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George W. Bush on Principles & Values

President of the United States, Former Republican Governor (TX)


Kerry introduced some 300 bills and he's passed five

BUSH: Kerry talked about the Medicare plan, has he been in the US Senate for 20 years? He has no record on reforming of health care. No record at all. He introduced some 300 bills and he's passed five. No record of leadership. I came to Washington to solve problems. I was deeply concerned about seniors having to choose between prescription drugs and food. And so I led. And in 2006, our seniors will get a prescription drug coverage in Medicare.

KERRY: Once again, Bush is misleading America. I've actually passed 56 individual bills that I've personally written and, in addition to that, and not always under my name, there are amendments on certain bills. But more importantly, with respect to the question of no record, I helped write- I did write, I was one of the original authors of the early childhood health care and the expansion of health care that we did in the middle of the 1990s. And I'm very proud of that. So Bush's wrong.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Iraqi war and tax cuts were not mistakes

Q: Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it.

BUSH: On the big questions, about whether or not we should have gone into Afghanistan, the big question about whether we should have removed somebody in Iraq, I'll stand by those decisions because I think they're right. When they ask about the mistakes, that's what they're talking about. They're trying to say, "Did you make a mistake going into Iraq?" And the answer is absolutely not. It's a right decision. On the tax cut, it's a big decision. I did the right decision. Our recession was one of the shallowest in modern history. I made some mistakes in appointing people, but I'm not going to name them. I don't want to hurt their feelings on national TV. But history will look back, and I'm fully prepared to accept any mistakes that history judges to my administration, because the president makes the decisions, the president has to take the responsibility.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO Oct 8, 2004

Free societies will be hopeful societies

Free societies in the Middle East will be hopeful societies, which no longer feed resentments and breed violence for export. Free governments in the Middle East will fight terrorists instead of harboring them, and that helps us keep the peace. So our mission in Afghanistan & Iraq is clear: We will help new leaders to train their armies, and move toward elections, and get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible. And then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech Sep 2, 2004

This young century will be liberty's century

We have reached a time for hope. This young century will be liberty's century. By promoting liberty abroad, we will build a safer world. By encouraging liberty at home, we will build a more hopeful America. Like generations before us, we have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom. This is the everlasting dream of America and, in this place, that dream is renewed. Now we go forward grateful for our freedom, faithful to our cause, and confident in the future of the greatest nation on earth
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech Sep 2, 2004

America will be more secure as freedom advances

I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. As the citizens of Afghanistan & Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend Israel. Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality & justice is coming. Young men will hear the message that national progress and dignity are found in liberty, not tyranny and terror. Reformers, and political prisoners, and exiles will hear the message that their dream of freedom cannot be denied forever. And as freedom advances heart by heart, and nation by nation America will be more secure and the world more peaceful. America has done this kind of work before and there have always been doubters. Fortunately, Truman knowing that a new democracy at the center of Europe would lead to stability and peace.
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech Sep 2, 2004

Screens all audiences to avoid hecklers

President Bush's team exerts close control over admission to his campaign events. Dissenters and would-be hecklers are turned away, campaign officials say. On several occasions in recent weeks, Democrats who have gotten in have been ejected because they wore pro-Kerry T-shirts.

The Bush campaign billed his visit to Beaverton as a chance for ordinary citizens to pose questions to the president. But this was no town hall appearance before a cross-section of citizens. Bush-Cheney re-election headquarters had instructed Oregon campaign officials to distribute tickets, so the school gymnasium was filled last Friday with 2,000 passionate Bush backers.

Kerry's more open approach carries political risks. Sometimes protesters show up and try to disrupt his appearances. Such dissent is never a problem for Bush. When the time came to "Ask President Bush" Friday, none of his 16 questioners challenged him on his policies. Several did not ask questions at all, but simply voiced support.

Source: Scott Lindlaw, Associated Press Aug 16, 2004

Comforted mother Barbara at age 7 when his sister died

Bush's sister Robin, then three, was diagnosed with leukemia. The local doctor said there was little hope. On Oct. 11, 1953, Robin died.

Bush's parents had not told him how serious her condition was. They were afraid he might tell her. When they drove to his school to tell him she had died, George, in the second grade, spotted them and thought he saw Robin. "I got to the car still thinking Robin was there," Bush said later, "but of course, she was not."

Barbara Bush said in her memoirs, "He asked a lot of questions and couldn't understand why we had known for a long time." George felt an obligation to comfort his mother, who leaned on her son for support while her husband traveled. He would joke and laugh and make her feel better. The loss gave him a sense of how fleeting and arbitrary life can be, contributing to his lighthearted approach. Bush was bothered by the fact that, outside their family, no one mentioned Robin and her death. As he would later in life, Bush liked to confront issues.

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p. 16-17 Aug 5, 2004

IQ of 120 puts him above 90% of the population

Bush's Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores were 566 for verbal and 640 for math. Because of an adjustment in the way the scores are reported, the total of 1,206 is equivalent to 1,280 today. [When the scores were published] the liberal elite made fun of Bush. Based on the scores, Bush's IQ would be more than 120, placing him in the top 10% of the population.

