in Afghanistan confirmed our worst fears, and showed us the true scope of the task ahead. We have seen the depth of our enemies' hatred in videos, where they laugh about the loss of innocent life. And the depth of their hatred is equaled by the madness of the destruction they design. We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities, detailed instructions for making chemical weapons, surveillance maps of American cities, and thorough descriptions of landmarks in America and throughout the world.
  • What we have found in Afghanistan confirms that, far from ending there, our war against terror is only beginning. Most of the 19 men who hijacked planes on September the 11th were trained in Afghanistan's camps, and so were tens of thousands of others. Thousands of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of murder, often supported by outlaw regimes, are now spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs, set to go off without warning.
  • Thanks to the work of our law enforcement officials and coalition partners, hundreds of terrorists have been arrested. Yet, tens of thousands of trained terrorists are still at large. These enemies view the entire world as a battlefield, and we must pursue them wherever they are. So long as training camps operate, so long as nations harbor terrorists, freedom is at risk. And America and our allies must not, and will not, allow it.
  • Our nation will continue to be steadfast and patient and persistent in the pursuit of two great objectives. First, we will shut down terrorist camps, disrupt terrorist plans, and bring terrorists to justice. And, second, we must prevent the terrorists and regimes who seek chemical, biological or nuclear weapons from threatening the United States and the world.
  • Our military has put the terror training camps of Afghanistan out of business, yet camps still exist in at least a dozen countries. A terrorist underworld — including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Jaish-i-Mohammed — operates in remote jungles and deserts, and hides in the centers of large cities.
  • While the most visible military action is in Afghanistan, America is acting elsewhere. We now have troops in the Philippines, helping to train that country's armed forces to go after terrorist cells that have executed an American, and still hold hostages. Our soldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized terrorists who were plotting to bomb our embassy. Our Navy is patrolling the coast of Africa to block the shipment of weapons and the establishment of terrorist camps in Somalia.
  • My hope is that all nations will heed our call, and eliminate the terrorist parasites who threaten their countries and our own. Many nations are acting forcefully. Pakistan is now cracking down on terror, and I admire the strong leadership of President Musharraf.
  • But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will.
  • Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.
  • Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.
  • Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens — leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections — then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.
  • 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.
  • For too long our culture has said, "If it feels good, do it." Now America is embracing a new ethic and a new creed: "Let's roll". In the sacrifice of soldiers, the fierce brotherhood of firefighters, and the bravery and generosity of ordinary citizens, we have glimpsed what a new culture of responsibility could look like. We want to be a nation that serves goals larger than self. We've been offered a unique opportunity, and we must not let this moment pass.
  • We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology, and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction. We will develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect America and our allies from sudden attack. And all nations should know: America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.
  • We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.
  • Our war on terror is well begun, but it is only begun. This campaign may not be finished on our watch — yet it must be and it will be waged on our watch.
  • We can't stop short. If we stop now — leaving terror camps intact and terror states unchecked — our sense of security would be false and temporary. History has called America and our allies to action, and it is both our responsibility and our privilege to fight freedom's fight.
  • Our first priority must always be the security of our nation, and that will be reflected in the budget I send to Congress. My budget supports three great goals for America: We will win this war; we'll protect our homeland; and we will revive our economy.
  • September the 11th brought out the best in America, and the best in this Congress. And I join the American people in applauding your unity and resolve. Now Americans deserve to have this same spirit directed toward addressing problems here at home. I'm a proud member of my party — yet as we act to win the war, protect our people, and create jobs in America, we must act, first and foremost, not as Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans.
  • It costs a lot to fight this war. We have spent more than a billion dollars a month — over $30 million a day — and we must be prepared for future operations. Afghanistan proved that expensive precision weapons defeat the enemy and spare innocent lives, and we need more of them. We need to replace aging aircraft and make our military more agile, to put our troops anywhere in the world quickly and safely. Our men and women in uniform deserve the best weapons, the best equipment, the best training — and they also deserve another pay raise.
  • My budget includes the largest increase in defense spending in two decades — because while the price of freedom and security is high, it is never too high. Whatever it costs to defend our country, we will pay.
  • The next priority of my budget is to do everything possible to protect our citizens and strengthen our nation against the ongoing threat of another attack. Time and distance from the events of September the 11th will not make us safer unless we act on its lessons. America is no longer protected by vast oceans. We are protected from attack only by vigorous action abroad, and increased vigilance at home.
  • My budget nearly doubles funding for a sustained strategy of homeland security, focused on four key areas: bioterrorism, emergency response, airport and border security, and improved intelligence. We will develop vaccines to fight anthrax and other deadly diseases. We'll increase funding to help states and communities train and equip our heroic police and firefighters. We will improve intelligence collection and sharing, expand patrols at our borders, strengthen the security of air travel, and use technology to track the arrivals and departures of visitors to the United States.
  • Homeland security will make America not only stronger, but, in many ways, better. Knowledge gained from bioterrorism research will improve public health. Stronger police and fire departments will mean safer neighborhoods. Stricter border enforcement will help combat illegal drugs. And as government works to better secure our homeland, America will continue to depend on the eyes and ears of alert citizens.
  • A few days before Christmas, an airline flight attendant spotted a passenger lighting a match. The crew and passengers quickly subdued the man, who had been trained by al Qaeda and was armed with explosives. The people on that plane were alert and, as a result, likely saved nearly 200 lives. And tonight we welcome and thank flight attendants Hermis Moutardier and Christina Jones.
  • Once we have funded our national security and our homeland security, the final great priority of my budget is economic security for the American people. To achieve these great national objectives — to win the war, protect the homeland, and revitalize our economy — our budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term, so long as Congress restrains spending and acts in a fiscally responsible manner. We have clear priorities and we must act at home with the same purpose and resolve we have shown overseas: We'll prevail in the war, and we will defeat this recession.
  • Americans who have lost their jobs need our help and I support extending unemployment benefits and direct assistance for health care coverage. Yet, American workers want more than unemployment checks — they want a steady paycheck. When America works, America prospers, so my economic security plan can be summed up in one word: jobs.
  • Good jobs begin with good schools, and here we've made a fine start. Republicans and Democrats worked together to achieve historic education reform so that no child is left behind. I was proud to work with members of both parties: Chairman John Boehner and Congressman George Miller. Senator Judd Gregg. And I was so proud of our work, I even had nice things to say about my friend, Ted Kennedy. I know the folks at the Crawford coffee shop couldn't believe I'd say such a thing, but our work on this bill shows what is possible if we set aside posturing and focus on results.
  • There is more to do. We need to prepare our children to read and succeed in school with improved Head Start and early childhood development programs. We must upgrade our teacher colleges and teacher training and launch a major recruiting drive with a great goal for America: a quality teacher in every classroom.
  • Good jobs also depend on reliable and affordable energy. This Congress must act to encourage conservation, promote technology, build infrastructure, and it must act to increase energy production at home so America is less dependent on foreign oil.
  • Good jobs depend on expanded trade. Selling into new markets creates new jobs, so I ask Congress to finally approve trade promotion authority. On these two key issues, trade and energy, the House of Representatives has acted to create jobs, and I urge the Senate to pass this legislation.
  • Good jobs depend on sound tax policy. Last year, some in this hall thought my tax relief plan was too small; some thought it was too big. But when the checks arrived in the mail, most Americans thought tax relief was just about right. Congress listened to the people and responded by reducing tax rates, doubling the child credit, and ending the death tax. For the sake of long-term growth and to help Americans plan for the future, let's make these tax cuts permanent.
  • The way out of this recession, the way to create jobs, is to grow the economy by encouraging investment in factories and equipment, and by speeding up tax relief so people have more money to spend. For the sake of American workers, let's pass a stimulus package.
  • Good jobs must be the aim of welfare reform. As we reauthorize these important reforms, we must always remember the goal is to reduce dependency on government and offer every American the dignity of a job.
  • Americans know economic security can vanish in an instant without health security. I ask Congress to join me this year to enact a patients' bill of rights, to give uninsured workers credits to help buy health coverage, to approve an historic increase in the spending for veterans' health, and to give seniors a sound and modern Medicare system that includes coverage for prescription drugs.
  • A good job should lead to security in retirement. I ask Congress to enact new safeguards for 401K and pension plans. Employees who have worked hard and saved all their lives should not have to risk losing everything if their company fails. Through stricter accounting standards and tougher disclosure requirements, corporate America must be made more accountable to employees and shareholders and held to the highest standards of conduct.
  • Retirement security also depends upon keeping the commitments of Social Security, and we will. We must make Social Security financially stable and allow personal retirement accounts for younger workers who choose them.
  • Members, you and I will work together in the months ahead on other issues: productive farm policy, a cleaner environment, broader home ownership, especially among minorities, and ways to encourage the good work of charities and faith-based groups. I ask you to join me on these important domestic issues in the same spirit of cooperation we've applied to our war against terrorism.
  • During these last few months, I've been humbled and privileged to see the true character of this country in a time of testing. Our enemies believed America was weak and materialistic, that we would splinter in fear and selfishness. They were as wrong as they are evil.
  • The American people have responded magnificently, with courage and compassion, strength and resolve. As I have met the heroes, hugged the families, and looked into the tired faces of rescuers, I have stood in awe of the American people.
  • And I hope you will join me — I hope you will join me in expressing thanks to one American for the strength and calm and comfort she brings to our nation in crisis, our First Lady, Laura Bush.
  • None of us would ever wish the evil that was done on September the 11th. Yet after America was attacked, it was as if our entire country looked into a mirror and saw our better selves. We were reminded that we are citizens, with obligations to each other, to our country, and to history. We began to think less of the goods we can accumulate, and more about the good we can do.
  • My call tonight is for every American to commit at least two years — 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime, to the service of your neighbors and your nation. Many are already serving, and I thank you. If you aren't sure how to help, I've got a good place to start. To sustain and extend the best that has emerged in America, I invite you to join the new USA Freedom Corps. The Freedom Corps will focus on three areas of need: responding in case of crisis at home; rebuilding our communities; and extending American compassion throughout the world.
  • One purpose of the USA Freedom Corps will be homeland security. America needs retired doctors and nurses who can be mobilized in major emergencies; volunteers to help police and fire departments; transportation and utility workers well-trained in spotting danger.
  • Our country also needs citizens working to rebuild our communities. We need mentors to love children, especially children whose parents are in prison. And we need more talented teachers in troubled schools. USA Freedom Corps will expand and improve the good efforts of AmeriCorps and Senior Corps to recruit more than 200,000 new volunteers.
  • And America needs citizens to extend the compassion of our country to every part of the world. So we will renew the promise of the Peace Corps, double its volunteers over the next five years, and ask it to join a new effort to encourage development and education and opportunity in the Islamic world.
  • This time of adversity offers a unique moment of opportunity — a moment we must seize to change our culture. Through the gathering momentum of millions of acts of service and decency and kindness, I know we can overcome evil with greater good. And we have a great opportunity during this time of war to lead the world toward the values that will bring lasting peace.
  • All fathers and mothers, in all societies, want their children to be educated, and live free from poverty and violence. No people on Earth yearn to be oppressed, or aspire to servitude, or eagerly await the midnight knock of the secret police.
  • If anyone doubts this, let them look to Afghanistan, where the Islamic 'street' greeted the fall of tyranny with song and celebration. Let the skeptics look to Islam's own rich history, with its centuries of learning, and tolerance and progress. America will lead by defending liberty and justice because they are right and true and unchanging for all people everywhere.
  • No nation owns these aspirations, and no nation is exempt from them. We have no intention of imposing our culture. But America will always stand firm for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity: the rule of law; limits on the power of the state; respect for women; private property; free speech; equal justice; and religious tolerance.
  • America will take the side of brave men and women who advocate these values around the world, including the Islamic world, because we have a greater objective than eliminating threats and containing resentment. We seek a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror.
  • In this moment of opportunity, a common danger is erasing old rivalries. America is working with Russia and China and India, in ways we have never before, to achieve peace and prosperity. In every region, free markets and free trade and free societies are proving their power to lift lives. Together with friends and allies from Europe to Asia, and Africa to Latin America, we will demonstrate that the forces of terror cannot stop the momentum of freedom.
  • The last time I spoke here, I expressed the hope that life would return to normal. In some ways, it has. In others, it never will. Those of us who have lived through these challenging times have been changed by them. We've come to know truths that we will never question: evil is real, and it must be opposed. Beyond all differences of race or creed, we are one country, mourning together and facing danger together. Deep in the American character, there is honor, and it is stronger than cynicism. And many have discovered again that even in tragedy — especially in tragedy — God is near.
  • In a single instant, we realized that this will be a decisive decade in the history of liberty, that we've been called to a unique role in human events. Rarely has the world faced a choice more clear or consequential.
  • Our enemies send other people's children on missions of suicide and murder. They embrace tyranny and death as a cause and a creed. We stand for a different choice, made long ago, on the day of our founding. We affirm it again today. We choose freedom and the dignity of every life.
  • Steadfast in our purpose, we now press on. We have known freedom's price. We have shown freedom's power. And in this great conflict, my fellow Americans, we will see freedom's victory. Thank you all. May God bless.
Compassionate Conservatism (April 2002)[edit]
Speech at Parkside Hall (30 April 2002), San Jose, California.
  • As every generation of Americans has believed, the future belongs to the free. In a time of war, we reassert the essential values and beliefs of our country. In the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln pointed toward a new birth of freedom. Leading America into global war, Franklin D. Roosevelt defined the four freedoms: freedom of speech and religion, freedom from fear and want. Whenever America fights for the security of our country, we also fight for the values of our country. In our time, we will defend the land we love and we will act on the ideals that gave it birth.
  • In America, we've not always lived up to our ideals, yet we always reached for them. We believe that everyone deserves a chance, that everyone has value, that no insignificant person was ever born. We believe that all are diminished when any are hopeless. We are one people, committed to building a single nation of justice and opportunity.
  • America rejects bigotry. We reject every act of hatred against people of Arab background or Muslim faith. We reject the ancient evil of anti-Semitism, whether it is practiced by the killers of Daniel Pearl, or by those who burn synagogues in France. We reject every act of hatred against people of Arab background or Muslim faith. America values and welcomes peaceful people of all faiths; Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and many others. Every faith is practiced and protected here, because we are one country. Every immigrant can be fully and equally American because we're one country. Race and color should not divide us, because America is one country.
  • American ideals of opportunity and equality come to us across the generations. And they have attracted millions from across the world. Yet there are young Americans growing up here, under this flag, who doubt the promise and justice of our country. They live in neighborhoods occupied by gangs and ruled by fear. They are entitled by law to an education, yet do not receive an education. They hear talk of opportunity and see little evidence of opportunity around them.
  • Every American must believe in the promise of America. And to reach this noble, necessary goal, there is a role for government. America doesn't need more big government, and we've learned that more money is not always the answer. If a program is failing to serve people, it makes little difference if we spend twice as much or half as much. The measure of true compassion is results.
  • Government cannot solve every problem, but it can encourage people and communities to help themselves and to help one another. Often the truest kind of compassion is to help citizens build lives of their own. I call my philosophy and approach 'compassionate conservatism'. It is compassionate to actively help our fellow citizens in need. It is conservative to insist on responsibility and on results. And with this hopeful approach, we can make a real difference in people's lives.
  • Compassionate conservatism places great hope and confidence in public education. Our economy depends on higher and higher skills, requiring every American to have the basic tools of learning. Every public school should be the path of upward mobility.
  • In 1996, we began transforming welfare with time limits and job training and work requirements. And the nation's welfare rolls have been cut by more than half. But even more importantly, many lives have been dramatically improved.
  • One former welfare recipient here in California, happened to be a mother of a chronically-ill child and the victim of domestic violence, describes her experience upon leaving welfare. She said, "I feel like an adult again. I have my dignity back." We need to continue to fully transform welfare in America. As Congress takes up welfare reform again in the coming weeks, we must strengthen the work requirements that prevent dependency and despair. Millions of Americans once on welfare are finding that a job is more than a source of income. It is a source of dignity. And by helping people find work, by helping them prepare for work, we practice compassion. Welfare reform must also, wherever possible, encourage the commitments of family. Not every child has two devoted parents at home -- I understand that. And not every marriage can, or should be saved. But the evidence shows that strong marriages are good for children.
  • When a couple on welfare wants to break bad patterns and start or strengthen a marriage, we should help local groups give them counseling that teaches commitment and respect. By encouraging family, we practice compassion. In overcoming poverty and dependence, we must also promote the work of charities and community groups and faith-based institutions. These organizations, such as shelters for battered women or mentoring programs for fatherless children or drug treatment centers, inspire hope in a way that government never can. Often, they inspire life-changing faith in a way that government never should. Our government should view the good Americans that work in faith-based charities as partners, not rivals. (Applause.) We must provide new incentives for charitable giving and, when it comes to providing federal resources to effective programs, we should not discriminate against private and religious groups.
  • I urge the Senate to pass the faith-based initiative for the good of America. It is compassionate to aggressively fight poverty in America. It is conservative to encourage work and community spirit and responsibility and the values that often come from faith. And with this approach, we can change lives one soul at a time, and make a real difference in the lives of our citizens. The same principles of compassion and responsibility apply when America offers assistance to other nations. Nearly half of the world's people still live on less than $2 a day. When we help them, we show our values, our belief in universal human dignity. We serve our interests and gain economic partners. And by helping the developing nations of the world, we offer an alternative to resentment and conflict and terror. Yet the old way of pouring vast amounts of money into development aid without any concern for results has failed, often leaving behind misery and poverty and corruption. America's offering a new compact for global development. Greater aid contributions from America must be and will be linked to greater responsibility from developing nations.
  • I have proposed a 50-percent increase in our core development assistance over the next three budget years. Money that will be placed in a new Millennium Challenge Account. At the end of this three-year period, the level of our annual development assistance will be $5 billion higher than current levels. This is a record amount of spending. And in return for these funds, we expect nations to rout out corruption, to open their markets, to respect human rights, and to adhere to the rule of law. And these are the keys to progress in any nation, and they will be the conditions for any new American aid. It is compassionate to increase our international aid. It is conservative to require the hard reforms that lead to prosperity and independence. And with this approach, we'll make a real difference in the lives of people around the world.
  • Compassionate conservatism guides my administration in many other areas. Our health care policies must help low-income Americans to buy health insurance they choose, they own and they control. (Applause.) Our environmental policy set high standards for stewardship, while allowing local cooperation and innovation to meet those standards. Our housing programs moved beyond rental assistance to the pride and stability of home ownership. Our reforms in Social Security must allow and encourage and help working Americans to build up their own asset base and achieve independence for their retirement years. All of these policies and all of these areas serve the same vision. We are using an active government to promote self-government. We're encouraging individuals and communities and families to take more and more responsibility for themselves, for their neighbors, for our nation. The aim of these policies is not to spend more money or spend less money; it is to spend on what works.
  • The measure of compassion is more than good intentions, it is good results. Sympathy is not enough. We need solutions in America, and we know where solutions are found. When schools are teaching, when families are strong, when neighbors look after their neighbors, when our people have the tools and the skills and the resources they need to improve their lives, there is no problem that cannot be solved in America. By being involved and by taking responsibility upon ourselves, we gain something else, as well: We contribute to the life of our country. We become more than taxpayers and occasional voters, we become citizens. Citizens, not spectators. Citizens who hear the call of duty, who stand up for their beliefs, who care for their families, who control their lives, and who treat their neighbors with respect and compassion. We discover a satisfaction that is only found in service, and we show our gratitude to America and to those who came before us.
  • In the last seven months, we've been tested, and the struggle of our time has revealed the spirit of our people. Since September the 11th, we have been the kind of nation our founders had in mind, a nation of strong and confident and self-governing people. And we've been the kind of nation our fathers and mothers defended in World War II; a great and diverse country, united by common dangers and by common resolve. We in our time will defend our nation, and we will deliver our nation's promise to all who seek it. In our war on terror, we are showing the world the strength of our country, and by our unity and tolerance and compassion, we will show the world the soul of our country. May God bless America.

