Bush speech Bush speech.

Bush speech Bush speech.

Bush speech Bush speech.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Oct. 28 2004 3:37 PM

Bush Speech Bush Speech

Popping a spring in Saginaw.

President Bush gave a speech today in Saginaw, Mich., in which, judging from the White House transcript, he repeated whole paragraphs twice, like a malfunctioning Stepford wife. Here's an example:

I've learned firsthand how hard it is to send young men and women into battle, even when the cause is right. I've been reminded that the world looks to America for leadership, and that it is crucial for an American President to be consistent. (Applause.)

(…)

I've learned firsthand how hard it is to send young men and women into battle, even when the cause is right. I've been reminded that the world looks to America for leadership, and that it is crucial for an American President to be consistent. (Applause.)

Here's another:

Perhaps most of all, I've learned the American President must make decisions on principle, core convictions from which you must not waver. The issues vary, the challenges are different every day. Tactics and strategy must be flexible. But a President's convictions must be steady and true. (Applause.)

(…)

Perhaps most of all, I've learned the American President must make decisions on principle, core convictions from which you must not waver. The issues vary. The challenges are different every day. Tactics and strategy must be flexible. But a President's convictions must be steady and true. (Applause.)

Advertisement

And another:

As Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan so clearly demonstrated, a President cannot blow in the wind. A President has to make tough decisions and stand by them. (Applause.)

(…)

As Presidents from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan so clearly demonstrated, a President cannot blow in the winds. A President has to make tough decisions and stand by them. (Applause.)

And another:

A President must follow themust not follow the path of the latest polls. (Applause.) A President must lead based on conviction and conscience. (Applause.) Especially in a time of war, mixed signals only confuse our friends, embolden our enemies. Mixed signals are the wrong signals for the American President to send. (Applause.)

(…)

A President must follow themust not follow the path of the latest polls. A President must lead based on conviction and conscience. Especially in a time of war, mixed signals only confuse our friends, embolden our enemies. Mixed signals are the wrong signals for the American President to send. (Applause.)

Advertisement

I'm told by a reporter who was there that this was some sort of hiccup in the White House transcription, and that Bush did not actually give lengthy portions of the same speech twice. The repetitions do not appear in the transcript prepared by the Federal News Service, a private company.

What I can't figure out, though, is why the botched White House transcript shows occasional slight differences in the first and second versions of the repeated text. "The issues vary, the challenges are different every day" becomes two (more grammatical) sentences on the second go-round: "The issues vary. The challenges are different every day." The phrase "blow in the wind" becomes "blow in the winds." The line, "A President must follow the—must not follow the path of the latest polls" gets applause the first time, and no applause when it's repeated. The same thing happens with "A President must lead based on conviction and conscience."

This isn't machine error. It's human error. Did a White House transcriber pop a spring?

[Update, 2 p.m.: The White House transcript is now cleaned up, with the repetitions removed.]