Talk:George H. W. Bush

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the George H. W. Bush page.

"Honest and approachable"[edit]

"George H.W. Bush is an honest and approachable man that the American people can relate to, he has made mistakes in his life like all good natured people."

A World Transformed quote[edit]

Quote removed:

"Trying to eliminate Saddam ... would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible ... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq ... there was no viable 'exit strategy' we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land." (1998)
Source: A World Transformed

See for the reason why: much of the context was removed, destroying the intent. I don't like Bush (either one) and I certainly don't like the war, but that doesn't mean we need to get nasty and quote out of context, or we're no better than they are. I'd replace it with the full quote, putting back in the stuff in ellipses, but I worry that somebody would just hack it back up again to try and make a point. - Furrykef 10:04, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC) The full quote as provided by the snopes link above: Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under the circumstances, there was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different— and perhaps barren— outcome.

I would place the full quote back where it was, but coming from the book A World Transformed which was a collaboration between George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft it is not at this point certain that it was a comment by Bush, though it seems to be, and I believe that I remember him making similar remarks in interviews. ~ Kalki 17:38, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Would it really hurt to actually put in a few quotes that sound normal or even good? Practically everything here is an example of something stupid or distasteful that he happened to say. This makes it seem like the authors of this page are very biased against Bush sr. — unsigned comment by on 10:01, 8 September 2006‎

Feel free to help by adding some quotable quotes that you don't find "stupid or distasteful". ~ Robin Lionheart (talk) 18:37, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

George H.W. Bush "Atheist" Remark[edit]

  • Reporter (Roger I. Sherman): Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?
    Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.
    • Campaign press conference at O'Hare Airport, Chicago (August 27, 1987); as quoted in "Can George Bush, with impunity, state that atheists should not be considered either citizens or patriots? The History of the Issue" by Madalyn O'Hair

This quote can not be sourced beyond a single reporter. The reporter himself (Robert Sherman) even admits on his website ( that there is no other record - audio, video, or from the memory of any other reporter at the press conference - that any such thing was ever actually said.

The Madalyn O'Hair quote listed in the body of the article is a blind link to a defunct website that only seems to be there for the purpose of being a "source" for this quote.

The fact that this quote is also the only bolded quote in this section of the leads me to believe that this is a politically motivated addition to the quotes.


Well, sort of. That Robert Sherman was at the conference is provable. And Sherman's website via your link does include a PDF from the Bush Presidential library containing quite a bit of mail correspondence about this. Some of the letters sent specifically include the quote, but in the responses from the White House that Bush said made such a hateful remark is never denied. If someone demands you apologize for your statement that 30 million Americans should be stripped of their citizenship and you never actually said such a thing, wouldn't your first priority be to correct the misunderstanding? Not to, as they did, use a whole lot of meaningless weasel answers to vaguely affirm that you'll consider treating atheists like actual American citizens? In fact, at some point during the exchange the staffers in the WH decided just to brush the whole thing under the rug (as the remarks would be "not too easy to defend") and ignore the issue from that point on. This is not the behavior of someone committed to freedom of religion and separation of church & state. Dyolf Knip 19:21, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

I've restored the "atheists not citizens" quote, placing it into the "Attributed" section because it is infamous but elusive; i.e., well-known and sourceable, but not independently so. When we have a quote like this, it's important to cite it with the best available evidence, which should itself demonstrate why we don't consider it properly sourceable.
In this case, I've given the PDF document (of a voluminous Bush Library fax) that Robert Sherman includes on his advocacy website as a provisional source. My quick review did not show any actual proof that Bush made the statement, contrary to the implications of Sherman's site and correspondence. It seems that Bush and his representatives, while reaffirming a stance unfavorable to atheism, avoided confirming or denying the actual publicized statement. With this "he said/he won't say" situation and no independent sourcing, I don't see that this quote will ever be more than "attributed". ~ Jeff Q (talk) 01:43, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
There were other reporters present at this press conference, yet I can find no report of any one of them contradicting Sherman's account of what was said.--Kenneth Cooke 12:52, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
There were other reporters present at this press conference, yet I can find no report of any one of them confirming Sherman's account of what was said. --Dual Freq 23:59, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

The fact that the President or his advisers decided not to deny this quote is relevant evidence when deciding the likelihood that it was said. This was not "faxed correspondence with the Presidential Library" as Dual Freq writes. These are official copies of official white house documents which were faxed to Sherman by the library archivist. They include documents generated by White House staff and presidential advisers as well as copies of letters sent by US citizens to their president and his advisers. The letters from the public make it clear to the President and his staff that there were many citizens who were under the impression that this quote was made by the President. The memos from White House staff make it equally clear that the President was well aware that some citizens believed that he had said this, and felt offended, and furthermore that the President was in no hurry to correct this impression.--Kenneth Cooke 01:27, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

