The Complete Bushisms

The 43rd president's accidental wit and wisdom.
March 20 2009 3:48 PM

The Complete Bushisms

Updated frequently.

(Continued from Page 10)

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.''—Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001

"Home is important. It's important to have a home."—Crawford, Texas, Feb. 18, 2001

"One reason I like to highlight reading is, reading is the beginnings of the ability to be a good student. And if you can't read, it's going to be hard to realize dreams; it's going to be hard to go to college. So when your teachers say, read—you ought to listen to her."—Nalle Elementary School, Washington, D.C., Feb 9, 2001

"It's good to see so many friends here in the Rose Garden. This is our first event in this beautiful spot, and it's appropriate we talk about policy that will affect people's lives in a positive way in such a beautiful, beautiful part of our national—really, our national park system, my guess is you would want to call it."—Washington, D.C., Feb. 8, 2001

"We're concerned about AIDS inside our White House—make no mistake about it."—Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2001

"I appreciate that question because I, in the state of Texas, had heard a lot of discussion about a faith-based initiative eroding the important bridge between church and state."—Question and answer session with the press, Jan. 29, 2001 (Thanks to Tim Santry.)

"I confirmed to the prime minister that we appreciate our friendship."—After meeting with Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada, Feb. 5, 2001

"There's no such thing as legacies. At least, there is a legacy, but I'll never see it."—To Catholic leaders at the White House, Jan. 31, 2001

"I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2001

"My pro-life position is I believe there's life. It's not necessarily based in religion. I think there's a life there, therefore the notion of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness."—Quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 23, 2001

"Then I went for a run with the other dog and just walked. And I started thinking about a lot of things. I was able to—I can't remember what it was. Oh, the inaugural speech, started thinking through that."—Pre-inaugural interview with U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 22, 2001 issue

"Redefining the role of the United States from enablers to keep the peace to enablers to keep the peace from peacekeepers is going to be an assignment."—Interview with the New York Times, Jan. 14, 2001 (Thanks to Rachael Contorer.)

"The California crunch really is the result of not enough power-generating plants and then not enough power to power the power of generating plants."—Interview with the New York Times, Jan. 14, 2001

"I'm hopeful. I know there is a lot of ambition in Washington, obviously. But I hope the ambitious realize that they are more likely to succeed with success as opposed to failure."—Interview with the Associated Press, Jan. 18, 2001 (Thanks to M. Bateman.)

"If he's—the inference is that somehow he thinks slavery is a—is a noble institution I would—I would strongly reject that assumption—that John Ashcroft is a open-minded, inclusive person."—NBC Nightly NewsWith Tom Brokaw, Jan. 14, 2001

Advertisement

"She's just trying to make sure Anthony gets a good meal—Antonio."—On Laura Bush inviting Justice Antonin Scalia to dinner at the White House. NBC Nightly NewsWith Tom Brokaw, Jan. 14, 2001

"I want it to be said that the Bush administration was a results-oriented administration, because I believe the results of focusing our attention and energy on teaching children to read and having an education system that's responsive to the child and to the parents, as opposed to mired in a system that refuses to change, will make America what we want it to be—a literate country and a hopefuller country."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 11, 2001

"I would have to ask the questioner. I haven't had a chance to ask the questioners the question they've been questioning. On the other hand, I firmly believe she'll be a fine secretary of labor. And I've got confidence in Linda Chavez. She is a—she'll bring an interesting perspective to the Labor Department."—Austin, Texas, Jan. 8, 2001

"I do remain confident in Linda. She'll make a fine labor secretary. From what I've read in the press accounts, she's perfectly qualified."—Austin, Texas, Jan. 8, 2001

"I mean, these good folks are revolutionizing how businesses conduct their business. And, like them, I am very optimistic about our position in the world and about its influence on the United States. We're concerned about the short-term economic news, but long-term I'm optimistic. And so, I hope investors, you know—secondly, I hope investors hold investments for periods of time—that I've always found the best investments are those that you salt away based on economics."—Austin, Texas, Jan. 4, 2001

