Whopper of the Week: George Bush.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Oct. 31 2003 6:11 PM

Whopper of the Week: G.W. Bush

The case of the "Mission Accomplished" banner.

"Q: Mr. President, if I may take you back to May 1st when you stood on theUSS Lincoln under a huge banner that said, "Mission Accomplished." At that time you declared major combat operations [in Iraq] were over, but since that time there have been over 1,000 wounded, many of them amputees who are recovering at Walter Reed [Army Hospital], 217 killed in action since that date. Will you acknowledge now that you were premature in making those remarks?

"A: Nora, I think you ought to look at my speech. I said, Iraq is a dangerous place and we've still got hard work to do; there's still more to be done. And we had just come off a very successful military operation. I was there to thank the troops.

"The 'Mission Accomplished' sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed somehow to some ingenious advance man from my staffthey weren't that ingenious, by the way[italics Chatterbox's]."

President Bush at his Oct. 28 press conference.

"It was the Navy, the people on board the ship who had the idea of this banner and made the suggestion, because they wanted to have a way to commemorate the fact that these sailors and the crew on board the ship had completed their mission, after a very lengthy deployment. … And they askedthey asked if we could help take care of the production of the banner. And we more than happy to do so [italics Chatterbox's]."

—Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan at his Oct. 29 press briefing.

Got a whopper? Send it to chatterbox@slate.com. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:
Oct. 17, 2003: Grady Little
Sept. 16, 2003: John Ashcroft
Sept. 5, 2003: Christy Whitman
Aug. 29, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld
Aug. 22, 2003: Arianna Huffington
Aug. 8, 2003: Howard Dean
July 25, 2003: Condoleezza Rice
July 18, 2003: President Bush
July 10, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld
June 27, 2003: Remembering Strom
June 20, 2003: Billy Bulger
May 30, 2003: Ari Fleischer
May 23, 2003: Donald Rumsfeld
May 19, 2003: Un-Whopper: Ari Fleischer Tells Truth!
May 2, 2003: Peggy Cooper Cafritz
April 17, 2003: Eason Jordan
March 7, 2003: John Kerry
Feb. 28, 2003: Ari Fleischer
Feb. 14, 2003: Bill O'Reilly
Feb. 7, 2003: Saddam Hussein
Jan. 31, 2003: Karl Rove
Jan. 23, 2003: Bill Frist
Jan. 17, 2003: Naji Sabri
Jan. 10, 2003: Rod Paige

(Click here  to access the Whopper Archive for 2002 and here  to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.