2003[edit]

  • Why don't they ask [Saddam's intelligence chief, Tahir Jalil Habbush] to give us something we can use to help us make our case [to prove he had WMD]?
    • from Ron Suskind, The Way of the World, p. 364, on Bush's frustration at the results of secret meetings between British intelligence and Saddam's intelligence chief, Tahir Jalil Habbush
  • All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing.
    • Ultimatum to Iraq (17 March 2003) [30]
  • 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."
    • Ultimatum to Iraq (17 March 2003) [31]
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example.
  • There are some who feel like that, uh, if they, attack us? That we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they're talking about, if that's the case. Let me finish. Uh, there are some who uh feels like that the conditions are such that they they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation. Of course, we want other countries to help us. Great Britain is there, Poland is there.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Saddam's rape rooms and torture chambers and children's prisons are closed forever. His mass graves will claim no victims.
  • 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 [37]
  • The enemy in Iraq believes America will run, that's why they're willing to kill innocent civilians, relief workers, coalition troops. America will never run. America will do what is necessary to make our country more secure.
  • My Geordie is probably just about as bad as my English.
  • The people have given us the duty to defend them, and that duty sometimes requires the violent restraint of violent men.
    • Speech 11/19/2003 Whitehall Palace, London [41]
Remarks after Columbia space shuttle disaster (February 2003)[edit]
Televised remarks (1 February 2003)
  • My fellow Americans, this day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9:00 a.m. this morning, Mission Control in Houston lost contact with our Space Shuttle Columbia. A short time later, debris was seen falling from the skies above Texas. The Columbia is lost; there are no survivors.
  • On board was a crew of seven: Colonel Rick Husband; Lt. Colonel Michael Anderson; Commander Laurel Clark; Captain David Brown; Commander William McCool; Dr. Kalpana Chawla; and Ilan Ramon, a Colonel in the Israeli Air Force. These men and women assumed great risk in the service to all humanity.
    In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket, and the difficulties of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere of the Earth. These astronauts knew the dangers, and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.
    All Americans today are thinking, as well, of the families of these men and women who have been given this sudden shock and grief. You're not alone. Our entire nation grieves with you. And those you loved will always have the respect and gratitude of this country.
    The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.
    In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
    The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.
    May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America.
Columbia space shuttle disaster (February 2003)[edit]
President Bush at a memorial for the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster crew "Their Mission was Almost Complete" (4 February 2003)
  • The loss was sudden and terrible, and for their families, the grief is heavy. Our nation shares in your sorrow and in your pride. And today we remember not only one moment of tragedy, but seven lives of great purpose and achievement.
  • To leave behind Earth and air and gravity is an ancient dream of humanity. For these seven, it was a dream fulfilled. Each of these astronauts had the daring and discipline required of their calling. Each of them knew that great endeavors are inseparable from great risks. And each of them accepted those risks willingly, even joyfully, in the cause of discovery.
  • Our whole nation was blessed to have such men and women serving in our space program. Their loss is deeply felt, especially in this place, where so many of you called them friends. The people of NASA are being tested once again. In your grief, you are responding as your friends would have wished -- with focus, professionalism, and unbroken faith in the mission of this agency.
  • Captain Brown was correct: America's space program will go on.
  • This cause of exploration and discovery is not an option we choose; it is a desire written in the human heart. We are that part of creation which seeks to understand all creation. We find the best among us, send them forth into unmapped darkness, and pray they will return. They go in peace for all mankind, and all mankind is in their debt.
  • Yet, some explorers do not return. And the loss settles unfairly on a few. The families here today shared in the courage of those they loved. But now they must face life and grief without them. The sorrow is lonely; but you are not alone. In time, you will find comfort and the grace to see you through. And in God's own time, we can pray that the day of your reunion will come.
  • And to the children who miss your Mom or Dad so much today, you need to know, they love you, and that love will always be with you. They were proud of you. And you can be proud of them for the rest of your life.
  • The final days of their own lives were spent looking down upon this Earth. And now, on every continent, in every land they could see, the names of these astronauts are known and remembered. They will always have an honored place in the memory of this country. And today I offer the respect and gratitude of the people of the United States.
  • May God bless you all.
A Vision for Iraq and the Iraqi people (March 2003)[edit]
Speech in Atlantic Summit in Azores, Portugal (6 March 2003)
  • Iraq's talented people, rich culture, and tremendous potential have been hijacked by Saddam Hussein. His brutal regime has reduced a country with a long and proud history to an international pariah that oppresses its citizens, started two wars of aggression against its neighbors, and still poses a grave threat to the security of its region and the world.
  • Saddam's defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding the disarmament of his nuclear, chemical, biological, and long-range missile capacity has led to sanctions on Iraq and has undermined the authority of the U.N. For 12 years, the international community has tried to persuade him to disarm and thereby avoid military conflict, most recently through the unanimous adoption of UNSCR 1441. The responsibility is his. If Saddam refuses even now to cooperate fully with the United Nations, he brings on himself the serious consequences foreseen in UNSCR 1441 and previous resolutions.
  • In these circumstances, we would undertake a solemn obligation to help the Iraqi people build a new Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbors. The Iraqi people deserve to be lifted from insecurity and tyranny, and freed to determine for themselves the future of their country. We envisage a unified Iraq with its territorial integrity respected. All the Iraqi people — its rich mix of Sunni and Shiite Arabs, Kurds, Turkomen, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and all others — should enjoy freedom, prosperity, and equality in a united country. We will support the Iraqi people's aspirations for a representative government that upholds human rights and the rule of law as cornerstones of democracy.
  • We will work to prevent and repair damage by Saddam Hussein's regime to the natural resources of Iraq and pledge to protect them as a national asset of and for the Iraqi people. All Iraqis should share the wealth generated by their national economy. We will seek a swift end to international sanctions, and support an international reconstruction program to help Iraq achieve real prosperity and reintegrate into the global community.
  • We will fight terrorism in all its forms. Iraq must never again be a haven for terrorists of any kind.
  • In achieving this vision, we plan to work in close partnership with international institutions, including the United Nations; our Allies and partners; and bilateral donors. If conflict occurs, we plan to seek the adoption, on an urgent basis, of new United Nations Security Council resolutions that would affirm Iraq's territorial integrity, ensure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief, and endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for Iraq. We will also propose that the Secretary General be given authority, on an interim basis, to ensure that the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people continue to be met through the Oil for Food program.
  • Any military presence, should it be necessary, will be temporary and intended to promote security and elimination of weapons of mass destruction; the delivery of humanitarian aid; and the conditions for the reconstruction of Iraq. Our commitment to support the people of Iraq will be for the long term.
  • We call upon the international community to join with us in helping to realize a better future for the Iraqi people.
Weekly radio address (March 2003)[edit]
White House Transcript (8 March 2003)
  • We are doing everything we can to avoid war in Iraq. But if Saddam Hussein does not disarm peacefully, he will be disarmed by force.
Invasion of Iraq (March 2003)[edit]
White House Video and Transcript (19 March 2003)
  • My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.
  • On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support -- from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.
  • To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you. That trust is well placed.
  • The enemies you confront will come to know your skill and bravery. The people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent spirit of the American military. In this conflict, America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein has placed Iraqi troops and equipment in civilian areas, attempting to use innocent men, women and children as shields for his own military -- a final atrocity against his people.
  • I want Americans and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort to spare innocent civilians from harm. A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.
  • We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.
  • I know that the families of our military are praying that all those who serve will return safely and soon. Millions of Americans are praying with you for the safety of your loved ones and for the protection of the innocent. For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect of the American people. And you can know that our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done.
  • Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.
  • Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.
  • My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.
  • May God bless our country and all who defend her.
Mission Accomplished (May 2003)[edit]
Speech on board the ship USS Abraham Lincoln regarding the mission and progress made in the Iraq War (1 May 2003)
  • Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.
  • In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment, yet it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other made this day possible. Because of you our nation is more secure. Because of you the tyrant has fallen and Iraq is free.
  • When Iraqi civilians looked into the faces of our service men and women, they saw strength and kindness and good will. When I look at the members of the United States military, I see the best of our country and I am honored to be your commander in chief.
  • No device of man can remove the tragedy from war, yet it is a great advance when the guilty have far more to fear from war than the innocent.
  • In the images of celebrating Iraqis we have also seen the ageless appeal of human freedom. Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear.
  • The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001 and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men, the shock troops of a hateful ideology, gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the beginning of the end of America. By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve and force our retreat from the world. They have failed.
  • In these 19 months that changed the world, our actions have been focused and deliberate and proportionate to the offense. We have not forgotten the victims of September the 11th, the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble. With those attacks, the terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.
  • Our war against terror is proceeding according to the principles that I have made clear to all. Any person involved in committing or planning terrorist attacks against the American people becomes an enemy of this country and a target of American justice.
  • The advance of freedom is the surest strategy to undermine the appeal of terror in the world. Where freedom takes hold, hatred gives way to hope. When freedom takes hold, men and women turn to the peaceful pursuit of a better life.
  • No act of the terrorists will change our purpose, or weaken our resolve, or alter their fate. Their cause is lost; free nations will press on to victory.
Hope and Conscience Will Not Be Silenced (July 2003)[edit]
Speech at Goree Island, Senegal (8 July 2003), 11:47 a.m.
  • Mister President and Madam first lady, distinguished guests, and residents of Goree Island, citizens of Senegal, I'm honored to begin my visit to Africa in your beautiful country. For hundreds of years on this island, peoples of different continents met in fear and cruelty. Today, we gather in respect and friendship, mindful of past wrongs and dedicated to the advance of human liberty.
