The 50 Dumbest Things George W. Bush Has Ever Said

Written by Daniel Kurtzman

The tragicomic presidency of George W. Bush, in his own words

50. “I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn’t here.” -at the President’s Economic Forum in Waco, Texas, Aug. 13, 2002

49. “We spent a lot of time talking about Africa, as we should. Africa is a nation that suffers from incredible disease.” -Gothenburg, Sweden, June 14, 2001

48. “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.” -Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001

47. “I am here to make an announcement that this Thursday, ticket counters and airplanes will fly out of Ronald Reagan Airport.” –Washington, D.C., Oct. 3, 2001

46. “Tribal sovereignty means that; it’s sovereign. I mean, you’re a — you’ve been given sovereignty, and you’re viewed as a sovereign entity. And therefore the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities.” –Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004 (Watch video clip)

45. “I couldn’t imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah.” –at a White House menorah lighting ceremony, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2001 (Listen to audio clip)

44. “You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.” –interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric, Sept. 6, 2006

43. “The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th.” –Washington, D.C., July 12, 2007

42. “I’m the commander — see, I don’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.” –as quoted in Bob Woodward’s Bush at War

41. “F*ck Saddam. We’re taking him out.” –to three U.S. senators in March 2002, one year before the Iraq invasion, as quoted by Time magazine

40. “Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties.” –discussing the Iraq war with Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson in 2003, as quoted by Robertson

39. “I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me.” –talking to key Republicans about Iraq, as quoted by Bob Woodward

38. “I hear there’s rumors on the Internets that we’re going to have a draft.” –presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004 (Watch video clip)

37. “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.” –Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000 (Listen to audio clip)

36. “Do you have blacks, too?” –to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

35. “This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating.” –as quoted by the New York Daily News, April 23, 2002

34. “We need an energy bill that encourages consumption.” –Trenton, N.J., Sept. 23, 2002

33. “My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we’re going to run out of debt to retire.” –radio address, Feb. 24, 2001

32. “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” –on “Good Morning America,” Sept. 1, 2005, six days after repeated warnings from experts about the scope of damage expected from Hurricane Katrina

31. “I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound largemouth bass in my lake.” –on his best moment in office, interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, May 7, 2006

30. “They misunderestimated me.” –Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

29. “Because the — all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There’s a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those — changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be — or closer delivered to what has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It’s kind of muddled.” –explaining his plan to save Social Security, Tampa, Fla., Feb. 4, 2005

28. “For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings.

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And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It’s just unacceptable. And we’re going to do something about it.” –Philadelphia, Penn., May 14, 2001

27. “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.” –Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

26. “This is an impressive crowd — the haves and the have mores. Some people call you the elite — I call you my base.” ??’?'?â??’???’?“at the 2000 Al Smith dinner

25. “Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.” –LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

24. “I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe — I believe what I believe is right.” –Rome, Italy, July 22, 2001

23. “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” –Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005 (Listen to audio clip)

22. “People say, how can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil? You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in’s house and say I love you.” –Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002

21. “I wish you’d have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it…I’m sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn’t yet…I don’t want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I’m confident I have. I just haven’t — you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I’m not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.” –after being asked to name the biggest mistake he had made, Washington, D.C., April 3, 2004

20. “You forgot Poland.” –to Sen. John Kerry during the first presidential debate, after Kerry failed to mention Poland’s contributions to the Iraq war coalition, Miami, Fla., Sept. 30, 2004

19. “We’ve got a lot of rebuilding to do. First, we’re going to save lives and stabilize the situation. And then we’re going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is — and it’s hard for some to see it now — that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house — there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.” (Laughter) –touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005

18. “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” –State of the Union Address, Jan. 28, 2003, making a claim that administration officials knew at the time to be false

17. “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.” –Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 2001

16. “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.” –Washington, D.C., March 13, 2002

15. “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” –Florence, South Carolina, Jan. 11, 2000

14. “Can we win? I don’t think you can win it.” –after being asked whether the war on terror was winnable, “Today” show interview, Aug. 30, 2004

13. “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.” –Washington, D.C. June 18, 2002

12. “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.” –to a group of Amish he met with privately, July 9, 2004

11. “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” –speaking underneath a “Mission Accomplished” banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, May 1, 2003

10. “We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories … And we’ll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them.” –Washington, D.C., May 30, 2003

9. “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!” –joking about his administration’s failure to find WMDs in Iraq as he narrated a comic slideshow during the Radio & TV Correspondents’ Association dinner, Washington, D.C., March 24, 2004 (Read more)

8. “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.” –Washington, D.C., Dec. 19, 2000 (Listen to audio clip)

7. “I’m the decider, and I decide what is best.

And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense.” –Washington, D.C. April 18, 2006 (Read more; listen to audio clip; watch video clip)

6. “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on –shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” –Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002 (Watch video clip)

5. “Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB-GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.” –Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004 (Watch video clip)

4. “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” –Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004 (Watch video clip)

3. “You work three jobs? … Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” –to a porced mother of three, Omaha, Nebraska, Feb. 4, 2005 (Listen to audio clip)

2. “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.” –to FEMA director Michael Brown, who resigned 10 days later amid criticism over his handling of the Hurricane Katrina debacle, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005 (Listen to audio clip; watch video clip)

1. “My answer is bring them on.” –on Iraqi insurgents attacking U.S. forces, Washington, D.C., July 3, 2003

20 thoughts on “The 50 Dumbest Things George W. Bush Has Ever Said

  1. Richard

    Great read! I;m sure George W himself would get a good laugh from it. If though it was an attempt to asail his intelligence, keep in mind he fooled the smartest woman in the world twice

  2. JR

    I was always astonished by George W. Bush. Durring the horrible events of his two terms, he seemed to be in a trance. How could a guy who was Yale educated and made it into presidential office, be unable to articulate a simple sentence? He could barely complete one, without losing his point of thought and gross grammatical error. Is he really that dumb, or was it just an act? LBJ could communicate well under copious amounts of Cutty Sark Scotch. What was wrong with W?

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