There are many reasons why a politician may be "in no hurry" to correct an erroneous or inaccurate impression by a vocal minority of the population. Speaking as one of the minority who would find such a quote monumentally reprehensible, I must nevertheless point out that Wikiquote is not in the business of interpreting motivations, only listing specific reliable sources. Sherman doesn't strike me as a particularly reliable source by Wikimedia standards (having an axe to grind and not being backed up by any other reliable source). But since this quote is so widely distributed, we need to include it here with what evidence is available. It would be good to add as a sub-bullet a specific, dated, sourced quote from Bush or one of his lieutenants (like Gray) that refutes it or otherwise responds directly to the controversy, one which adequately balances the claims being made about this attributed/disputed quote. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 06:20, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Done.--Kenneth Cooke 14:09, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

You can't put this in the Disputed section because you as an editor dispute it, or by arguing that someone else should have disputed it. You have to show that someone has disputed it on behalf of the speaker. I don't know why anyone would dispute it anyway. It's typical of Bush's speech patterns and not an unreasonable thing for someone of his generation to say. If a remark is not consistent with your own assumptions about the man, that is not a reason to mark it "disputed." BTW, I don't really find it plausible that Sherman would send a series of whining letters over an in-person remark that never actually happened. w:User:WillOakland 00:49, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

The RIDICULOUS disputes over this ridiculous remark have continued to this point in a very ridiculous fashion. I have just restored it to the disputed section, having countered the attempts of zealots from opposite poles of the sphere of stupidity from either removing it entirely or treating it as absolutely beyond dispute. Though I, for one, do not think it very likely that this remark is a complete fabrication, there remains much room for reasonable doubt as to its accuracy, and as there are apparently no recordings of the incident, the disputes are never likely to be settled absolutely one way or another, and thus the quote should remain in the Disputed section. ~ Kalki 00:55, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

"considered patriots" vs "regarded as patriotic"[edit]

Using "regarded as patriotic" because Sherman's account on his website has used that wording since 2002, but the earliest print citations I've found use "considered patriots":

The alt.atheists FAQ also incompletely sources it to the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper (27 Feb 1989).

Does anyone have a pre-2002 citation for "regarded as patriotic"? ~ Robin Lionheart (talk) 21:00, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Rob Sherman just replied to my e-mail asking about this discrepancy:

From: Rob Sherman
To: Robin Lionheart
Date: Thu, May 17, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Subject: Re: “considered patriots”/“regarded as patriotic”
The first that I wrote about it was on my own web site, in the stories that I sent you. I provided an oral report to American Atheists, but I was not a writer for them at any time. However, I have spoken countless times about the exchange, on a regular basis, since the time that it occurred.
I have thought long and hard, today, about your question about "regarded" or "considered." I'm sure he said, "regarded."
One other thing that many other media reports have said that is not accurate: Many reports say that the exchanged happened on August 27, 1988, but it was actually on August 27, 1987. That part is indisputable, in that the exchange was in relation to his having just announced his candidacy for President. The political conventions and the election took place in 1988 so, by 1988, Bush would have been a long way down the road from having just announced his candidacy for the nomination.

~ Robin Lionheart (talk) 04:39, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

The citation referencing Robert Sherman's personal website should not be used. The other citation listed is quite sufficient. Additional, the article should indicate that Sherman is an political activist. 14:23, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

I have no significant objections to the journalist being labeled an activist by activists — I do have objections to efforts to CENSOR out the source, or links to his remarks or his side of the story. As I have pointed out in the past, in regards to MUCH asininity on either side of this dispute — some who do not wish it labeled "Disputed" and others who don't wish it to be cited at all — the quote is NOTABLE and the LINKS to the sources available SHOULD be provided, and the quote SHOULD be labelled "Disputed." Efforts to remove the "Disputed" seem to have worked during a lack of attention on the part of some here — but I hold that the efforts to remove valid links to the source are even more contemptible. ~ Kalki·· 14:37, 4 April 2014 (UTC) + tweaks
Though it's not a big deal to me, my understanding is that "Disputed" was disputed because readers could get a false impression that anyone connected to Bush disputes it. (Bush and his people never have.) So "Attributed" split the difference, implying neither that it's unquestioned, nor that anyone is gainsaying Sherman's account. Seemed like a good compromise to me. ~ Robin Lionheart (talk) 07:53, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
"Attributed" makes sense to me. I have thus far read not one rebuttal to w:User:WillOakland excellent comment of 00:49, 12 April 2009 (UTC) that to list something as disputed on Wikipedia, you need to list a published source that does dispute it - you can't just dispute it yourself as an editor.TheCormac (talk) 00:32, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

I will never apologize for the United States, ever. I don't care what the facts are[edit]

This is obviously a hoax that either originated here or was brought here. If this statement was made there is no doubt that some media outlet would have reported it. Supposedly, Newsweek ran with the story in 1988, so without visiting a library in person it's impossible to verify with the original source. However, a quote like this would certainly have been picked up by secondary sources very quickly - sources which have been archived via Google's news archive. Several of the sources given, "" and "" can hardly be considered as authoritative. The quote from a reporter on CNN, Bruce Morton, just mentioned the quote in passing and may very well have simply heard the quote from somewhere, very possibly Wikipedia, and repeated it without further research.