  • At this place, liberty and life were stolen and sold. Human beings were delivered and sorted and weighed and branded with the marks of commercial enterprises and loaded as cargo on a voyage without return. One of the largest migrations of history was also one of the greatest crimes of history. Below the decks, the middle passage was a hot, narrow, sunless nightmare; weeks and months of confinement and abuse and confusion on a strange and lonely sea. Some refused to eat, preferring death to any future their captors might prefer for them. Some who were sick were thrown over the side. Some rose up in violent rebellion, delivering the closest thing to justice on a slave ship. Many acts of defiance and bravery are recorded. Countless others we will never know. Those who lived to see land again were displayed, examined and sold at auctions across nations in the Western Hemisphere. They entered society indifferent to their anguish and made prosperous by their unpaid labor.
  • There was a time in my country's history where one in every seven human beings was the property of another. In law, they were regarded only as articles of commerce, having no right to travel or to marry or to own possessions. Because families were often separated, many were denied even the comfort of suffering together. For 250 years the captives endured an assault on their culture and their dignity. The spirit of Africans in America did not break. Yet the spirit of their captors was corrupted. Small men took on the powers and airs of tyrants and masters. Years of unpunished brutality and bullying and rape produced a dullness and hardness of conscience. Christian men and women became blind to the clearest commands of their faith and added hypocrisy to injustice. A republic founded on equality for all became a prison for millions. And yet in the words of the African proverb, no fist is big enough to hide the sky. All of the generations oppressed under the laws of man could not crush the hope of freedom and defeat the purposes of God.
  • In America, enslaved Africans learned the story of the exodus from Egypt and set their own hearts on a promised land of freedom. Enslaved Africans discovered a suffering savior and found he was more like themselves than their masters. Enslaved Africans heard the ringing promises of the Declaration of Independence and asked the self-evident question, 'Then why not me?' In the era of America's founding, a man named Olaudah Equiano was taken in bondage to the New World. He witnessed all of slavery's cruelties, the ruthless and the petty. He also saw beyond the slave-holding piety of a time to a higher standard of humanity.
  • 'God tells us', wrote Equiano, 'that the oppressor and the oppressed are both in his hands. And if these are not the poor, the broken-hearted, the blind, the captive, the bruised which our Savior speaks of, who are they?' Down through the years, African-Americans have upheld the ideals of America by exposing laws and habits contradicting those ideals. The rights of African-Americans were not the gift of those in authority. Those rights were granted by the author of life and regained by the persistence and courage of African-Americans themselves. Among those Americans was Phillis Wheatley, who was dragged from her home here in West Africa in 1761 at the age of 7. In my country she became a poet and the first noted black author in our nation's history. Phillis Wheatley said, 'In every human breast God has implanted a principle which we call love of freedom. It is impatient of oppression and pants for deliverance'. That deliverance was demanded by escaped slaves named Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, educators named Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DeBois and ministers of the Gospel named Leon Sullivan and Martin Luther King Jr.
  • At every turn, the struggle for equality was resisted by many of the powerful. And some have said we should not judge their failures by the standards of a later time, yet in every time there were men and women who clearly saw this sin and called it by name. We can fairly judge the past by the standards of President John Adams, who called slavery 'an evil of colossal magnitude'. We can discern eternal standards in the deeds of William Wilberforce and John Quincy Adams and Harriet Beecher Stowe and Abraham Lincoln. These men and women, black and white, burned with a zeal for freedom and they left behind a different and better nation. Their moral vision caused Americans to examine our hearts, to correct our Constitution and to teach our children the dignity and equality of every person of every race.
  • By a plan known over to Providence, the stolen sons and daughters of Africa helped to awaken the conscience of America. The very people traded into slavery helped to set America free. My nation's journey toward justice has not been easy and it is not over. The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation, and many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times. But however long the journey, our destination is set: liberty and justice for all.
  • In the struggle of the centuries, America learned that freedom is not the possession of one race. We know with equal certainty that freedom is not the possession of one nation. This belief in the natural rights of man, this conviction that justice should reach wherever the sun passes, leads America into the world. With the power and resources given to us, the United States seeks to bring peace where there is conflict, hope where there's suffering, and liberty where there's tyranny. And these commitments bring me and other distinguished leaders of my government across the Atlantic to Africa.
  • African peoples are now writing your own story of liberty. Africans have overcome the arrogance of colonial powers, overcome the cruelty of apartheid, and made it clear that dictatorship is not the future of any nation on this continent. In the process, Africa has produced heroes of liberation, leaders like Mandela, Senghor, Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Selassie and Sadat. And many visionary African leaders, such as my friend, have grasped the power of economic and political freedom to lift whole nations and put forth bold plans for Africa's development.
  • Because Africans and Americans share a belief in the values of liberty and dignity, we must share in the labor of advancing those values. In a time of growing commerce across the globe, we will ensure that the nations of Africa are full partners in the trade and prosperity of the world. Against the waste and violence of civil war, we will stand together for peace. Against the merciless terrorists who threaten every nation, we will wage an unrelenting campaign of justice. Confronted with desperate hunger, we will answer with human compassion and the tools of human technology. In the face of spreading disease, we will join with you in turning the tides against AIDS in Africa.
  • We know that these challenges can be overcome because history moves in the direction of justice. The evils of slavery were accepted and unchanged for centuries, yet eventually the human heart would not abide them. There is a voice of conscience and hope in every man and woman that will not be silenced, what Martin Luther King called a certain kind of fire that no water could put out. That flame could not be extinguished at the Birmingham jail. It could not be stamped out at Robben Island prison. It was seen in the darkness here at Goree Island, where no chain could bind the soul. This untamed fire of justice continues to burn in the affairs of man, and it lights the way before us. May God bless you all.
Address to the National Endowment for Democracy (November 2003)[edit]
Address to the National Endowment for Democracy at the United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C. (6 November 2003)
  • 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 2003)[edit]
Remarks on U.S.-British relations and foreign policy, Whitehall Palace, London, United Kingdom (19 November 2003)
  • 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.
Remarks on on the Capture of Saddam Hussein (December 2003)[edit]
President Bush on Sunday delivered a television address on the capture of Saddam Hussein, saying that the toppled Iraqi leader would not threaten Iraqis ever again and congratulating U.S. forces (14 December 2003).
  • Good afternoon. Yesterday, December the 13th, at around 8:30 p.m. Baghdad time, United States military forces captured Saddam Hussein alive. He was found near a farmhouse outside the city of Tikrit, in a swift raid conducted without casualties. And now the former dictator of Iraq will face the justice he denied to millions.
  • The capture of this man was crucial to the rise of a free Iraq. It marks the end of the road for him, and for all who bullied and killed in his name. For the Baathist holdouts largely responsible for the current violence, there will be no return to the corrupt power and privilege they once held. For the vast majority of Iraqi citizens who wish to live as free men and women, this event brings further assurance that the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever.
  • And this afternoon, I have a message for the Iraqi people: You will not have to fear the rule of Saddam Hussein ever again. All Iraqis who take the side of freedom have taken the winning side. The goals of our coalition are the same as your goals — sovereignty for your country, dignity for your great culture, and for every Iraqi citizen, the opportunity for a better life.
  • In the history of Iraq, a dark and painful era is over. A hopeful day has arrived. All Iraqis can now come together and reject violence and build a new Iraq.
  • The success of yesterday's mission is a tribute to our men and women now serving in Iraq. The operation was based on the superb work of intelligence analysts who found the dictator's footprints in a vast country. The operation was carried out with skill and precision by a brave fighting force. Our servicemen and women and our coalition allies have faced many dangers in the hunt for members of the fallen regime, and in their effort to bring hope and freedom to the Iraqi people. Their work continues, and so do the risks. Today, on behalf of the nation, I thank the members of our Armed Forces and I congratulate 'em.
  • I also have a message for all Americans: The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq. We still face terrorists who would rather go on killing the innocent than accept the rise of liberty in the heart of the Middle East. Such men are a direct threat to the American people, and they will be defeated.
  • We've come to this moment through patience and resolve and focused action. And that is our strategy moving forward. The war on terror is a different kind of war, waged capture by capture, cell by cell, and victory by victory. Our security is assured by our perseverance and by our sure belief in the success of liberty. And the United States of America will not relent until this war is won. May God bless the people of Iraq, and may God bless America. Thank you.

2004[edit]

  • Well, no... He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength. There's a higher Father that I appeal to.
    • Response to reporter Bob Woodward's inquiring as to whether, prior to the 2003 Iraq invasion, he had sought any advice from his father, George H. W. Bush. (The latter, during his own presidency, had led a successful invasion of Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War, while also resisting calls to press on to Baghdad and overthrow its leader, Saddam Hussein.) Words quoted are as recalled by Woodward during his one-on-one White House interview with Bush in 2003 or early 2004, and later recounted by Woodward in a 2004 interview with 60 Minutes. [42]
  • 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.
  • 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[43], 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.
  • I fully understand it takes time for free societies, truly free societies to evolve. I don't expect instant success.
  • ...because the 9/11 Commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions. [...] Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 Commission is looking forward to asking us, and I'm looking forward to answering them.
  • 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.


  • America and our allies are fighting a new kind of war against a different kind of enemy. This conflict places great demands on the men and women of our armed forces, including our Guard and Reserve. They've met every test; they've risen to every challenge. The war also places demands on those of us in government. We took an oath to protect our country. We have a solemn responsibility to support the service men and women who defend us in the field of battle.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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) [50]
  • I believe it is the job of a President to confront problems, not pass them on to future Presidents and future generations.
  • [W]e're creating... an ownership society in this country, where more Americans than ever will be able to open up their door where they live and say, welcome to my house, welcome to my piece of property.
    • Remarks to the National Association of Home Builders, Columbus, Ohio, October 2, 2004 [53]
  • I'm asking Congress to pass my Zero Down Payment Initiative. We should remove the 3 percent down payment rule for first time home buyers with FHA-insured mortgages.
    • Remarks to the National Association of Home Builders, Columbus, Ohio, October 2, 2004 [54]
  • 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.
  • 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]
  • A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not a person you want as your commander in chief.
  • 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.
  • Again, he violated the one-question rule right off the bat. Obviously, you didn't listen to the will of the people.
  • America would do it again for our friends.
    • at July 6, 2004, Normandy, France [60]
  • Some folks look at me and see swagger, which in Texas is called 'walking'.
    • Speech accepting the Republican nomination for President in New York City (September 2004). Reported in the New York Times.
  • And as a result of the United States military, Taliban no longer is in existence.
    • Speech in Springfield, Ohio, September 27, 2004 [61]
Speech to United Nations General Assembly (September 2004)[edit]
United Nations headquarters, New York City, New York (21 September 2004).
  • 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.

