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 12)

GOV. BUSH: Because the picture on the newspaper. It just seems so un-American to me, the picture of the guy storming the house with a scared little boy there. I talked to my little brother, Jeb—I haven't told this to many people. But he's the governor of—I shouldn't call him my little brother--my brother, Jeb, the great governor of Texas.

JIM LEHRER: Florida.

GOV. BUSH: Florida. The state of the Florida.—The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, April 27, 2000

"I hope we get to the bottom of the answer. It's what I'm interested to know."—On what happened in negotiations between the Justice Department and Elián González's Miami relatives, as quoted by the Associated Press, April 26, 2000 (Thanks to Saul Selzer.)

"Laura and I really don't realize how bright our children is sometimes until we get an objective analysis."—CNBC, April 15, 2000

"You subscribe politics to it. I subscribe freedom to it."—Responding to a question about whether he and Al Gore were making the Elián González case a political issue. In Palm Beach, Fla., as quoted by the Associated Press, April 6, 2000 (Thanks to Helen Kennedy.)

"I was raised in the West. The wesv of Texas. It's pretty close to California. In more ways than Washington, D.C., is close to California."—In Los Angeles as quoted by the Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2000

"Reading is the basics for all learning."—Announcing his "Reading First" initiative in Reston, Va., March 28, 2000 (Thanks to Carl LaRocca.)

"We want our teachers to be trained so they can meet the obligations, their obligations as teachers. We want them to know how to teach the science of reading. In order to make sure there's not this kind of federal—federal cufflink."—At Fritsche Middle School, Milwaukee, March 30, 2000

"Other Republican candidates may retort to personal attacks and negative ads."—Fund-raising letter from George W. Bush, quoted in the Washington Post, March 24, 2000

"I've got a reason for running. I talk about a larger goal, which is to call upon the best of America. It's part of the renewal. It's reform and renewal. Part of the renewal is a set of high standards and to remind people that the greatness of America really does depend on neighbors helping neighbors and children finding mentors. I worry. I'm very worried about, you know, the kid who just wonders whether America is meant for him. I really worry about that. And uh, so, I'm running for a reason. I'm answering this question here and the answer is, you cannot lead America to a positive tomorrow with revenge on one's mind. Revenge is so incredibly negative. And so to answer your question, I'm going to win because people sense my heart, know my sense of optimism and know where I want to lead the country. And I tease people by saying, 'A leader, you can't say, follow me the world is going to be worse.' I'm an optimistic person. I'm an inherently content person. I've got a great sense of where I want to lead and I'm comfortable with why I'm running. And, you know, the call on that speech was, beware. This is going to be a tough campaign."—Interview with the Washington Post, March 23, 2000

"People make suggestions on what to say all the time. I'll give you an example; I don't read what's handed to me. People say, 'Here, here's your speech, or here's an idea for a speech.' They're changed. Trust me."—Interview with the New York Times, March 15, 2000

"It's evolutionary, going from governor to president, and this is a significant step, to be able to vote for yourself on the ballot, and I'll be able to do so next fall, I hope."—In an interview with the Associated Press, March 8, 2000 (Thanks to Joshua Micah Marshall.)

"It is not Reaganesque to support a tax plan that is Clinton in nature.''—Los Angeles, Feb. 23, 2000

"I don't have to accept their tenants. I was trying to convince those college students to accept my tenants. And I reject any labeling me because I happened to go to the university."—Today, Feb. 23, 2000

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"I understand small business growth. I was one."—New York Daily News, Feb. 19, 2000

"The senator has got to understand if he's going to have—he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road."—To reporters in Florence, S.C., Feb. 17, 2000

"Really proud of it. A great campaign. And I'm really pleased with the organization and the thousands of South Carolinians that worked on my behalf. And I'm very gracious and humbled."—To Cokie Roberts, This Week, Feb. 20, 2000

"I don't want to win? If that were the case why the heck am I on the bus 16 hours a day, shaking thousands of hands, giving hundreds of speeches, getting pillared in the press and cartoons and still staying on message to win?"—Newsweek, Feb. 28, 2000

"I thought how proud I am to be standing up beside my dad. Never did it occur to me that he would become the gist for cartoonists."—ibid.

