Thursday, August 31, 2006

in his own words

President Bush was interviewed down in New Orleans by Brian Williams for NBC’s 8/29 edition of the Nightly News (there is a summary and a video link here; the transcript comes from the “conservative” Media Research Center by way of the politically similar NewsBusters), and, well, I think I’ll just let the Boy King speak for himself:

Brian Williams: "President Bush was here today and again admitted that the government response fell short at all levels, in his words. He spoke at the city's oldest high school. He visited local music legend Fats Domino. He covered a lot of ground, and in the blazing mid-afternoon sun, he took time for a wide-ranging and exclusive conversation with us. And we started with the topic at hand: his handling of the disaster that started with the storm that came ashore here a year ago today."

Williams, to Bush: "You have apologized for the damage, but what about the damage to your presidency? And, Mr. President, here's what I mean. Most of the analysts call it your low point. A lot of Americans are always going to believe that that weekend, that week, you were watching something on television other than what they were seeing, and Professor Dyson from the University of Pennsylvania said on our broadcast last night it was because of your patrician upbringing, that it's a class issue."

George W. Bush: "Dyson doesn't know, I don't know Dyson, and Dyson doesn't know me, but I will tell you this, when it's all said and done, the people down here know that I stood in Jackson Square, and I said we're going to help you, and we delivered."

Williams: "When you take a tour of the world, a lot of Americans e-mail me with their fears that, you know, some days they wake up and it just feels to them like the end of the world is near, and you go from North Korea to Iran to Iraq to Afghanistan, and you look at how things have changed, how Americans are viewed overseas, if that is important to you, do you have any moments of doubt that we fought the wrong war, that there's something wrong with the perception of America overseas?"

Bush: "Well, those are two different questions. Did we fight the wrong war? And absolutely I have no doubt. The war came to our shores, remember that. We had a foreign policy that basically said let's hope calm works. And we were attacked."

Williams: "But those weren't Iraqis."

Bush: "No, they weren't, they weren't, no, I agree they weren't Iraqis, nor did I ever say that Iraq ordered that attack, but they are part of, Iraq is part of the struggle against the terrorists. Now, in terms of image, of course I worry about American image. We're great at TV, and yet we're getting crushed in the PR front."

Bush: "I personally do not believe Saddam Hussein picked up the phone and said to al-Qaeda, 'Attack America.'"

Williams: "The folks who say you should have asked for some sort of sacrifice from all of us after 9/11, do they have a case, looking back on it?"

Bush: "Americans are sacrificing. I mean, we are, we are, you know, we pay a lot of taxes. Americans sacrificed when they, you know, when the economy went in the tank. Americans sacrificed when, you know, air travel was disrupted. American taxpayers have paid a lot to help this nation recover. I think Americans have sacrificed."

To recap:

No connection between al Qaeda and Iraq.

US has a lousy image throughout the world—but it’s due to bad PR.

American sacrifice = disrupted air travel and paying a lot of taxes.

Not a patrician.

update: MSNBC has now posted a transcript, and Crooks and Liars has the video. Hat tip to Bob Cesca, who posts over at HufPo on Bush’s tone and body language.


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