2005[edit]

Listen to an original recording of these quotes:

  • We had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 elections.
  • 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)[63]
  • 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)
  • 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) [67]
  • "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 [68]
  • 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
  • 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 [70]
  • I was going to say he's a piece of work, but that might not translate too well. Is that all right, if I call you a 'piece of work'?
    • to Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg (June 20, 2005) [71]
  • 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 [72]
  • 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. [73]
  • 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 — September 6, 2005. [74]
  • 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.
  • Thank you. God told me to wear it.
    That's a joke.
    • Responding to a compliment on his suit from European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso (November 2005) [76]
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Reuters, December 2005, quoted in Steve Coffman, Founders v. Bush (2007)
Second Inaugural Address (January 2005)[edit]
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 2005)[edit]
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C. (6 October 2005)
  • 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 2005)[edit]
Address to the Nation on Iraqi Elections (18 December 2005)
  • 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.

2006[edit]

  • One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq with the war on terror.
    • September 7, 2006 interview with Katie Couric [YouTube]
  • I believe that a prosperous, democratic Pakistan will be a steadfast partner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India and 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
  • I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound largemouth bass in my lake.
    • Revealing his "best moment since he took office in 2001" to a German newspaper reporter, Bild am Sonntag. [80] (May 7, 2006)
  • 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.
  • If there’s any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it’s flawed logic. It’s just — I simply can’t accept that. It’s unacceptable to think that there’s any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.
  • I know the American people understand the stakes in Iraq. They want to win. They will support the war as long as they see a path to victory. Americans can have confidence that we will prevail because thousands of smart, dedicated military and civilian personnel are risking their lives and are working around the clock to ensure our success.
  • So if you happen to bump into a Democrat candidate, you might want to ask this simple question: What's your plan? If they say they want to protect the homeland, but oppose the Patriot Act, ask them this question: What's your plan? If they say they want to uncover terrorist plots, but oppose listening in on terrorist conversations, ask them this question: What's your plan? If they say they want to stop new attacks on our country, but oppose letting the CIA detain and question the terrorists who might know what those plots are, ask them this question: What's your plan? If they say they want to win the war on terror, but call for America to pull out from what al Qaeda says is the central front in this war, ask them this question: What's your plan?...The truth is, the Democrats can't answer that question. Harsh criticism is not a plan for victory. Second-guessing is not a strategy.
  • ...Hunt asked me the question one week before the campaign, and basically it was, are you going to do something about Rumsfeld and the Vice President? And my answer was, they're going to stay on. And the reason why is I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign. And so the only way to answer that question and to get you on to another question was to give you that answer.
    • The President's reasoning for telling reporters in the Oval Office that the current Defense Secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld, would be staying on, although Bush had already selected potential replacements. Given at a news conference (November 8, 2006)
  • You know, I think an interesting construct that General [Peter] Pace uses is, "We're not winning, we're not losing."
  • ...I believe that we're going to win; I believe that -- and by the way, if I didn't think that, I wouldn't have our troops there. That's what you got to know. We're going to succeed.
    • In response to a question concerning Bush stating two months prior "Absolutely we're winning" in Iraq and then saying in the Washington Post "We're not winning, we're not losing." Press Conference from the White House Indian Treaty Room (December 20, 2006)
State of the Union (January 2006)[edit]
State of the Union address (31 January 2006)
  • 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.
Speech at the American Legion National Convention (August 2006)[edit]
Speech at the American Legion National Convention (31 August 2006), Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • The war we fight today is more than a military conflict; it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. On one side are those who believe in the values of freedom and moderation; the right of all people to speak, and worship, and live in liberty. And on the other side are those driven by the values of tyranny and extremism; the right of a self-appointed few to impose their fanatical views on all the rest. As veterans, you have seen this kind of enemy before. They're successors to Fascists, to Nazis, to Communists, and other totalitarians of the 20th century. And history shows what the outcome will be. This war will be difficult; this war will be long; and this war will end in the defeat of the terrorists and totalitarians, and a victory for the cause of freedom and liberty.
United Nations General Assembly speech (September 2006)[edit]
Speech before the United Nations General Assembly (19 September 2006)
  • 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. This propaganda is false, and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. We respect Islam, but we will protect our people from those who pervert Islam to sow death and destruction. Our goal is to help you build a more tolerant and hopeful society that honors people of all faiths and promotes the peace.
  • Freedom, by its nature, cannot be imposed. It must be chosen. From Beirut to Baghdad, people are making the choice for freedom. And the nations gathered in this chamber must make a choice, as well: Will we support the moderates and reformers who are working for change across the Middle East—or will we yield the future to the terrorists and extremists? America has made its choice: We will stand with the moderates and reformers.
  • Recently a courageous group of Arab and Muslim intellectuals wrote me a letter. In it, they said this: "The shore of reform is the only one on which any lights appear, even though the journey demands courage and patience and perseverance." The United Nations was created to make that journey possible. Together we must support the dreams of good and decent people who are working to transform a troubled region -- and by doing so, we will advance the high ideals on which this institution was founded.

2007[edit]

Listen to an original recording of this quote:

  • Some say our approach is really just more troops for the same strategy. In fact, we have a new strategy with a new mission: helping secure the population, especially in Baghdad. Our plan puts Iraqis in the lead.... Members of Congress have a right to express their views, and express them forcefully. But those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success. To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible.
  • Well, no question decisions have made things unstable. But the question is can we succeed. And I believe we can. Listen, I'd like to see stability and a unified Iraq. A young democracy will provide the stability we look for. I will tell you that if we just isolate ourselves from the Middle East and hope for the best, we will not address the conditions that had led young suiciders to get on airplanes to come and attack us in the first place.
  • Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night.
  • ...One of the things I have discovered is, in Washington, D.C. most people understand the consequences of failure. And if failure is not an option, then it's up to the president to come up with a plan that is more likely to succeed.
  • One of the things I've found in Congress is that most people recognize that failure would be a disaster for the United States. And in that I'm the decision maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster. In other words, I had to think about what's likely to work. And so I worked with our military and I worked with Secretary Gates to come up with a plan that is likely to succeed. And the implementor of that plan is going to be General Petraeus. And my call to the Congress is, is that I know there is skepticism and pessimism, and that they are -- some are condemning a plan before it's even had a chance to work. And they have an obligation and a serious responsibility, therefore, to put up their own plan as to what would work. I've listened a lot to members of Congress. I've listened carefully to their suggestions. I have picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed, because I understand, like many in Congress understand, success is very important for the security of the country.
  • I think that the vice president is a person reflecting a half-glass-full mentality, and that is he's been able to look at – as have I, and I hope other Americans have – the fact that the tyrant was removed, 12 million people voted, there is an Iraqi constitution in place that is a model for – and unique for the Middle East.
  • What we're trying to do with this reinforcement of our troops is to provide enough space so that the Iraqi government can meet certain benchmarks or certain requirements for a unity government to survive and for the country to be strong.
  • George Washington's long struggle for freedom has also inspired generations of Americans to stand for freedom in their own time. Today, we're fighting a new war to defend our liberty and our people and our way of life. And as we work to advance the cause of freedom around the world, we remember that the father of our country believed that the freedoms we secured in our revolution were not meant for Americans alone. He once wrote, "My best wishes are irresistibly excited whensoever in any country I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom." President Washington believed that the success of our democracy would also depend on the virtue of our citizens. In his farewell address to the American people, he said, "Morality is a necessary spring of popular government." Over the centuries, America has succeeded because we have always tried to maintain the decency and the honor of our first President. His example guided us in his time; it guides us in our time, and it will guide us for all time.
  • It can be tempting to look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude our best option is to pack up and go home. That may be satisfying in the short run, but I believe the consequences for American security would be devastating. If American forces were to step back from Baghdad before it is more secure, a contagion of violence could spill out across the entire country. In time, this violence could engulf the region. The terrorists could emerge from the chaos with a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they had in Afghanistan, which they used to plan the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. For the safety of the American people, we cannot allow this to happen.
  • Our nation is shocked and saddened by the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech today...Schools should be places of safety, and sanctuary, and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community. Today our nation grieves with those who have lost loved ones at Virginia Tech. We hold the victims in our hearts; we lift them up in our prayers; and we ask a loving God to comfort those who are suffering today.
  • Laura and I have come to Blacksburg today with hearts full of sorrow. This is a day of mourning for the Virginia Tech community -- and it is a day of sadness for our entire nation. We've come to express our sympathy. In this time of anguish, I hope you know that people all over this country are thinking about you, and asking God to provide comfort for all who have been affected.

    Yesterday began like any other day. Students woke up, and they grabbed their backpacks and they headed for class. And soon the day took a dark turn, with students and faculty barricading themselves in classrooms and dormitories -- confused, terrified, and deeply worried. By the end of the morning, it was the worst day of violence on a college campus in American history -- and for many of you here today, it was the worst day of your lives.

    It's impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering. Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they're gone -- and they leave behind grieving families, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation.

  • It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing. All the terrorists would have to do is mark their calendars and gather their strength -- and begin plotting how to overthrow the government and take control of the country of Iraq. I believe setting a deadline for withdrawal would demoralize the Iraqi people, would encourage killers across the broader Middle East, and send a signal that America will not keep its commitments. Setting a deadline for withdrawal is setting a date for failure -- and that would be irresponsible.
  • As you watch the developments in Baghdad, it's important to understand that we will not be able to prevent every al Qaeda attack. When a terrorist is willing to kill himself to kill others, it's really hard to stop him. Yet, over time, the security operation in Baghdad is designed to shrink the areas where al Qaeda can operate, it's designed to bring out more intelligence about their presence, and designed to allow American and Iraqi forces to dismantle their network.

    We have a strategy to deal with al Qaeda in Iraq. But any time you say to a bunch of cold-blooded killers, success depends on no violence, all that does is hand them the opportunity to be successful. And it's hard. I know it's hard for the American people to turn on their TV screens and see the horrific violence. It speaks volumes about the American desire to protect lives of innocent people, America's deep concern about human rights and human dignity. It also speaks volumes about al Qaeda, that they're willing to take innocent life to achieve political objectives.

    The terrorists will continue to fight back. In other words, they understand what they're doing. And casualties are likely to stay high. Yet, day by day, block by block, we are steadfast in helping Iraqi leaders counter the terrorists, protect their people, and reclaim the capital. And if I didn't think it was necessary for the security of the country, I wouldn't put our kids in harm's way.

    ...Either we'll succeed, or we won't succeed. And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not, no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives. And that's what we're trying to achieve.

  • You helped our nation celebrate its Bicentennial in 17- [hastily corrects himself] in 1976. [Queen gives him a sharp look and mutters inaudibly] She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.
  • If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people. Or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all, so the people who wear the uniform in this crowd can do the job we expect them to do.
  • I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.
  • I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region, and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we'd be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we'd allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.
  • It's more of a theological perspective. I do believe there is an Almighty, and I believe a gift of that Almighty to all is freedom. And I will tell you that is a principle that no one can convince me that doesn't exist.
  • (He) ... said he'd like to be there but "One, I'm too old to be out there, and two, they would notice me."
  • I thought an interesting comment was made when somebody said to me, I heard somebody say, where's Mandela? Well, Mandela is dead, because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas.
  • United States can't impose peace. We can encourage the development of a state.... We can facilitate that. But we can't force people to make hard decisions. They're gonna have to do that themselves.... Gotta ask yourselves, why don't they want there to be a democracy. The answer is, because it doesn't fit in with their ideological vision.
    • Oct. 17, 2007 press conference, talking about the Palestinians (not the Iraqis) [citation needed]
  • We got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.
Address to the Nation (January 2007)[edit]
Address to the Nation (10 January 2007)
  • The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people; and it is unacceptable to me. Our troops in Iraq have fought bravely. They have done everything we have asked them to do. Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me.
  • I've made it clear to the Prime Minister and Iraq's other leaders that America's commitment is not open-ended. If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people; and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people. Now is the time to act.
  • Fellow citizens: The year ahead will demand more patience, sacrifice, and resolve. It can be tempting to think that America can put aside the burdens of freedom. Yet times of testing reveal the character of a nation. And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle that will set the course for a new century. We can, and we will, prevail.
  • Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.
Virginia Tech Prayer Vigil (April 2007)[edit]
Prayer Vigil for Virginia Shooting Victims: "Yesterday began like any other day" (17 April 2007)
  • Yesterday began like any other day. Students woke up, and they grabbed their backpacks and they headed for class. And soon the day took a dark turn, with students and faculty barricading themselves in classrooms and dormitories -- confused, terrified, and deeply worried. By the end of the morning, it was the worst day of violence on a college campus in American history -- and for many of you here today, it was the worst day of your lives.
  • It's impossible to make sense of such violence and suffering. Those whose lives were taken did nothing to deserve their fate. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now they're gone -- and they leave behind grieving families, and grieving classmates, and a grieving nation.
  • In such times as this, we look for sources of strength to sustain us. And in this moment of loss, you're finding these sources everywhere around you. These sources of strength are in this community, this college community. You have a compassionate and resilient community here at Virginia Tech. Even as yesterday's events were still unfolding, members of this community found each other; you came together in dorm rooms and dining halls and on blogs. One recent graduate wrote this: "I don't know most of you guys, but we're all Hokies, which means we're family. To all of you who are okay, I'm happy for that. For those of you who are in pain or have lost someone close to you, I'm sure you can call on anyone of us and have help any time you need it."
  • These sources of strength are with your loved ones. For many of you, your first instinct was to call home and let your moms and dads know that you were okay. Others took on the terrible duty of calling the relatives of a classmate or a colleague who had been wounded or lost. I know many of you feel awfully far away from people you lean on and people you count on during difficult times. But as a dad, I can assure you, a parent's love is never far from their child's heart. And as you draw closer to your own families in the coming days, I ask you to reach out to those who ache for sons and daughters who will never come home.
  • These sources of strength are also in the faith that sustains so many of us. Across the town of Blacksburg and in towns all across America, houses of worship from every faith have opened their doors and have lifted you up in prayer. People who have never met you are praying for you; they're praying for your friends who have fallen and who are injured. There's a power in these prayers, real power. In times like this, we can find comfort in the grace and guidance of a loving God. As the Scriptures tell us, "Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
  • And on this terrible day of mourning, it's hard to imagine that a time will come when life at Virginia Tech will return to normal. But such a day will come. And when it does, you will always remember the friends and teachers who were lost yesterday, and the time you shared with them, and the lives they hoped to lead. May God bless you. May God bless and keep the souls of the lost. And may His love touch all those who suffer and grieve.

