Bush's Rose Garden Press Conference

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Sep 15, 2006 10:59 AM

Update: Watch Gregory get smacked down. Highlights of the presser at Hot Air.

Bush is going to NY next week to address the UN General Assembly, which means he'll be in the same building with Ahmadenijad. He starts off with terrorist tribunal talk (highlights are in bold throughout):

"This week our nation paused to mark the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
It was a tough day for a lot of our citizens I was so honored to meet with family members and first responders...all who still had heaviness in their heart."

"They kept asking me, 'what do you think the level of determination in this coutnry for us to protect ourselves?'"

"I'm gonna go back to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly...I'm gonna talk to the leaders there about our obligation to fight for civilization [and provide an alternative of freedom to radical Muslim ideology]."

"We must also provide our military and intelligence professionals to protect our coutnry from another attack...And the reason they need those tools is because the enemy wants to attack us again."

"Every morning...I get briefed about the desire of an enemy to hurt America and it's a sobering experience...I wish that we're the case, but it is the case."

"There are two vital pieces of legislation in Congress now that I think are necessary to help win the War on Terror."


Objective: Allow us to use military commissions to try terrorists for war crimes

"Supreme Court said you must work with Congress. We're working with Congress."

"As soon as Congress acts on this bill, the men who our intelligence believes planned the 9/11 attacks, can face justice."

"We would also provide clear rules for our personnel involved in capturing...and questioning suspected terrorists."
He mispronounces Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, saying "Khalik." This is all the Left will talk about. Honoring the threat and all.

"By giving us information about terrorist plans we couldn't get anywhere else...this is vital."

"Unfortunately the recent Supreme Court decision put this program in danger."

"Clear program with clear guidelines based on the Detainee Treatment Act, which was strongly supported by Sen. John McCain."

"I have one test for this legislation...The intelligence community must be able to tell me that it will allow this vital program to continue. That's what I'm gonna ask."
Terrorist surveillance:

"When an al Qaeda operative is calling into the United States, or our of the country, we need to know."

"We'll work with Congress to get good bill out...to give our folks on the front line the tools they need."

"Congress needs to act wisely and promptly so I can sign good legislation."

Q: The Powell question

"It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the conduct of the USA and the action of Islamic extremists who kill women and children to achieve an objective."
Oooh, he's gettin' ill. I like the enunciation of "unacceptable."

"This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court ruling...that Common Article III says there will be no outrages upon human dignity. That's very vague. What does that mean?...What I'm proprosing is that there be clarity in the law, so our professionals have no doubt that what they're doing is legal."

"They expect our government to give them clarity about what is right and what is wrong in the law."

"These are decent citizens who don't want to break the law."

This is a powerful point, I think. Making sure everyone knows the interrogators aren't this monster caricature everyone's thinking of. They're people who are dedicated to protecting their fellow Americans. Opponents of their tactics shouldn't get away with implying that they're out to torture folks at every turn.

Q: Suzanne Malveaux: Will you meet with Ahmadenijad? Is this not an opportunity to show that you also respect the Iranian people's leader. Would this be an opportuntiy for a breakthrough on a personal level?

"No. I'm not gonna meet with him. I have made it clear to the Iranian regime that we will sit down with the Iranians when they verifiably suspend their enrichment programs and I meant it."
Nice answer.

Q: David Gregory gets tangled in his microphone cord. Asks some convoluted hypothetical about a rogue nation using their own definitions of the Geneva Convention, and how he'd react to that as Commander in Chief.

"We're trying to set high standards, not ambiguous standards."

"You cannot ask a young intelligence officer to violate the law. And, they're not going to."

"This program won't go forward if there's vague standards applied like those in Common Article III."

"The point I just made is the most important. David, you can give a hypothetical about North Korea or any other country, but the point is that the program is not going to go forward if our professionals do not have clarity in law. And the best way to provide clarity in law, is to make sure the Detainee Treatment Act is the crux of the law. That's how we define Common Article III, and it sets a good standard for the countries you just mentioned."
He kinda smacked David Gregory down there. "Next man, next man, David. It took you a long time to unravel and it took a long time to ask your question. Next man."

Q: Iraq violence:

"They also believe that the Baghdad security Plan is making progress."

"No question it's a dangerous place...It's a place from which [al Qaeda's] trying to fight."

"The unity government's intact. They're moving forward. They're making progress."

"But this is really the big challenge of the 21st Century."

"This is the ideological war of the 21st Century and I believe it."

"Imagine an enemy that can't stand what we believe in that gets their hands on oil supplies."

"I find it interesting that young democracies are being challenged by extremists."

"The idea of saying that this is not important to us is unacceptable to me."

"Of course it's tough in Iraq because an enemy is trying to stop this new democracy."

"The ideologues understand that liberty will trump their dark vision of the world every time."


Q: Relationship with UN?

"I'm frustrated with the United Nations on Darfur."
Runs through UN failures and shortcomings on Darfur.

"We've provided by far the vast majority of food and aid."

"I can understand the desperation people feel for these women being pulled out of these refugee centers and raped."

"I also think the United Nations can do a better job

"I hope the United Nations still strongly stands for liberty. I'm looking forward to goin' up there. It's always an interesting

"My belief that the civilized world must stand with reformist minded people."


Q: Polls show people are focused on economy. What happens to the economy if Dems take over?

"I believe if the Democrats had the capacity, they'd raise taxes on American working people. They'll call it a tax on the rich, but that's not how Washington works."

"Our strategy is to make the tax cuts permanent."

"I certainly hope this election's based on economic performance."
Q: Boehner's statement about Dems wanting to protect terrorists more than protecting the American people. Is that the right tone?

"I wouldn't have exactly put it that way, but I do believe there's a difference of attitude."

"I know he shares my concern that we pass good legislation."
Q: Thoughts on

"SHe was a really, really good candidate. She was a hard worker. She had the capacity to be humorous and yet make a profound point...One thing's for certain, she empowered a lot of people to participate in the political process."

"She really kinda helped define Texas politics in its best way...We've had characters, people larger than life, people who filled the stage...who would talk Texas and explain our state. She was really good at that."

Exchange with the NYT reporter. This is priceless.

Q: "Hello, Mr. President."

Bush: "Did you start with 'Hi, Mr. President?'"

Q: "Yes, 'Hello, Mr. President.'"

Bush: "That's always a friendly greeting."

Q: "Well, we're a friendly newspaper."

Bush: "Yeah. (pause) I'd just hate to see unfriendly."

Q: Why is it a bad idea to send Special Forces to Pakistan for bin Laden?

"First off, Pakistan is a sovereign nation."

"The best way to find someone who is hiding is to enhance your intelligence."

"It's convenient throw-away lines (that we've lost focus on bin Laden)...We have been on the hunt and we'll stay on the hunt until we bring him to justice."
Q: Third Awakening quote?

"I was asking their opinion about whether there was a Third Awakening."

"I was curious to know whether these smart people thought there were any historical parallels [between this and the Second Awakening]."

"It seems like to me that something is happening in the religious life of America, but then I'm not a very good focus group. I'm encapsulated here."