Until we can get verification of this quote from some media outlet around the time of the alleged statement, I think we should be very cautious with accepting this quote as accurate. Lottering 10:51, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Isn't this enough?
This is hardly a hoax. There were many reports upon it on television at the time it was made that I personally clearly remember. Googles News "archives" of articles are hardly maintained for a week on many articles, let alone for articles published before the World Wide Web even existed, and Newsweeks archives of its issues only go back to 1993. The article cited is from 1988. ~ Kalki 10:51, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
If there were many reports then why is there no mention of it on NexisLexus or Google News Archives?. Surely if I could find a news story of my father's arrest for DUI in 1986 in a small town newspaper via both Nexis Lexus AND Google News then such an explosive newsworthy quote would also be reported? Also, the Google News archives are not simply archives of what was reported on the WWW, it goes several hundred years back from actual scans of actual news print. Lottering 11:06, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
One other question: If I actually go to the library and look up the Newsweek article in question and find there is no quote to support this claim, will you allow the quote to be removed from here or would you simply keep it and remove mention of Newsweek being a source? Lottering 11:16, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

My interest in retaining the quote is motivated by a clear rememberance of it at the time, and I have no doubt of it being genuine. It could be slightly misquoted, as there are a few very minor variants to its phrasing that exist. Further confirmation and accuracy is welcome, and I have added citations of two more published sources other than "Perspectives" in Newsweek (15 August 1988) p. 15:

The 267 Stupidest Things Democrats/Republicans Ever Said (2000) by Ted Rueter
"Rally Round the Flag, Boys" by Michael Kingsley in TIME magazine. As an indication of errors and omissions that can occur in any electronic (or printed) archives, this article is clearly misdated, and is plainly a contemporary account of the 1988 Presidential campaign, though it is currently dated as having been published in 2001. Hopefully this will soon be corrected, as I have just sent a memo to the TIME archives site about the current error. ~ Kalki 12:20, 16 April 2007 (UTC
Okay, you seem to be right. While the quote given is not 100 percent I have found matches what come to the same meaning doing google news searches in 1988-1989. Even the different news agencies at the time gave slightly different quotes. I now believe there is no reason to doubt the 1988 Newsweek article so I'll back off! Lottering 13:07, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Your most recent post got me wondering how you confirmed this, as I previously had thought your mention of the Google News "archive" was of the articles linked to in their long established "News" option; and I only just now realized it was actually a newer option that you were referring to: the News Archive search. This should be a helpful resource for further searches, and a very good thing to be aware of for improving our accuracy: I see that there are citations for the remark in The New York Times and other newspapers as well, and indications that he said the core remark on more than one occasion, which also confirms my own memory of things. Thanks for alerting me to this new function at Google. ~ Kalki 13:57, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I see there are more recent updates on the main George H.W. Bush WikiQuote page, but I'm adding this information here since this page still seems to rank high in the search engine results:
Please see "Bush Ethnic Coalition Speech" (2 August 1988) National Press Club, Washington, D.C., - Recorded for C-SPAN's "Road to the White House" coverage. [Note that the C-SPAN post is dated 2 August 1988, but the video timestamp is 5 August 1988]. The cited line discussed above can be heard in Bush's remarks to members of The Coalition of American Nationalities:
"I will never apologize for the United States of America – ever - I don’t care what the facts are. I will lead her. I will do my level best to stand up for freedom and democracy around the world by keeping the United States of America strong, and by keeping our eyes wide open. If we welcome change in the world, by keeping our eyes wide open. [sic]"
---Link to full C-SPAN video [Bush's remarks begin at roughly 35:20 minutes, cited phrase (with context) at 42:21]:
---Link to brief YouTube video excerpt: ~User: RWrite 11 July 2016

Since we now can see exactly what he said, in the C-SPAN video, I made these changes. First, I linked to the video as the main citation. Second, I merged two "variants" of the quote, since they were cited to the same occasion and we know what wording he used. Third, I edited the description to make clear that the connection to the Flight 655 was made by Newsweek and Times, and that Bush didn't mention the shoot-down in the speech itself. Vilhelm.s (talk) 20:50, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

New World Order Quote[edit]