2008[edit]

  • ...a clear lesson I learned in the museum was that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive. In other words, people came from other countries — I guess you'd call them colonialists — and they pitted one group of people against another.
    • Press Availability with President Kagame of Rwanda (February 19, 2008) [82] [83]
  • Wait, what did you just say? You're predicting $4 a gallon gasoline? ... That's interesting. I hadn't heard that.
    • Whitehouse Press Conference, after being asked about the prospect of Americans facing $4 for a gallon of gasoline (February 28, 2008)
  • I hadn't heard that.... I, frankly, have been focused elsewhere, like on gasoline prices.
    • Explaining, first, that he hadn't heard gas prices were climbing to $4, then explaining he was focused on gas prices in response to a question of what groups fund his library; press conference, February 28, 2008 Watch video
  • The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror -- the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives.
    • President's Radio Address, regarding the President's veto of a bill that would have banned waterboarding as an interrogation technique (March 8, 2008)
  • I must say, I'm a little envious. If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed. It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks.
  • And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.... I told the country we did that. And I also told them it was legal. We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it.
    • In an interview regarding his awareness that his top national security advisors had discussed the details of harsh interrogation tactics to be used on detainees (April 11, 2008)
  • Goodbye, from the world's biggest polluter.
    • Concluding a private address at the Tokyo G8 summit; July 12, 2008; [85]
  • If money isn't loosened up, this sucker could go down.
    • Summing up the risk to the global economy if Congressional leaders failed to approve Treasury Secretary Paulson's $700 billion financial bailout plan, at a bipartisan meeting hosted by the White House (September 26, 2008); [86].
  • I told Barack Obama that I wouldn't let the automakers fail. I won't dump this mess on him.
State of the Union Address (January 2008)[edit]
State of the Union Address (28 January 2008).
  • These issues call for vigorous debate; and I think it's fair to say we've answered the call.
Address to the United Nations General Assembly (September 2008)[edit]
Address to the United Nations General Assembly by President George W. Bush (23 September 2008).
  • Sixty-three years ago, representatives from around the world gathered in San Francisco to complete the founding of the Charter of the United Nations. They met in the shadow of a devastating war, with grave new dangers on the horizon. They agreed on a historic pledge: To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, and unite their strength to maintain international peace and security.
  • This noble pledge has endured trying hours in the United Nations history, and it still guides our work today. Yet the ideals of the charter are now facing a challenge as serious as any since the U.N.'s founding, a global movement of violent extremists. By deliberately murdering the innocent to advance their aims, these extremists defy the fundamental principles of international order. They show contempt for all who respect life and value human dignity. They reject the words of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, or any standard of conscience or morality. They imperil the values of justice and human rights that gave birth to the United Nations, values that have fueled an unprecedented expansion of freedom across the world.
  • To uphold the world's words of the charter in the face of this challenge, every nation in this chamber has responsibilities. As sovereign states, we have an obligation to govern responsibly, and solve problems before they spill across borders. We have an obligation to prevent our territory from being used as a sanctuary for terrorism and proliferation and human trafficking and organized crime. We have an obligation to respect the rights and respond to the needs of our people.
  • Multilateral organizations have responsibilities. For 8 years, the nations in this assembly have worked together to confront the extremist threat. We've witnessed successes and setbacks, and through it all a clear lesson has emerged: The United Nations and other multilateral organizations are needed more urgently than ever. To be successful, we must be focused and resolute and effective. Instead of only passing resolutions decrying terrorist attacks after they occur, we must cooperate more closely to keep terrorist attacks from happening in the first place. Instead of treating all forms of government as equally tolerable, we must actively challenge the conditions of tyranny and despair that allow terror and extremism to thrive. By acting together to meet the fundamental challenge of our time, we can lead toward a world that is more secure and more prosperous and more hopeful.
  • In the decades ahead, the United Nations and other multilateral organizations must continually confront terror. This mission requires clarity of vision. We must see the terrorists for what they are: ruthless extremists who exploit the desperate, subvert the tenets of a great religion, and seek to impose their will on as many people as possible. Some suggest that these men would pose less of a threat if we'd only leave them alone. Yet their leaders make clear that no concession could ever satisfy their ambitions. Bringing the terrorists to justice does not create terrorism; it's the best way to protect our people.
  • Multilateral organizations must respond by taking an unequivocable moral stand against terrorism. No cause can justify the deliberate taking of innocent human life, and the international community is nearing universal agreement on this truth. The vast majority of nations in this assembly now agree that tactics like suicide bombing, hostage-taking, and hijacking are never legitimate. This Security Council has passed resolutions declaring terror unlawful and requiring all nations to crack down on terrorist financing. And earlier this month, the Secretary-General held a conference to highlight victims of terror, where he stated that terrorism can never be justified.
  • Other multilateral organizations have spoken clearly as well. The G-8 has declared that all terrorist acts are criminal and must be universally condemned. And the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference recently spoke out against a suicide bombing, which he said runs counter to the teachings of Islam. The message behind these statements is resolutely clear. Like slavery and piracy, terrorism has no place in the modern world.
  • Around the globe, nations are turning these words into action. Members of the United Nations are sharing intelligence with one another, conducting joint operations, and freezing terrorist finances. While terrorists continue to carry out attacks like the terrible bombing in Islamabad last week, our joint actions have spared our citizens from many devastating blows.
  • The brutal nature of the extremists increasingly clear, the coalition of nations confronting terror is growing stronger. Over the past 7 years, Afghanistan and Iraq have been transformed from regimes that actively sponsored terror to democracies that fight terror. Libya has renounced its support for terror and its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are actively pursuing the terrorists. A few nations – regimes like Syria and Iran – continue to sponsor terror. Yet their numbers are growing fewer, and they're growing more isolated from the world.
  • As the 21st century unfolds, some may be tempted to assume that the threat has receded. This would be comforting; it would be wrong. The terrorists believe time is on their side, so they made waiting out civilized nations part of their strategy. We must not allow them to succeed. The nations of this body must stand united in the fight against terror. We must continue working to deny the terrorists refuge anywhere in the world, including ungoverned spaces. We must remain vigilant against proliferation by fully implementing the terms of Security Council Resolution 1540, and enforcing sanctions against North Korea and Iran. We must not relent until our people are safe from this threat to civilization.
  • To uphold the Charter's promise of peace and security in the 21st century, we must also confront the ideology of the terrorists. At its core, the struggle against extremists is a battle of ideas. The terrorists envision a world in which religious freedom is denied, women are oppressed, and all dissent is crushed. The nations of this chamber must present a more hopeful alternative, a vision where people can speak freely, and worship as they choose, and pursue their dreams in liberty.
  • Advancing the vision of freedom serves our highest ideals, as expressed in the U.N.'s Charter's commitment to the dignity and worth of the human person. Advancing this vision also serves our security interests. History shows that when citizens have a voice in choosing their own leaders, they are less likely to search for meaning in radical ideologies. And when governments respect the rights of their people, they're more likely to respect the rights of their neighbors.
  • For all these reasons, the nations of this body must challenge tyranny as vigorously as we challenge terror. Some question whether people in certain parts of the world actually desire freedom. This self-serving condescension has been disproved before our eyes. From the voting booths of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Liberia to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose Revolution in Georgia to the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, we have seen people consistently make the courageous decision to demand their liberty. For all the suggestions to the contrary, the truth is that whenever or wherever people are given the choice, they choose freedom.
  • Nations in this chambers have supported the efforts of dissidents and reformers and civil society advocates in newly free societies throughout the new United Nations Democracy Fund. And we appreciate those efforts. And as young democracies around the world continue to make brave stands for liberty, multilateral organizations like the United Nations must continue to stand with them.
  • In Afghanistan, a determined people are working to overcome decades of tyranny, and protect their newly free society. They have strong support from all 26 nations of the NATO Alliance. I appreciate the United Nations' decision this week to renew the mandate for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The United Nations is also an active civilian presence in Afghanistan, where experts are doing important work helping to improve education, facilitate humanitarian aid, and protect human rights. We must continue to help the Afghan people defend their young democracy so the Taliban does not return to power, and Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for terror.
  • In Iraq, the fight has been difficult, yet daily life has improved dramatically over the past 20 months, thanks to the courage of the Iraqi people, a determined coalition of nations, and a surge of American troops. The United Nations has provided the mandate for multinational forces in Iraq through this December. And the United Nations is carrying out an ambitious strategy to strengthen Iraq's democracy, including helping Iraqis prepare for their next round of free elections. Whatever disagreements our nations have had on Iraq, we should all welcome this progress toward stability and peace, and we should stand united in helping Iraq's democracy succeed.
  • We must stand united in our support of other young democracies, from the people of Lebanon struggling to maintain their hard-won independence, to the people of the Palestinian Territories, who deserve a free and peaceful state of their own. We must stand united in our support of the people of Georgia. The United Nations Charter sets forth the equal rights of nations large and small. Russia's invasion of Georgia was a violation of those words. Young democracies around the world are watching to see how we respond to this test. The United States has worked with allies in multilateral institutions like the European Union and NATO to uphold Georgia's territorial integrity and provide humanitarian relief. And our nations will continue to support Georgia's democracy.
  • In this chamber are representatives of Georgia and Ukraine and Lebanon and Afghanistan and Liberia and Iraq and other brave young democracies. We admire your courage; we honor your sacrifices; we thank you for your inspiring example. We will continue to stand with all who stand for freedom. This noble goal is worthy of the United Nations, and it should have the support of every member in this assembly.
  • Extending the reach of political freedom is essential to prevailing in the great struggle of our time, but it is not enough. Many in this chamber have answered the call to help their brothers and sisters in need by working to alleviate hopelessness. These efforts to improve the human condition honor the highest ideals of this institution. They also advance our security interests. The extremists find their most fertile recruiting grounds in societies trapped in chaos and despair, places where people see no prospect of a better life. In the shadows of hopelessness, radicalism thrives. And eventually, that radicalism can boil over into violence and cross borders and take innocent lives across the world.
  • Overcoming hopelessness requires addressing its causes: poverty, disease, and ignorance. Challenging these conditions is in the interest of every nation in this chamber. And democracies are particularly well-positioned to carry out this work. Because we have experience responding to the needs of our own people, we're natural partners in helping other nations respond to the needs of theirs. Together, we must commit our resources and efforts to advancing education and health and prosperity.
  • Over the years, many nations have made well-intentioned efforts to promote these goals. Yet the success of these efforts must be measured by more than intentions, they must be measured by results. My Nation has placed an insistence on results at the heart of our foreign assistance programs. We launched a new initiative called the Millennium Challenge Account, which directs our help to countries that demonstrate their ability to produce results by governing justly, and fighting corruption, and pursuing market-based economic policies, as well as investing in their people. Every country and institution that provides foreign assistance, including the United Nations, will be more effective by showing faith in the people of the developing world and insisting on performance in return for aid.
  • Experience also shows that to be effective, we must adopt a model of partnership, not paternalism. This approach is based on our conviction that people in the developing world have the capacity to improve their own lives, and will rise to meet high expectations if we set them. America has sought to apply this model in our Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Every nation that receives American support through this initiative develops its own plan for fighting HIV/AIDS and measures the results. And so far, these results are inspiring. Five years ago, 50,000 people in sub-Sahara Africa were receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS. Today, that number is nearly 1.7 million. We're taking a similar approach to fighting malaria, and so far, we've supported local efforts to protect more than 25 million Africans.
  • Multilateral organizations have made bold commitments of their own to fight disease. The G-8 has pledged to match America's efforts on malaria and HIV/AIDS. Through the Global Fund, many countries are working to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and T-B. Lives in the developing world depend on these programs, and all who have made pledges to fight disease have an obligation to follow through on their commitments.
  • One of the most powerful engines of development and prosperity is trade and investment, which create new opportunities for entrepreneurs, and help people rise out of poverty, and reinforce fundamental values like transparency and rule of law. For all these reasons, many in these chambers have conducted free trade agreements at bilateral and regional levels. The most effective step of all would be an agreement that tears down trade barriers at the global level. The recent impasse in the Doha round is disappointing, but that does not have to be the final word. I urge every nation to seize this opportunity to lift up economies around the world and reach a successful Doha agreement as soon as possible. Beyond Doha, our nations must renew our commitment to open economies, and stand firm against economic isolationism. These objectives are being tested by turbulence in the global financial markets. Our economies are more closely connected than ever before, and I know that many of you here are watching how the United States government will address the problems in our financial system.
  • In recent weeks, we have taken bold steps to prevent a severe disruption of the American economy, which would have a devastating effect on other economies around the world. We've promoted stability in the markets by preventing the disorderly failure of major companies. The Federal Reserve has injected urgently needed liquidity into the system. And last week, I announced a decisive action by the federal government to address the root cause of much of the instability in our financial markets, by purchasing illiquid assets that are weighing down balance sheets and restricting the flow of credit. I can assure you that my administration and our Congress are working together to quickly pass legislation approving this strategy, and I'm confident we will act in the urgent time frame required.
  • The objectives I've laid out for multilateral institutions--confronting terror, opposing tyranny, and promoting effective development--are difficult, but they are necessary tasks. To have maximum impact, multilateral institutions must take on challenging missions. And like all of us in this chamber, they must work toward measurable goals, be accountable for their actions, and hold true to their word.
  • In the 21st century, the world needs a confident and effective United Nations. This unique institution should build on its successes and improve its performance. Where there is inefficiency and corruption, it must be corrected. Where there are bloated bureaucracies, they must be streamlined. Where members fail to uphold their obligations, there must be strong action. For example, there should be an immediate review of the Human Rights Council, which has routinely protected violators of human rights. There should be a stronger effort to help the people of Burma live free of the repression they have suffered for too long. And all nations, especially members of the Security Council, must act decisively to ensure that the government of Sudan upholds its commitment to address the violence in Darfur.
  • The United Nations is an organization of extraordinary potential. As the United Nations rebuilds its headquarters, it must also open the door to a new age of transparency, accountability, and seriousness of purpose. With determination and clear purpose, the United Nations can be a powerful force for good as we head into the 21st century. It can affirm the great promise of its founding.
  • In the final days of the San Francisco Conference, the delegates negotiating the U.N. Charter received a visit from President Harry Truman. He acknowledged the enormous challenges they faced, and said success was only possible because of what he called an unshakable unity of determination. Today, the world is engaged in another period of great challenge. And by continuing to work together, that unshakable unity of determination will be ours. Together, we confront and defeat the evil of terrorism. Together, we can secure the Almighty's gift of liberty and justice to millions who have not known it. And together, we can build a world that is freer, safer, and better for the generations who follow. Thank you.