On paper, Richard Nixon was one of the smartest presidents, with an IQ of 143, yet he orchestrated the Watergate cover-up, leading to his resignation. Bush had little interest in learning for its own sake. He was goal oriented and prized actions over words. Only if learning helped him to make a decision was he interested. What he wanted, he would say in rare reflective moments, was to "get as much out of life as possible and to do as much as possible." When he retires someday to his ranch, he has said, "I want to turn to my wife and say, My dance card was full. I lived life to the fullest."

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p. 23-24 Aug 5, 2004

Member of secret society Skull and Bones & a fraternity guy

In his junior year at Yale, Bush was one of fifteen students inducted into Skull & Bones, a secret ritualistic society that his father and grandfather also had joined. Skull & Bones prided itself on selecting the best and brightest who would go on to be leaders in their fields and give back to their community and country.

In Skull & Bones' house were faded portraits of venerable Bonesmen-Rockefellers, Harrimans, Tafts, Whitneys, and Bushes-posing with skull and crossbones. Members called themselves "good men," a term Bush would use to describe people he trusted and admired.

Bush drank at fraternity parties and engaged in pranks. "George was a fraternity guy, but he wasn't Belushi in Animal House," recalled Calvin Hill, a DKE with Bush. He was a goodtime guy. But he wasn't the guy hugging the commode at the end of the day.

"I think he was far less wild than the media portrays it," his Skull and Bones friend Donald Etra said. "He drank but not to excess. I never saw any drugs."

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p. 24-26 Aug 5, 2004

Bush's smirk shows he's perturbed, not that he's arrogant

Bush had waged a highly disciplined campaign that focused on a few core issues. Yet in his three debates with Al Gore, Bush had come across to many as unprepared for the job. Occasionally, Bush made his trademark smirk, a gesture that many took as a sign of arrogance.

The entire performance was a manifestation of Bush's intense distaste for acting and pretense. When responding to loaded questions from reporters or an unfair charge by Gore, Bush's honesty impelled him to signal, if ever so subtly, what he really thought. The smirk was not a signal of arrogance but rather an effort to convey his true feelings: that he was participating in a charade. When emerging from sessions with political types, he would roll his eyes and grouse under his breath about the "B.S." meeting he had just had. In debates with Gore, he could not very well say, "That's B.S.," so he would smirk.

"He's a bad actor, a bad pretender," an aide said. "What you see is what you get.. A real actor would not show that."

Source: A Matter of Character, by Ronald Kessler, p. 75-76 Aug 5, 2004

Ad: Kerry missed votes in the Senate by campaigning

AD ANNOUNCER:˙Leadership means choosing priorities. While campaigning, John Kerry has missed over two thirds of all votes. Missed a vote to lower health-care costs by reducing frivolous lawsuits against doctors. Missed a vote to fund our troops in combat Yet, Kerry found time to vote against the Laci Peterson law that protects pregnant women from violence. Kerry has priorities. Are they yours?

ANALYSIS: This Bush campaign˙ad is literally accurate, but artfully worded to avoid tipping off viewers to the real controversy over the Peterson bill Kerry opposed-the legal right to abortion. And when the ad faults Kerry for missing a˙vote to fund our˙troops, it leaves out the fact that the bill passed˙both houses of Congress without a single vote against it. The ad is true enough when it says˙Kerry has missed the great majority of Senate votes while campaigning for President. But˙it˙twists the facts in its descriptions of the bills it cites˙to support its˙argument˙that Kerry's priorities are misplaced.˙

Source: Ad-Watch analysis by Fact Check.org Jul 12, 2004

John Dean: Bush impeachable if WMD info manipulated

George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney have created the most secretive presidency of my lifetime. Their secrecy is far worse than during Watergate, and it bodes even more serious consequences. Their secrecy is extreme-not merely unjustified and excessive but obsessive. It has created a White House that hide sits president's weaknesses as well as its vice president's strengths.

From time to time, I fired off flares, hoping to throw a bit of light-if not a warning-on where they were headed. I did so by raising these matters in my regular Find Law column. For one such column, in which I discussed the potential of impeachment if the Bush administration had intentionally manipulated government intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction an editor at Salon, which reprinted the column, used the title "Worse than Watergate"-drawing his own conclusion from the material. I could not deny that it describes perfectly what I have to say in more ways than I had anticipated.

Source: Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean, first chapter May 2, 2004

Bush elected as the un-Clinton

We call the 2000 election "the closest in history" only because Bush was declared the winner in the end. If the recount had gone the other way, Gore's margin over Bush would actually have been larger than Kennedy's over Nixon in 1960.

But the lines that divided the two groups [of voters] were not mainly lines of race, nor class, but of family status and religious observance. Bush's strongest supporters were the people most outraged by Clinton's misconduct. What they wanted most from him was simple: They wanted him not to be Clinton. They were pretty much indifferent to everything in his program except the promise to lay off the interns. That was not much of a mandate to govern.