"If you're sick and tired of the politics of cynicism and polls and principles, come and join this campaign."—Hilton Head, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

"How do you know if you don't measure if you have a system that simply suckles kids through?"—Explaining the need for educational accountability in Beaufort, S.C., Feb. 16, 2000

"We ought to make the pie higher."—South Carolina Republican Debate, Feb. 15, 2000

"I do not agree with this notion that somehow if I go to try to attract votes and to lead people toward a better tomorrow somehow I get subscribed to some—some doctrine gets subscribed to me."—Meet The Press, Feb. 13, 2000

"I've changed my style somewhat, as you know. I'm less—I pontificate less, although it may be hard to tell it from this show. And I'm more interacting with people."—ibid

"I think we need not only to eliminate the tollbooth to the middle class, I think we should knock down the tollbooth."—Nashua, N.H., as quoted by Gail Collins in the New York Times, Feb. 1, 2000

"The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case."—Pella, Iowa, as quoted by the San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 30, 2000

"Will the highways on the Internet become more few?"—Concord, N.H., Jan. 29, 2000

"This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve."—Speaking during "Perseverance Month" at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua, N.H. As quoted in the Los Angeles Times, Jan. 28, 2000

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."—Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

"What I am against is quotas. I am against hard quotas, quotas they basically delineate based upon whatever. However they delineate, quotas, I think vulcanize society. So I don't know how that fits into what everybody else is saying, their relative positions, but that's my position.''—Quoted by Molly Ivins, the San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 21, 2000 (Thanks to Toni L. Gould.)

"When I was coming up, it was a dangerous world, and you knew exactly who they were," he said. "It was us vs. them, and it was clear who them was. Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there."—Iowa Western Community College, Jan 21, 2000

"The administration I'll bring is a group of men and women who are focused on what's best for America, honest men and women, decent men and women, women who will see service to our country as a great privilege and who will not stain the house."—Des Moines Register debate, Iowa, Jan. 15, 2000

"This is still a dangerous world.  It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mential losses."—At a South Carolina oyster roast, as quoted in the Financial Times, Jan. 14, 2000

"We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself."—ibid.

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

"Gov. Bush will not stand for the subsidation of failure."—ibid.

"There needs to be debates, like we're going through. There needs to be town-hall meetings. There needs to be travel. This is a huge country."—Larry King Live, Dec. 16, 1999

"I read the newspaper."—In answer to a question about his reading habits, New Hampshire Republican Debate, Dec. 2, 1999

"I think it's important for those of us in a position of responsibility to be firm in sharing our experiences, to understand that the babies out of wedlock is a very difficult chore for mom and baby alike. ... I believe we ought to say there is a different alternative than the culture that is proposed by people like Miss Wolf in society. ... And, you know, hopefully, condoms will work, but it hasn't worked."—Meet the Press, Nov. 21, 1999

"The students at Yale came from all different backgrounds and all parts of the country. Within months, I knew many of them."—From A Charge To Keep, by George W. Bush, published November 1999

"It is incredibly presumptive for somebody who has not yet earned his party's nomination to start speculating about vice presidents."—Keene, N.H., Oct. 22, 1999, quoted in the New Republic, Nov. 15, 1999

"The important question is, How many hands have I shaked?"—Answering a question about why he hasn't spent more time in New Hampshire, in the New York Times, Oct. 23, 1999

"I don't remember debates. I don't think we spent a lot of time debating it. Maybe we did, but I don't remember."—On discussions of the Vietnam War when he was an undergraduate at Yale, Washington Post, July 27, 1999

"The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned first-hand from your foreign minister, who came to Texas."—To a Slovak journalist as quoted by Knight Ridder News Service, June 22, 1999. Bush's meeting was with Janez Drnovsek, the prime minister of Slovenia.

"If the East Timorians decide to revolt, I'm sure I'll have a statement."—Quoted by Maureen Dowd in the New York Times, June 16, 1999

"Keep good relations with the Grecians."—Quoted in the Economist, June 12, 1999

"Kosovians can move back in."—CNN Inside Politics, April 9, 1999

"It was just inebriating what Midland was all about then."—From a 1994 interview, as quoted in First Son, by Bill Minutaglio

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