2009[edit]

  • I'm going to put people in my place, so when the history of this administration is written at least there's an authoritarian voice saying exactly what happened.
Farewell speech to the nation (January 2009)[edit]
George W. Bush farewell speech to the nation from the White House (15 January 2009). Video.
  • Fellow citizens. For eight years, it has been my honor to serve as your President. The first decade of this new century has been a period of consequence. A time set apart. Tonight, with a thankful heart, I have asked for a final opportunity to share some thoughts on the journey we have traveled together and the future of our nation.
  • Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people. Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose story reflects the enduring promise of our land. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls.
  • This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house. September 11, 2001. That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock. I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke-filled corridors at the Pentagon and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93. I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son's police shield as a reminder of all that was lost. And I still carry his badge.
  • As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe.
  • There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. This is a tribute to those who toil day and night to keep us safe – law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Our nation is blessed to have citizens who volunteer to defend us in this time of danger. I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families. America owes you a debt of gratitude. And to all our men and women in uniform listening tonight: There has been no higher honor than serving as your Commander in Chief.
  • The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God and that liberty and justice light the path to peace. This is the belief that gave birth to our nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens.
  • When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror. When people have hope in the future, they will not cede their lives to violence and extremism. So around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity. We are standing with dissidents and young democracies, providing AIDS medicine to bring dying patients back to life, and sparing mothers and babies from malaria. And this great republic born alone in liberty is leading the world toward a new age when freedom belongs to all nations.
  • Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.
  • When challenges to our prosperity emerged, we rose to meet them. Facing the prospect of a financial collapse, we took decisive measures to safeguard our economy. These are very tough times for hardworking families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted. All Americans are in this together. And together, with determination and hard work, we will restore our economy to the path of growth. We will show the world once again the resilience of America's free enterprise system. The decades ahead will bring more hard choices for our country, and there are some guiding principles that should shape our course.
  • While our nation is safer than it was seven years ago, the gravest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard. At the same time, we must continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose. In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led.
  • As we address these challenges – and others we cannot foresee tonight – America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace.
  • President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism. America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.
  • In citizens like these, we see the best of our country – resilient and hopeful, caring and strong. These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead. But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great Nation will never tire … never falter … and never fail.
  • It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this Nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other: citizen of the United States of America, and so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next President. And may God bless you and our wonderful country.

2010s[edit]

2010[edit]

  • I don’t know. You have to ask them. I’m not a hater, and so sometimes it’s hard for me to understand why somebody hates somebody. It could have been because of my policies, maybe they didn’t like my religion. I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a myriad of reasons. That’s what happens when you’re the president. It can either bother you or not bother you. I chose... I really am. I’m honored to have served. I’m glad I served, and I gave it my all, and that’s all you can do at life. I got back; and this sounds corny to some, I understand, but when I looked in the mirror, I know I didn’t sell my soul for the sake of any short-term politics or popularity. I think that’s important.
Interview with Matt Lauer (November 2010)[edit]
  • Yes I do, he called me a racist... That's saying he's a racist. I didn't appreciate it then and I don't appreciate it now. It's one thing to say, you know, I don't appreciate the way he's handled his business. It's another thing to say this man's a racist. I resent it. It's not true, and it's one of the most disgusting moments of my presidency.
  • If you chasing popularity, you're chasing a moment, you're chasing a puff of air.
  • I hope I'm judged a success. I'm well-be dead, Matt, when they finally figure it out, and I'm comfortable knowing that I gave it my all, that I love America.
Interview on Today (November 2010)[edit]
Interview on Today, with Matt Lauer (9 November 2010).
  • I appreciate that. It wasn't just Kanye West who was talking like that during Katrina. I cite him as an example. I cited others as well.
  • I am not a hater. I don't hate Kanye West. But, I was talking about an environment in which people were willing to say things that hurt. Nobody wants to be called a racist, if in your heart you believe in equality of race.
  • My argument is keeping taxes low will encourage the private sector to create jobs.
  • I miss being the commander in chief, and that's an easy question to answer. I love our military.
  • I love the military of the United States, and we are a lucky nation to have people who volunteer to serve.
Decision Points (November 2010)[edit]
Decision Points (November 2010).
  • Rapper Kanye West told a prime-time T.V. audience, 'George Bush doesn't care about black people'. Jesse Jackson later compared the New Orleans Convention Center to the 'hull of a slave ship'. A member of the Congressional Black Caucus claimed that if the storm victims had been 'white, middle-class Americans' they would have received more help. Five years later, I can barely write those words without feeling disgusted. I am deeply insulted by the suggestion that we allowed American citizens to suffer because they were black. As I told the press at the time, 'the storm didn't discriminate, and neither will we. When those coast guard choppers, many of whom were first on the scene, were pulling people off roofs, they didn't check the color of a person's skin'. The more I thought about it, the angrier I felt. I was raised to believe that racism was one of the greatest evils in society. I admired dad's courage when he defied near-universal opposition from his constituents to vote for the Open Housing Bill of 1968. I was proud to have earned more black votes than any Republican governor in Texas history. I had appointed African Americans to top government positions, including the first black woman national security adviser and the first two black secretaries of state. It broke my heart to see minority children shuffled through the school system, so I had based my signature domestic policy initiative, the No Child Left Behind Act, on ending the soft bigotry of low expectations. I had launched a $15 billion program to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa. As part of the response to Katrina, my administration worked with Congress to provided historically black colleges and universities in the Gulf Coast with more than $400 million in loans to restore their campuses and renew their recruiting efforts.
  • I faced a lot of criticism as president. I didn't like hearing people claim I had lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was a racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all-time low. I told Laura at the time that it was the worst moment of my presidency. I feel the same way today.

2011[edit]

  • Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude. This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.
Q&A with Former President George W. Bush (January 2011)[edit]
Q&A with Former President George W. Bush (January 24, 2011), C-SPAN, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
  • All life is precious.
  • Freedom is universal.
  • I got some hands I didn't want to play.
  • My view is, is that we are a land of immigrants, and we ought to recognize that. As a matter of fact, I believe America's soul is rejuvenated when people come to our country and work hard to realize dreams. There is an orderly way to have immigration and that is to recognize people are coming here to do jobs Americans aren't doing, are not capable of doing, are unwilling to do. And we ought to have a process that enables people to come and do those jobs.
  • And you realize that we share the same values. Faith, family, you know, hard work, commitment to service and I think we ought to welcome people from different cultures to America. The great thing about America is we ought to be confident in knowing that everybody becomes an American. And we share the same value system. In other words, there's a great capacity for our society to assimilate people.
  • But I felt it was important to put those kinds of decisions in the book. And I've got to tell you I really - I mean, I don't want to be cavalier about it but I've done what I've done and I, frankly, if people like what I did, great. And if they don't like what I did at least read the book. That's all I ask. And at least be open minded enough to figure out the decision making process. Why did I do what I did?
  • And so literacy is crucial for the ability for this country to compete and the ability for people to realize dreams. It just is. And so we're going to - we're going to - here at SMU we're going to continue to focus on accountability in schools aiming to make sure people can read early before it's too late and we're going to do a joint venture with the Simmons Education School, which by the way, is a reform-minded school. I don't know if you know that. But the Simmons School of Education here at SMU is an excellent school run by people willing to challenge the status quo when the status quo is unacceptable.
  • Yes. I also put in the book that I felt Hugo Chavez was the Robert Mugabe of our hemisphere. In other words, this is a case for – where leadership is destroying a country. Zimbabwe used to feed South Africa. Today it's a net importer of food because the rule of an incompetent government destroyed the economy of the country.
Speech at the Gerald R. Ford Foundation (2011)[edit]
Speech at the Gerald R. Ford Foundation (2011), Michigan.
  • I believe in the universality of freedom.
  • You want the country to go back to normal, but the presidency couldn't go back to normal.
  • I happen to be one of these guys that when you say something, you better mean it.
  • In other words, words can be empty and all that does is just reinforce the bad behavior of tyrants.
  • My argument is that it really matters, if you're interested in peace. If peace is your goal, which it's got to be a goal for any American president, it matters a lot whether people live in a free society.
  • It sounded far-fetched, but democracy transformed an enemy to an ally. I know it seems far-fetched for some to believe people want to be free in the Middle East and that freedom will take hold, I think it will. Because I happen to believe freedom is universal. I believe that deep in everybody's soul is a desire to be free.
  • I believe that the best government that will yield to peace, is one decided by people. Not by a liberator in this case.
  • One of the principles that I've tried to live my life on, sometimes successfully, sometimes not as successfully, is 'to whom much is given much is required'.
  • I believe that I benefit as a person and so do you, when you live under that call.
  • Somebody said 'well, you did that to make us like you.' No, no. It's not a reason you do things, to be liked. It's the right thing to do, to save lives.
  • No, I didn't read the budget. I hired people to read the budget. You read the budget? Well, yeah. It's the difference between somebody who's in Congress and somebody who's a governor.
  • I've got to tell you, I don't miss the limelight. At all. Kind of weird to say it.
  • Frankly, I think it's bad for former presidents. I like the model of President Ford and my dad. When they got off the stage, you get off the stage. It's somebody else's turn, and I don't think it's good for the country nor the presidency for me to be criticizing my successor, and I don't intend to do that. Nor do I intend to be giving you my opinion, on the latest issue. So you're not going to see much of me, and I'm perfectly content with that. I'm a happy guy, I really am.
  • I'm interested in politics, but I'm out of politics. You know, I like to watch it.
  • When you're off the stage, you're off the stage.
  • I believe women will lead the democracy movement in the Middle East.
  • Women are going to lead the democracy movement, mark my words.
  • We want to empower women and encourage women and to develop civil societies so women can benefit.

2013[edit]

2014[edit]

U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Spousal Program (August 2014)[edit]
U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Spousal Program, Part 2 (6 August 2014), Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
  • The success of any nation is impossible without the political participation, the economic empowerment, the education, and health, of women.
  • Disease can be defeated, and people with AIDS refuse to be defeated.
  • A generation on the verge of being lost, have been found.
  • It is impossible to get help where it is most needed when any group is targeted for legal discrimination and stigma.
  • The best way to help children is to help their mothers live long to raise them.
  • People living with AIDS should not be dying from preventable and treatable diseases.
  • Taking care of women, is good politics.
  • Universal human dignity, that unites our country.
  • The first ladies ought to be ambassadors as well.
  • It is one of the problems we have; people die of stigma.

