Entries in President George W. Bush (4)


Press Missed ‘Mission Accomplished’ Meaning, Says Bush Staffer

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The man responsible for the visual production of the 2003 “mission accomplished” speech given by President George W. Bush aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln says the media mischaracterized the president’s message that day.

It’s one of the most iconic and controversial moments of the Bush presidency.

On May 1, 2003, President Bush landed a fixed-wing aircraft aboard the Abraham Lincoln and then addressed Navy personnel returning from combat operations in the Persian Gulf.

The president delivered his televised remarks in front of a giant sign that said “mission accomplished.”

In an interview on the Sirius XM program “PoliOptics”, deputy assistant to President Bush for communications Scott Sforza said that people who were not aboard the ship do not understand the meaning of “mission accomplished,” but those who were there do.

“I think that the press really mischaracterized the entire event,” Sforza told host Adam Belmar. “And I say this because we personally met with those on the ship, and the intent of the message that was put on the ship ‘mission accomplished’ was really aimed at the families on the shore.”

The men and women aboard the Abraham Lincoln were returning home after being deployed for 11 months, much longer than the typical 5-6 months, Sforza said.

No one aboard the Naval vessel voiced any concern to Bush administration staffers that day about the “mission accomplished” banner because everyone understood the context of the message.

“If you ever play back the tape, roll back the audio of what the president said at no time did he ever say that that was the end of military action,” said Storza.

But President Bush did announce an end to major combat operations in Iraq.

He said, “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and are allies have prevailed.”

It was that declaration that Bush critics and critics of war used against the president for rest of his time in office.

The Iraqi insurgency would pick up in the months and years following the speech costing the lives of thousands of Americans.

In fact, the last U.S. combat troops would not leave Iraq until 2010 under Bush’s successor, President Barack Obama.

Sforza is not the first Bush staffer to argue the “mission accomplished” message got mangled. In April 2008, Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino told reporters the banner should have been more specific.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bushes' Seal of Approval at Stake for 2012 GOP Candidates

Photos[dot]com/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- None of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates has earned the blessing of the Bush dynasty, with nine months until the Iowa caucuses. But several early contenders have been striving for approval from the family that has produced the two most recent Republican presidents and wields continued influence among conservative voters and donors.

Jon Huntsman, the former U.S. ambassador to China-turned potential presidential hopeful, makes a pilgrimage to the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, on Monday to meet with former President George H.W. Bush, his former boss.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who made his presidential campaign official Monday, met with Mr. Bush in Texas a few weeks ago.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels had seemed to capture the most attention of the Bush clan, receiving encouragement from former First Lady Laura Bush and other former Bush administration advisers to make the run for office. On Sunday, he declined.

Now, many Bush family loyalists are looking for an alternative to Daniels, and some say former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, should be their guy.

Bush is seen as a conservative heavyweight with executive experience and strong appeal in a key swing state for 2012. He also has name recognition and credibility among Republicans nationwide.

"Jeb probably has a better chance to unite the establishment and Tea Party wings of the GOP than anyone else, certainly a better chance than Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney," National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote earlier this year.

In a poll of likely Florida voters last month, Bush held a nearly 20 point lead over President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 presidential matchup.

Still, Bush has repeatedly insisted he will not run in 2012 and believes the party has plenty of candidates who could defeat Obama.

"While I am flattered by everyone's encouragement, my decision has not changed," Bush, 58, said in a statement Sunday. "I will not be a candidate for president in 2012."

A Gallup poll last month found 44 percent of Americans have an unfavorable impression of Jeb Bush, with only 35 percent holding a favorable view. In February, a national Fox News poll on possible Republican match-ups with Obama, Bush trailed the president by 20 points.

But Bush himself has suggested that no decision is final. "You never say never about anything," he told CNN when asked late last year about a presidential run.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Wants Fixes to 'No Child Left Behind' Before Next School Year

ABC News(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- President Obama is calling on Congress to send him a bill to fix No Child Left Behind that he could sign into law before the next school year begins.

"We've got to get it right," Obama said Monday at Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Va.

"I want every child in this country to head back to school in the fall knowing that their education is America's priority."

While admitting that the goals of No Child Left Behind were correct, the president cited specific fixes to the program that he says can make education better and more successful for children, parents, and students.

"We need to not only hold failing schools accountable, we need to help turn those schools around. In the 21st century, it's not enough to leave no child behind. We need to help every child get ahead," Obama said. "What hasn't worked is denying teachers, schools, and states what they need to meet these goals."

President Obama outlined the changes that he would like to see:

  • Efforts to boost teacher effectiveness and to focus on results for students.
  • New ways to recruit, prepare, evaluate, and retain the best teachers.
  • Greater flexibility to support innovation and improvement in education.
  • System of incentives, rewards, and reorganization for schools making significant strides in helping children succeed.

The president admitted there currently "isn't a lot of money to go around," but said that this is one area that cannot be cut, amid the debates being waged on Capitol Hill over the budget.

"We can't be reckless and we can't be irresponsible about how we cut. Let me make it plain: We cannot cut education," Obama said.

The president said that sacrificing the nation's commitment to education in the budget would be like sacrificing the country's future.

"I will not let it happen," the president concluded.

Before his speech the president visited a classroom and spoke briefly to the students. He admitted that around this time -- in middle school -- it was "probably a time when I was at my worst," he said, adding that he was in trouble in the principal's room often.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Barbara Bush Campaigns for Same-Sex Marriage Rights

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Barbara Bush, the daughter of former President George W. Bush, has joined her mother and a growing number of former administration officials in publicly expressing support for same-sex marriage.

Bush, who has never commented publicly on the issue, appears in a new online PSA video for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group.

"I'm Barbara Bush and I'm a New Yorker for marriage equality," she says. "New York is about fairness and equality and everyone should have the right to marry the person that they love. Join us."

The video, part of a series featuring high-profile New Yorkers, comes as rights advocates make a renewed push to legalize same-sex marriage in the Empire State, after the legislature blocked such a step in December 2009.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, former first lady Laura Bush, former Solicitor General Ted Olson and 2004 Bush campaign manager and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman all support same-sex marriage.

Their views -- and advocacy on the issue -- are significant given that opposition to gay marriage and a constitutional amendment banning it were key elements of Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.

The most recent ABC News-Washington Post poll showed a narrow divide on legalization of gay marriage, with 47 percent in favor and roughly 50 percent opposed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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