"We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a 'new world order'. A world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful, and we will be, we have a real chance at this 'new world order', an order in which a credible United Nations can use it's peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the U.N.s' founders." I don't know when he said that and I don't know what speech but I know he said it.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Coyote sprit (talkcontribs) 19:24, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I love how the NWO conspiracy video makers edit the original video adding dramatic music and zoom in on Bush's head for an extreme close up. is another example of this type of video editing. Audio is so unsynced in the youtube video that it could be dubbed, but I added a NYT ref for the quote in question. That video also incorrectly captions the joint session speech with the "fifth objective" line as September 11, 1991. NYT printed a transcript September 12, 1990 of the Joint session of Congress speech, 9/11/1990. I guess it sells more videos to change it to 1991. --Dual Freq 16:05, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

So it was exactly 11 year before 9/11, interesting. And he talks about this new world order and says its a very old plan, 100 generations. They sure are planning ahead then. If he says so, I belief him.

Why is this page not protected and Barack Obama's is?[edit]

This is an example of intellectual dishonesty. Most of these quotes would not pass muster, according to the decision to leave out Barack Obama's Special Olympic quote by one of the editors of the Barack Obama page:

How about you give a reason why that quote shouldnt be included on this page. The fact that it is not flattering to President Obama is not sufficient to exclude it. --Henrybaker 06:43, 22 March 2009 (UTC) If it was flattering to Obama, it still wouldn't merit inclusion in my opinion. If Obama went on the Tonight Show and recited his grocery list, some people would find things there to praise and others to criticize, but it wouldn't be quoteworthy. Wikiquote:Quotability sets forth a number of factors to be weighed in determining whether either deserves a place in this compendium. These include: Is the quote itself particularly witty, pithy, wise, eloquent, or poignant? Is the author of the quote notable? If so, are they very notable, moderately notable, barely notable? Are they notable as a source of quotes (i.e., as a poet, pundit, or Yogi Berra)? Is the quote itself independently well known (as with proverbs and certain well-reported comments)? Is the subject of the quote a notable subject? Is it about a broad theme of the human experience such as Love, Justice, or Loneliness? Or is it about a narrow or mundane topic, like porcupines, lunch meat, or that new car smell? If the quote is about another person, is that other person highly notable? Has the quote stood the test of time? Is the quote verifiably sourced? The quote at issue here fails the first, fourth, and fifth factors utterly. Certainly it is not inherently memorable if considered apart from the author. The topic is bowling, which is mundane (or, arguably, the Special Olympics, which is a narrow topic). Per the Quotability guidelines, "any quote made within the past ten years will be scrutinized under the presumption that it is not inherently quotable". If we include everything said by a notable person simply because that person is notable, then we would for example transcribe every word of Shakespeare's plays, duplicating the function of Wikisource while drowning truly poignant comments and notable observations in a sea of chaff. I note that we include Obama's heavily criticized "they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion" remark, which is far more unflattering to Obama than the bowling comment, but which is also (unlike the bowling comment) relevant to his role in society, as a policymaker explicitly addressing things such as guns and religion. BD2412 T 07:16, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

If that page is protected, then so should this one. If the quotes (gaffes) over there are not considered worthy of Wikiquote, then why are these? Eschudy

Many forms of conscious and unconcious dishonesty and hypocrisy abound among many people, but to target the fact that this page is not currently protected as somehow an example of that seems more than a little extreme. Pages are protected according to the level of vandalism which tends to be occurring on them. Obama as current president, currently is a subject of massive attention and the page is likely to be a target of much vandalism.
You specify one quote which was not included after it's removal from Obama's page. Frankly it seems to have been a quote most people were not all that interested in discussing or including. Personally, I have no strong objections to the quote in question either being included or removed, for even though it is not one I find particularly notable, obviously many others seem to think it was. I am not interested in having anyone on any of these pages being presented in entirely flattering or entirely damning ways, but neither is it anyone's obligation here to be more interested or involved in any particular page or issue than they choose to be. The omission of that quote simply seems to be a case of no one objecting strongly enough to a short list of rationale for it being removed (which I, being a bit more "inclusionist" than some, would personally say is somewhat flawed, no matter how earnest and well motivated).
In regard to semi-protecting this page: I have no strong objections to it, but perceive no strong need for it at this point. Vandalism of both the Bush pages certainly has substantially subsided since the younger Bush left office. ~ Kalki 07:17, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Noting the argument for protection of this page, and recent activity upon it, I have now semi-protected this page for a period of one month. ~ Kalki 06:55, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Quote served up by Google[edit]

I happened to do a search for 41, and Google's summary box in the righthand column highlighted this quote:

I have opinions of my own, strong opinions, but I don't always agree with them.

A quick search turns up mentions at the usual bogus quotation sites, but no valid references. Has this one come up before?--NapoliRoma (talk) 22:56, 11 June 2017 (UTC)