2015[edit]

Remarks at the SMU 100th Spring Commencement (May 2015)[edit]
Remarks by President George W. Bush at SMU's 100th Spring Commencement Convocation (16 May 2015).
  • Thank you. Thank you very much. President Turner, thanks. Members of the Board of Trustees, Provost Ludden, faculty, staff, distinguished guests, parents, and — most importantly — the Class of 2015. Thank you for your warm welcome, and I appreciate the invitation to be with you. You know, when I mentioned this speech to some pals, they were surprised I was going to give it. I haven't given a commencement address since leaving office. You know, my decision is quite practical. So I got a call from my landlord, Gerald Turner. Rather than raising the rent or threatening to withhold our security deposit. I was relieved to hear President Turner ask if I believed in free speech. I said yeah. He said, 'Perfect. Here’s your chance to give one'. As a proud member of the SMU community, I am honored to be here – truly honored – to deliver the 100th Spring Commencement address. I admire President Turner’s persuasiveness and leadership. He runs a fantastic university. It is dynamic, diverse, and destined for continued excellence. He has assembled a strong administrative team. He is supported by engaged alumni, and he has an outstanding Board of Trustees.
  • I'm fortunate to know many of the trustees. Well, for example I'm good friends with the Chairman, Mike Boone. And there’s one trustee I know really well, a proud graduate of the SMU Class of 1968 who went on to become our nation’s greatest First Lady. Do me a favor and don’t tell Mother. I know how much the trustees love and care for this great university. I see it firsthand when I attend the Bring-Your-Spouse-Night Dinners. I also get to drop by classes on occasion. I am really impressed by the intelligence and energy of the SMU faculty. I want to thank you for your dedication and thank you for sharing your knowledge with your students. To reach this day, the graduates have had the support of loving families. Some of them love you so much they are watching from overflow sites across campus. I congratulate the parents who have sacrificed to make this moment possible. It is a glorious day when your child graduates from college — and a really great day for your bank account. I know the members of the Class of 2015 will join me in thanking you for your love and your support. Most of all, I congratulate the members of the Class of 2015. You worked hard to reach this milestone. You leave with lifelong friends and fond memories. You will always remember how much you enjoyed the right to buy a required campus meal plan. You'll remember your frequent battles with the Park ‘N’ Pony Office. And you may or may not remember those productive nights at the Barley House.
  • You were founding members of the mighty SMU Mob, bouncing like mad and watching in wonder as your then-Student Body President, Señor Lobster, danced with joy after all those Pony victories right here in Moody. And you'll think back to those carefree fall game days on the Boulevard – though I don’t recall seeing too many of you in the football stadium.
  • To those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards, and distinctions, I say, 'well done'. And as I like to tell the 'C' students: You, too, can be President.
  • After four years of sitting through lectures, I have a feeling you’re not in the mood for another one. What I have learned about graduation speeches is that they’re too long and rarely remembered. So I’ll keep this short. I just can’t attest to how memorable it will be. I’ve also learned that it’s important to refer to someone associated with the University. So I picked one, an SMU trustee, who by the way is not here, Reverend Mark Craig. Now, I asked Mark to deliver the sermon at the First United Methodist Church in Austin before my second inauguration as Governor of Texas. I still remember his Fort Worth twang as he talked about Moses. God called Moses to action, and Moses repeatedly found excuses not to act. 'Who am I that I should go to Pharoah, and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt? Oh, my Lord, I pray, send some other person. I have sheep to tend. And the people won't believe me. I'm not a very good speaker'.
  • Moses wasn’t the only one who could mangle his language. Fortunately, Moses recognized the call to serve something greater than himself. He answered the call, led his people, and history was made. You, too, will be called at some point. The question, as Mark aptly and artfully laid out, is: Will you be optimistic and hopeful, or pessimistic and cynical? Here are three reasons why you should be optimistic and hopeful. One, you are graduating from a great university. Your SMU degree will open the door to a wide variety of career options. Millions will never have had this opportunity. SMU has laid a foundation so you can reason, and continue to learn throughout your life. It has given you the tools to be productive citizens.
  • One of the great strengths of America is our active public square. Issues are influenced by the will of the people. That is why an educated citizenry is so important to the success of our country. As SMU graduates, you are well-equipped to participate in these vital debates. My hope is that you speak out on the issues that matter to you. Participate in your Nation’s civic life as citizens, not spectators. You’ll come to learn that who you are is more important than what you have—and that you have responsibilities to your fellow citizens, your country, and your family. By taking part in American democracy, you will make our country stronger.
  • Secondly, you are blessed to live in the greatest Nation – ever. Here you can strive and succeed as far as you dare to dream. It says something about our country that millions around the world are willing to leave their homes and families and risk everything to come here and realize the American dream. Their pursuit of that dream invigorates our national soul. It renews our country’s character. And it adds vitality to our culture.
  • You live in a land that is compassionate and decent. Because we believe in the rights and dignity of our own citizenry, we are committed to defending the rights and dignity of people everywhere. America has liberated millions around the world from tyranny and terror. We’ve helped turn the tide against deadly disease in places like Africa. In our hearts we believe all are created equal under God. The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is Almighty God’s gift to humanity. At home, there are thousands of platoons in the Army of compassion working to honor those beliefs. No matter what your career path, enlist. When you help another, you enrich your heart, and you strengthen the fabric of our collective goodness. Many of you have already made service a priority in your lives by volunteering during winter, spring, and summer breaks; and completing more than one-hundred community projects through Engaged Learning. I thank you for recognizing the timeless truth: of those to whom much is given, much is required.
  • As you serve others, you can inspire others. I’ve been inspired by the examples of many selfless servants. Winston Churchill, a leader of courage and resolve, inspired me during my Presidency—and, for that matter, in the post-presidency. Like Churchill, I now paint. Unlike Churchill, the painting isn’t worth much without the signature. In 1941, he gave a speech to the students of his old school during Britain’s most trying times in World War II. It wasn’t too long, and it is well-remembered. Prime Minister Churchill urged, 'Never give in ... in nothing, great or small, large or petty. Never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense'. I hope you’ll remember this advice. But there’s a lesser-known passage from that speech that I also want to share with you. 'These are not dark days. These are great days. The greatest our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race'. When Churchill uttered these words, many had lost hope in Great Britain’s chance for survival against the Nazis. Many doubted the future of freedom. Today, some doubt America’s future, and they say our best days are behind us. I say, given our strengths—one of which is a bright new generation like you—these are not dark days. These are great days.
  • And finally, you can be hopeful because there is a loving God. Whether you agree with that statement or not is your choice. It is not your government's choice. It is essential. It is essential to this nation's future that we remember that the freedom to worship who we want, and how we want, or not worship at all, is a core belief of our founding. I have made my choice. I believe that the Almighty’s grace and unconditional love will sustain you. I believe it will bring you joy amidst the trials of life. It will enable you to better see the beauty around you. It will provide a solid foundation amidst a rapidly changing, somewhat impersonal, technologically-driven world. It will show you how to love your neighbor, forgive more easily, and approach success with humility—and failure without fear. It will inspire you to honor your parents and eventually be a better spouse and parent yourself. It will help you fully grasp the value of life—all life. It will remind you that money, power, and fame are false idols. And I hope and believe that God’s love will inspire you to serve others.
  • I want to thank you for letting me share this special day with you. I wish you all the very best. Stay in touch with your friends. Love your family. Treat this day as a step toward a lifetime of learning. And go forth with confidence. May God bless you.

Attributed[edit]

  • It was just a coat hanger, and … it didn’t hurt any more than a cigarette burn.

Misquotations[edit]

  • 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 [88]
    • Correct quote should read: "And, again, I don't know where he [Osama Bin Laden] is. I — I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
    • 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. This wording has not been confirmed.
  • 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.
    • Quotation is from the October 3, 2000 Presidential debate with Al Gore, but is taken out of context. Bush was paraphrasing Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf:
      • The other day, I was honored to be flanked by Colin Powell and General Norman Schwarzkopf, who stood by my side and agreed with me. They said we could, even though we're the strongest military, that if we don't do something quickly, we don't have a clearer vision of the military, 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. And I'm going to prevent that. I'm going to rebuild our military power. It's one of the major priorities of my administration.[89]

Private[edit]

These remarks were allegedly made by Bush outside the presence of reporters, and have not been confirmed by Bush's representatives nor denied by representatives of anyone present.
  • I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight these 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.
  • I will screw him in the ass.
    • Ariel Sharon, speaking to Israeli reporter Uri Dan, claimed that Bush said this when asked what he would do if he caught Osama bin Laden. See Uri Dan (2007), Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait
  • I thought the Iraqis were Muslims.
    • Meeting with three Iraqi-Americans before the invasion of Iraq, regarding a potential conflict between followers of Shia and Sunni Islam. See Peter Galbraith (2006), The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created A War Without End.
  • Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled. This confrontation is willed by God who wants this conflict to erase his people's enemies before a new age begins.
    • Former French president Jacques Chirac claimed in late 2009 that Bush made these statements to him at some point prior the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 while "appealing to him as a Christian" and attempting to convince him to have France join the invasion. The Independent, 2 January 2010
  • Haven't we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut's gonna do it again. Didn't we already, why are we doing it again?… shouldn't we be giving money to the middle?
  • Do you have blacks, too?
    • Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso claimed that Bush said this to him in a meeting in mid-2002. As quoted in Der Spiegel (3 August 2002).


Disputed[edit]

  • The problem with the French is that they don't have a word for "entrepreneur."
    • Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby, described this as a remark to Tony Blair in a discussion of the French economy during the G8 Summit, according to Jack Malvern (9 July 2002), "Bush and Blair, The Times. Alastair Campbell, Blair's director of communications, later said that Blair never heard Bush say this and never told Baroness Williams that he said it. See Lloyd Grove (2002-07-10) "The Reliable Source," Washington Post.
  • 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 clarified this with "We understood that he was illustrating [in his comments] his strong faith and his belief that this is what God wanted." [91], i.e. Shaath didn't take Bush's statement literally.
    • Denied by White House spokesperson Scott McClellan, October 6, 2005. Denied also by 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." [92].
  • Stop throwing the Constitution in my face.  It's just a goddamned piece of paper!
    • Remarks during an oval office meeting (November 2005), attributed in Doug Thompson, Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'", Capitol Hill Blue (9 December 2005).  Thompson has since retracted this claim, explaining:  "When some White House sources came to me with a story that claimed George W. Bush called the Constitution a 'god damned piece of paper, I believed it without question because of my personal prejudices against Bush.  I now believe I was wrong and that the incident never happened.  The story in our database was modified to reflect my belief that I was lied to about the statement and I was wrong to print it" ("Judge us now to see if we have learned from the past", Capitol Hill Blue (1 January 2011)).


Misattributed[edit]

  • 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.
  • Sometimes we must fight terror with tyranny.
    • This quote actually comes from Maureen Dowd's self-described "imaged text" for Bush's second inaugural revised speech titled "Bush's do-over speech", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (9 November 2007).

Quotes about Bush[edit]