"The person who runs FEMA is someone who must have the trust of the president. Because the person who runs FEMA is the first voice, often times, of someone whose life has been turned upside down hears from."—Austin, Texas, Jan. 4, 2001

"She is a member of a labor union at one point."—Announcing his nomination of Linda Chavez as secretary of labor. Austin, Texas, Jan. 2, 2001

"Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods."—Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000

"I also have picked a secretary for Housing and Human Development. Mel Martinez from the state of Florida."—Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000

"Let me put it to you this way, I am not a revengeful person."— Interview with Time magazine in the Dec. 25, 2000, issue.

"I am mindful of the difference between the executive branch and the legislative branch. I assured all four of these leaders that I know the difference, and that difference is they pass the laws and I execute them."—Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2000

"The great thing about America is everybody should vote."—Austin, Texas, Dec. 8, 2000

"Dick Cheney and I do not want this nation to be in a recession. We want anybody who can find work to be able to find work."—60 Minutes II, Dec. 5, 2000

"I knew it might put him in an awkward position that we had a discussion before finality has finally happened in this presidential race."

—Describing a phone call to Sen. John Breaux. Crawford, Texas, Dec. 2, 2000

"As far as the legal hassling and wrangling and posturing in Florida, I would suggest you talk to our team in Florida led by Jim Baker."—Crawford, Texas, Nov. 30, 2000

"The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law."—Austin, Texas, Nov. 22, 2000

"They misunderestimated me."—Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

"Think about that. Two hundred and eighty-five new or expanded programs, $2 trillion more in new spending, and not one new bureaucrat to file out the forms or answer the phones?"—Minneapolis, Nov. 1, 2000

"They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program."—St. Charles, Mo., Nov. 2, 2000

"They said, 'You know, this issue doesn't seem to resignate with the people.' And I said, you know something? Whether it resignates or not doesn't matter to me, because I stand for doing what's the right thing, and what the right thing is hearing the voices of people who work."—Portland, Ore., Oct. 31, 2000

"Anyway, after we go out and work our hearts out, after you go out and help us turn out the vote, after we've convinced the good Americans to vote, and while they're at it, pull that old George W. lever, if I'm the one, when I put my hand on the Bible, when I put my hand on the Bible, that day when they swear us in, when I put my hand on the Bible, I will swear to not—to uphold the laws of the land."—Toledo, Ohio, Oct. 27, 2000

"It's your money. You paid for it."—LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

"That's a chapter, the last chapter of the 20th, 20th, the 21st century that most of us would rather forget. The last chapter of the 20th century. This is the first chapter of the 21st century. "—On the Lewinsky scandal, Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

"It's important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It's not only life of babies, but it's life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet."—Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000

"I don't want nations feeling like that they can bully ourselves and our allies. I want to have a ballistic defense system so that we can make the world more peaceful, and at the same time I want to reduce our own nuclear capacities to the level commiserate with keeping the peace."—Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 23, 2000

"Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."—LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

"If I'm the president, we're going to have emergency-room care, we're going to have gag orders."

"Drug therapies are replacing a lot of medicines as we used to know it."

"It's one thing about insurance, that's a Washington term."

"I think we ought to raise the age at which juveniles can have a gun."

"Mr. Vice President, in all due respect, it is—I'm not sure 80 percent of the people get the death tax. I know this: 100 percent will get it if I'm the president."

"Quotas are bad for America. It's not the way America is all about."

"If affirmative action means what I just described, what I'm for, then I'm for it."—St. Louis, Mo., October 18, 2000

"Our priorities is our faith."—Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000

"I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children."—Second presidential debate, Oct. 11, 2000 (Thanks to Leonard Williams.)

"It's going to require numerous IRA agents."—On Gore's tax plan, Greensboro, N.C., Oct. 10, 2000

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.