Well, if the country wanted an un-Clinton administration, they had hired the right man. Was Clinton famously unpunctual? Bush was always on time. Were the Clintons morally slack? Bush opened every cabinet meeting with a prayer.

Source: The Right Man, by David Frum, p. 8-13 Jun 1, 2003

Our grandest ideal: no insignificant person was ever born

The peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings. As I begin, I thank President Clinton for his service to our nation. And I thank Vice President Gore for a contest conducted with spirit and ended with grace.

I am honored and humbled to stand here, where so many of America’s leaders have come before me, and so many will follow.

We have a place, all of us, in a long story, a story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It is the American story, a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals.

The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise: that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born. Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted, and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course.

Source: Inaugural speech Jan 20, 2001

Citizenship is as important as government

Sometimes in life we are called to do great things. But as a saint of our times has said, every day we are called to do small things with great love. The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone.

What you do is as important as anything government does. I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort, to defend needed reforms against easy attacks, to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens. Citizens, not spectators. Citizens, not subjects. Responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character.

Americans are generous and strong and decent, not because we believe in ourselves, but because we hold beliefs beyond ourselves. When this spirit of citizenship is missing, no government program can replace it. When this spirit is present, no wrong can stand against it.

Source: Inaugural speech Jan 20, 2001

Favorites: PB&J, tacos, Winston Churchill, kissing Laura

Source: Glen Johnson, Boston Globe, p. A8 Sep 27, 2000

No need to excuse Cheney from energy issues

George W. Bush said he saw nothing improper with the large retirement payment that Dick Cheney’s oil company voted. “I was aware that he was going to get a retirement package, like the standard practice for CEOs when they leave major companies. I’m going to take [Cheney’s] advice on how to make our country less dependent on foreign sources of crude oil. What I want him to do is not be owning oil stocks so he benefits from decisions we make in the administration.”
Source: Ronald Brownstein, LA Times Aug 13, 2000

Baseball is fun, politics is not

[I asked Bush,] Why’d he ever trade Sammy Sosa when he was managing partner of the Texas Rangers? Bush chuckled. He quickly named all the players involved, even though it was 11 years ago, [in a trade with] the Chicago White Sox.

“He’d just come up [to the big leagues] and gotten a quick look,” Bush recalled painfully. In 25 games, Sosa was batting a meager .238. Who could have predicted then that Sosa would become a superstar, slamming 66 homers for the Chicago Cubs in 1998 and dramatically dueling Mark McGwire for the all-time season home run record?

The team managers recommended the deal and he approved it, Bush remembered. “We were coming down the stretch, chasing Oakland. We were either going to kick in and stay or fade.” The Rangers faded. Oakland won the pennant and the World Series. “It just didn’t work out. Sosa just didn’t kick in.”

This is the fun stuff to talk about, I noted. “Politics is not, not fun,” Bush instantly replied.

Source: George Skelton, Los Angeles Times Jun 5, 2000

Priorities: Reaganesque tax cuts; education & health reform

Source: Television Commerical before CA & NY primaries Mar 2, 2000

Challenges the orthodoxy but is still a devout conservative

For as long as Bush has been describing himself as a “compassionate conservative,” people have wondered whether the phrase was a call for a flexible new ideology or an effort to put a friendlier face on an essentially unchanged philosophy. Bush’s public statements suggest a willingness to challenge some of the party’s assumptions about what it stands for. But Bush is by no means abandoning the basic conservative principles that have defined the party. Bush is clearly trying a delicate balancing act.
Source: New York Times, p. A1 Oct 8, 1999

Bush’s centrism: free trade; private IRAs; no new taxes

Bush is, broadly speaking, a centrist. Some important distinctions are that Bush believes in keeping government in check; Bush is an unabashed free trader; and Bush has pledged not to raise taxes. Bush may be willing to privatize Social Security by introducing individual retirement accounts but he may well succumb instead to an across-the-board tax cut.
Source: The Economist, p. 13 Jul 3, 1999

Government can create an environment for prosperity

Our country must be prosperous. But prosperity must have a purpose. The purpose of prosperity is to make sure the American dream touches every willing heart. The purpose of prosperity is to leave no one out. to leave no one behind.

Prosperity is not a given. Governments don’t create wealth. Wealth is created by Americans -- by creativity and enterprise and risk-taking. But government can create an environment where businesses and entrepreneurs and families can dream and flourish.

Source: Candidacy Announcement speech, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Jun 12, 1999

Match conservative minds with compassionate hearts

Bush argued Republicans can be conservative - cut taxes, trim welfare rolls, reduce crime, improve schools, demand and promote personal responsibility - without being mean about it. He pledged not to retreat from criticism. “Is compassion beneath us? Is mercy below us? Should our party be led by someone who boasts of a hard heart? I am proud to be a compassionate conservative. I welcome the label. And on this ground, I’ll take my stand. [We] must match a conservative mind with a compassionate heart.”
Source: CNNAllPolitics Jun 12, 1999


George W. Bush on Campaign Themes

Building a Safer, Stronger and Better America