Alphabetized by author
  • The truth is that Bush was never anything close to the ogre or the imbecile his most fevered detractors insisted he was. Read Days of Fire, the excellent and exhaustive book on Bush's presidency by Peter Baker, my former colleague at the New York Times. Bush comes off there as compassionate and well-intentioned; a man who came into office under-prepared and overly reliant on his wily vice president and who found his footing only after making some tragically bad decisions. Baker's Bush is a flawed character you find yourself rooting for, even as you wince at his judgment. But as is the way in modern Washington, it was never enough for Bush's political opponents that he was miscast or misguided. He had to be something worse than that — or, more precisely, a lot of things worse. He had to be the most catastrophic president ever, in the history of ever. He had to be a messianic war criminal. Or a corporate plant looking to trade blood for oil. Or a doofus barely able to construct a sentence. That was the way Will Ferrell portrayed Bush in a one-man Broadway show that, for a while after Bush's departure, thrilled the enlightened set. For a lot of urban Americans, the ones who bought little books of Bush's mangled syntax at the Barnes & Noble checkout line, Ferrell's comic version of Bush became more real than the man himself. You know something's wrong when the most nuanced portrayal of a political figure comes from Oliver Stone.
  • The increasing hostility of the Republicans to the Fed and to me personally troubled me, particularly since I had been appointed by a Republican president who had supported our actions during the crisis. I tried to listen carefully and accept thoughtful criticisms. But it seemed to me that the crisis had helped to radicalize large parts of the Republican Party.
  • [President George W. Bush] has a vision which can be described with two other words: Manichaean paranoia ... the notion that he is leading the forces of good against the empire of evil, that in that setting, the fact that we are morally superior justifies us committing immoral acts. And that is a very dangerous posture for the country that is the number one global power. ... The fact is he squandered our credibility, our legitimacy, and even respect for our power.
  • He does not believe that God told him to run for president. He does not believe that God told him he would win, and he certainly does not believe that God told him to drop bombs anywhere in the world.
    • Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, friend of Bush; quoted in Ann Rodgers (2004-09-11) "Pastor says Bush is no zealot." Pittsburg Post-Gazette
  • I love it when our president gets something right, because when he gets something right, he is the happiest man on Earth. He gets that little smile on his face, that 'I can't believe that came out correctly smile'.
  • He is a man who distrusts rhetoric and who is obviously not a great public speaker. As a friend of mine once said, watching Bush give a speech is like watching a drunk man cross an icy street. You really want him to get to the other side, but it's clear he won't be able to make it without a lot of stumbling.
  • Which United States president will go down in history as the greatest humanitarian to have served in the office? The Republican Herbert Hoover is often known as the 'Great Humanitatarian' for his work administering famine relief in post-World War I Europe, and Bolshevik Russia, in the 1920s, but he did all that before he actually became president. Others might make the case for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Democrat who succeeded Hoover in the White House, whose New Deal initiatives relieved poverty and sickness on a grand scale within the United States. But I'd suggest that there's one president whose contribution dwarfs all the others. Unlike Hoover, he launched his program while he was in office, and unlike FDR, he received virtually no votes in return, since most of the people who have benefited aren't U.S. citizens. In fact, there are very few Americans around who even associate him with his achievement. Who's this great humanitarian? The name might surprise you; it's George W. Bush.
  • I hate the way [President Bush] walks--shoulders flexed, elbows splayed out from his sides like a teenage boy feigning machismo.
  • You messed up with me, birdie. No? You don't know much about history. You don't know much about anything, you know? A great ignorance is what you've got. You are ignorant, Mr. Danger. You are an ignorant. You are a donkey, Mr. Danger ... By that I mean, you know, to say it with all its letters, to Mr. George W. Bush. You are a donkey, Mr. Bush. I'm going to tell you something, Mr. Danger. You are a coward, you know? You are a coward. Why don't you go to Iraq and command your army? It's so easy to command an army from afar. If you ever come up with the crazy idea of invading Venezuela, I'll be waiting for you in this savanna, Mr. Danger. Come on here, Mr. Danger. Come on here. Come on here, Mr. Danger. Coward, assassin, genocidal... Genocidal, you are a genocidal. You are an alcoholic, a drunk.. A drunk, Mr. Danger. You are immoral, Mr. Danger... You are the worst ever, Mr. Danger ... The worst of this planet, the very worst is called George W. Bush. God save the world from this menace. Because he is an assassin. A sick man, a psychologically ill man, I know it. Personally, he is a coward. But he has a lot of power. He has a lot of power. And look at what's happening in Iraq. Yesterday the world marched against the war... 70%, according to the surveys I've seen, of your own people, Mr. Danger, are against you, against the war. You are a liar, Mr. Danger. You are killing children, Mr. Danger, who aren't responsible for your illnesses, of your complexes. Your soldiers in Iraq are bombing cities. Just yesterday we were watching images of five children who were murdered by you soldiers. They're not the murderers. You are the murderer, coward!
  • El diablo está en casa. Ayer estuvo el diablo aquí, en este mismo lugar. Huele a azufre todavía.
    • The devil is at home. The devil was here yesterday, in this very place. It still smells like sulfur.
    • Hugo Chavez, addressing the United Nations General Assembly (20 September 2006)[94]
  • I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound — with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.
    • Stephen Colbert, White House Press Association Dinner (2006-04-29), quoted in New York Times (17 September 2006) "My Satirical Self" by Wyatt Mason
  • The greatest thing about this man is he's steady. You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday — no matter what happened Tuesday.
  • Winning the Nobel Prize does not automatically qualify you to be commander in chief. I think George Bush has proved definitively that to be president, you don’t need to care about science, literature or peace.
  • Bush's resurgence is in large part due to mounting opposition to the Obama’s presidency’s left-wing agenda, but it is also spurred by Obama’s image as an out of touch, aloof and elitist president, divorced from economic and political reality on the ground. A lot of Americans frankly miss the down-to-earth and significantly warmer leadership style promoted by President Bush, as well as his unfailing sense of optimism and heart-felt pride in America on the world stage. You certainly won’t ever find Bush apologizing for his country or extending the hand of friendship to her enemies.
  • President George W. Bush used to say, “Family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande and a hungry mother is going to try to feed her child.” When Hispanics heard that, they knew he cared and were willing to listen to his policies on education, jobs, spending, etc. Because his first sentence struck a chord, Hispanic Americans were willing to listen to his second sentence. We heard this from other demographic groups as well. President Bush got 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, a modern-day record for a Republican presidential candidate.
  • I did not expect to ever find much to admire about President George W. Bush. But as a Muslim who has come to work in America, I have recently had to revise my opinion... I never thought I'd say it, but now I long for the Republican Party of George W. Bush.
  • President Bush is smarter than almost every one of you. I am not kidding. You are quite an intelligent group. Don't take it personally, but President Bush is smarter than almost every one of you. Were he a student here today, he would consistently get 'HP' grades without having to work hard, and he'd get an 'H' in any class where he wanted to put in the effort. For more than six years it was my job to help educate President Bush about complex economic policy issues and to get decisions from him on impossibly hard policy choices. In meetings and in the briefing materials we gave him in advance we covered issues in far more depth than I have been discussing with you this quarter because we needed to do so for him to make decisions. President Bush is extremely smart by any traditional standard. He's highly analytical and was incredibly quick to be able to discern the core question he needed to answer. It was occasionally a little embarrassing when he would jump ahead of one of his Cabinet secretaries in a policy discussion and the adviser would struggle to catch up. He would sometimes force us to accelerate through policy presentations because he so quickly grasped what we were presenting. I use words like briefing and presentation to describe our policy meetings with him, but those are inaccurate. Every meeting was a dialogue, and you had to be ready at all times to be grilled by him and to defend both your analysis and your recommendation. That was scary.
  • We treat presidential speeches as if they are written by speechwriters, then handed to the President for delivery. If I could show you one experience from my time working for President Bush, it would be an editing session in the Oval with him and his speechwriters. You think that me cold-calling you is nerve-wracking? Try defending a sentence you inserted into a draft speech, with President Bush pouncing on the slightest weakness in your argument or your word choice. In addition to his analytical speed, what most impressed me were his memory and his substantive breadth. We would sometimes have to brief him on an issue that we had last discussed with him weeks or even months before. He would remember small facts and arguments from the prior briefing and get impatient with us when we were rehashing things we had told him long ago. And while my job involved juggling a lot of balls, I only had to worry about economic issues. In addition to all of those, at any given point in time he was making enormous decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan, on hunting al-Qaeda and keeping America safe. He was making choices not just on taxes and spending and trade and energy and climate and health care and agriculture and Social Security and Medicare, but also on education and immigration, on crime and justice issues, on environmental policy and social policy and politics. Being able to handle such substantive breadth and depth, on such huge decisions, in parallel, requires not just enormous strength of character but tremendous intellectual power. President Bush has both.
  • Economy is on the rise, kicking into overdrive / Angry liberals can't believe it's cause of W's policies / Unemployment's staying down, Democrats are wondering how / revenue is going up, can you say "tax cuts" / Bush was right! / Bush was right! / Bush was right!
  • He knows I have nothing, no mass weapons. He knows he'll never find them.
    • Saddam Hussein, remark to Pennsylvania National Guard Spc. Jesse Dawson quoted GQ (June 2005) "Tuesdays with Saddam" by Lisa DePaulo
  • That international criminal, I mean George Bush... If there is any justice in the world, undoubtedly, this man and his ilk, without a doubt, should be sentenced to 100 deaths. There is no doubt about it.
  • I said that a solution to the problems right now, I told Bush, is a Marshall Plan. He got angry. He said the Marshall Plan is a crazy idea of the Democrats. He said the best way to revitalize the economy is war and that the United States has grown stronger with war. … Those were his exact words. … The Democrats had been wrong. All of the economic growth of the United States has been encouraged by wars. He said it very clearly.
    • Argentinian President Néstor Kirchner in the film South of the Border, referring to a meeting in Monterrey, Mexico (January 2004).
  • Bush rose to some pretty big occasions; something that no American leader has quite lived up to since. But it was Bush's decency and insistence on preserving the compassionate side of conservatism that, I think, we are beginning to miss the most... Bush managed to win two elections. For all his flaws, he was classy and serious... I suspect that Bush, like Harry Truman, who also left office as a bit of a joke, will enjoy a bit of a grudging resurgence in popularity in years to come. Do we miss him yet? More and more each day.
  • George W. Bush has inadvertently destroyed only Baghdad, not Washington, and the costs of the Iraq War in blood and treasure are far less than those of Korea and Vietnam. Yet he will be remembered for the Iraq conflict for generations, long after tax-cut-driven deficits, No Child Left Behind and comprehensive immigration reform are forgotten. The fact that Bush followed the invasion of Afghanistan, which had sheltered al-Qaeda, with the toppling of Saddam Hussein, will puzzle historians for centuries. It is as though, after Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, FDR had asked Congress to declare war on Argentina.
  • George Bush is just about everything that is repellent in politics... You have got this super-patriotic hawk who was a coward when his country was actually involved in a war and has the most venal and corrupt administration since President Harding in the 20s. He is not a legitimate president. ... This really is a completely unsupportable government and I look forward to it being overthrown as much as I looked forward to Saddam Hussein being overthrown.
    • Ken Livingstone, remarks at public meeting criticizing George W. Bush (8 May 2003) , as quoted in "Mayor's Amazing Attack on Bush" by Ross Lydall in the Evening Standard (8 May 2003).
  • Some U.S. journalist came up to me and said: 'How can you say this about President Bush?' Well, I think what I said then was quite mild. I actually think that Bush is the greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen. The policies he is initiating will doom us to extinction.
    • Ken Livingstone, in "Livingstone says Bush is 'greatest threat to life on planet'" by Nigel Morris, in The Independent (18 November 2003), p. 5.
  • I heard Bush say, "You know, the truth is I honestly don't remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don't remember.' I remember thinking to myself, How can that be? How can someone simply not remember whether or not they used an illegal substance like cocaine? It didn't make a lot of sense.
    • Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, on the cocaine rumors that surfaced during the 2000 campaign, What Happened, pp. 48-49
  • As I have heard Bush say, only a wartime president is likely to achieve greatness, in part because the epochal upheavals of war provide the opportunity for transformative change of the kind Bush hoped to achieve. In Iraq, Bush saw his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness.
    • Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, on Bush's need to be a wartime president to improve the chance of a "great" legacy, What Happened, pp. 131
  • As a Texas loyalist who followed Bush to Washington with great hope and personal affection and as a proud member of his administration, I was all too ready to give him and his highly experienced foreign policy advisers the benefit of the doubt on Iraq. Unfortunately, subsequent events have showed that our willingness to trust the judgment of Bush and his team was misplaced.
    • Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, What Happened [95]
  • I do not believe that the President was in any way directly involved in the leaking of her identity, but that was a very disillusioning moment for me when I found out when it initially hit the press, and I was in North Carolina, if I remember correctly, and a reporter shouted out to the President, "Is it true that you authorized the secret leaking of this classified information?" We walked onto Air Force One, and the President asks, "What was the reporter asking?", and I said, "He asserted that you were the one who authorized Scooter Libby leaking this information," and he said, "Yeah, I did."
    • Bush press secretary Scott McClellan, on illegal leaking of counter-terrorist CIA agent identity; May 29, 2008; Countdown
  • This is the dysfunctions and motivations of the Bush administration laid bare.
    • U.S. Congressman Ed Markey, on former EPA advisor Jason Burnett's claim that the Bush administration ordered portions of Congressional testimony regarding the public health effects of global warming deleted.[96] [97]
  • In a 2003 poll, most Indonesians had a higher opinion of Osama bin Laden than they did of George W. Bush.
  • US President Bush is a great leader, great friend of Israel and a source of inspiration.
  • We praise President Bush for his strong record on civil rights enforcement, and for becoming the first president ever to ban racial profiling by the federal government.
  • Who will demand accountability for the failure of our national political leadership involved in the management of this war? They have unquestionably been derelict in the performance of their duty. In my profession, these types of leaders would immediately be relieved or court-martialed.
    • Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, 10-12-07, [99]
  • Everybody had thought that the chads were where all the bad ballots were, but it turned out that the ones that were the most decisive were write-in ballots where people would check Gore and write Gore in, and the machine kicked those out. There were 175,000 votes overall that were so-called “spoiled ballots.” About two-thirds of the spoiled ballots were over-votes; many or most of them would have been write-in over-votes, where people had punched and written in a candidate’s name. And nobody looked at this, not even the Florida Supreme Court in the last decision it made requiring a statewide recount. Nobody had thought about it except Judge Terry Lewis, who was overseeing the statewide recount when it was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court. The write-in over-votes have really not gotten much attention. Those votes are not ambiguous. When you see Gore picked and then Gore written in, there’s not a question in your mind who this person was voting for. When you go through those, they’re unambiguous: Bush got some of those votes, but they were overwhelmingly for Gore. For example, in an analysis of the 2.7 million votes that had been cast in Florida’s eight largest counties, The Washington Post found that Gore’s name was punched on 46,000 of the over-vote ballots it, while Bush’s name was marked on only 17,000...
  • Just another sarcastic preppy who gave people nicknames and arranged for keg deliveries. Even then he had clearly awesome social skills. He could also make you feel extremely uncomfortable … He was extremely skilled at controlling people and outcomes in that way. Little bits of perfectly placed humiliation.
  • This is the worst president ever. He is the worst president in all of American history.
    • Helen Thomas, as quoted in The Torrance Daily Breeze (19 January 2003).
  • Whether you love or loathe George W. Bush, you can not deny that he has learned how to read a teleprompter.
  • I would tell George Bush, in my moment of frustration, I didn't have the grounds to call him a racist. But I believe that in a situation of high emotion like that, we as human beings don't always choose the right words, and that's why I'm here.
  • I'm sorry, that was just my opinion. I'm a pop artist, so my medium is public opinion and the world is my canvas. I'm sorry is something you can use a lot. It gives you the opportunity to give your opinion, apologize for it and give your opinion again. People say you should not be sorry for your opinion. George Bush has some very cool self portraits. I didn't know he was an artist.
  • The collapse of the Bush presidency, in other words, is not just due to Bush's incompetence (although his administration has been incompetent beyond belief). Nor is it a response to the president's principled lack of intellectual curiosity and pitbull refusal to admit mistakes (although those character flaws are certainly real enough). And the orgy of bribery and special-interest dispensation in Congress is not the result of Tom DeLay's ruthlessness, as impressive a bully as he was. This conservative presidency and Congress imploded, not despite their conservatism, but because of it.

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