From the beginning, George W. Bush has made his own credibility a central
On 10/11/00, then-Gov. Bush said:
"I think credibility is important. It is going to be important for the
president to be credible with Congress, important for the president to be
credible with foreign nations."
But President Bush's
serial flip-flopping raises serious questions about whether Congress and
foreign leaders can rely on what he says.
1. Social Security Surplus
BUSH PLEDGES NOT TO TOUCH SOCIAL SECURITY SURPLUS... "We're going to
keep the promise of Social Security and keep the government from raiding the
Social Security surplus." [3/3/01]
...BUSH SPENDS SOCIAL SECURITY SURPLUS The New York Times reported
that "the president's new budget uses Social Security surpluses to pay for
other programs every year through 2013, ultimately diverting more than $1.4
trillion in Social Security funds to other purposes."
2. Patient's Right to Sue
GOVERNOR BUSH VETOES PATIENTS' RIGHT TO SUE... "Despite his campaign
rhetoric in favor of a patients' bill of rights, Bush fought such a bill
tooth and nail as Texas governor, vetoing a bill coauthored by Republican
state Rep. John Smithee in 1995. He... constantly opposed a patient's right
to sue an HMO over coverage denied that resulted in adverse health effects."
...CANDIDATE BUSH PRAISES TEXAS PATIENTS' RIGHT TO SUE... "We're one
of the first states that said you can sue an HMO for denying you proper
coverage... It's time for our nation to come together and do what's right
for the people. And I think this is right for the people. You know, I
support a national patients' bill of rights, Mr. Vice President. And I want
all people covered. I don't want the law to supersede good law like we've
got in Texas." [Governor Bush, [10/17/00]
...PRESIDENT BUSH'S ADMINISTRATION ARGUES AGAINST RIGHT TO SUE "To
let two Texas consumers, Juan Davila and Ruby R. Calad, sue their
managed-care companies for wrongful denials of medical benefits ‘would be to
completely undermine' federal law regulating employee benefits, Assistant
Solicitor General James A. Feldman said at oral argument March 23. Moreover,
the administration's brief attacked the policy rationale for Texas's law,
which is similar to statutes on the books in nine other states." [Washington Post,
3. Tobacco Buyout
BUSH SUPPORTS CURRENT TOBACCO FARMERS' QUOTA SYSTEM... "They've got
the quota system in place -- the allotment system -- and I don't think that
needs to be changed." [5/04]
...BUSH ADMINISTRATION WILL SUPPORT FEDERAL BUYOUT OF TOBACCO QUOTAS
"The administration is open to a buyout."
[White House spokeswoman Jeanie Mamo, [6/18/04]
4. North Korea
BUSH WILL NOT OFFER NUCLEAR NORTH KOREA INCENTIVES TO DISARM... "We
developed a bold approach under which, if the North addressed our
long-standing concerns, the United States was prepared to take important
steps that would have significantly improved the lives of the North Korean
people. Now that North Korea's covert nuclear weapons program has come to
light, we are unable to pursue this approach."
...BUSH ADMINISTRATION OFFERS NORTH KOREA INCENTIVES TO DISARM"Well,
we will work to take steps to ease their political and economic isolation.
So there would be -- what you would see would be some provisional or
temporary proposals that would only lead to lasting benefit after North
Korea dismantles its nuclear programs. So there would be some provisional or
temporary efforts of that nature."
Scott McClellan, [6/23/04]
BUSH SUPPORTS A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE... "Bush said he...favors
leaving up to a woman and her doctor the abortion question."
quoting the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal [5/78]
...BUSH OPPOSES A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE "I am pro-life."
[Governor Bush, [10/3/00]
BUSH PROMISES TO FORCE OPEC TO LOWER PRICES... "What I think the
president ought to do [when gas prices spike] is he ought to get on the
phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots...And
the president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the
price." [President Bush, [1/26/00]
...BUSH REFUSES TO LOBBY OPEC LEADERS With gas prices soaring in the
United States at the beginning of 2004, the Miami Herald reported the
president refused to "personally lobby oil cartel leaders to change their
minds." [Miami Herald, [4/1/04]
7. Iraq Funding
BUSH SPOKESMAN DENIES NEED FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR THE REST OF 2004...
"We do not anticipate requesting supplemental funding for '04"
[White House Budget Director Joshua Bolton, [2/2/04]
...BUSH REQUESTS ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR IRAQ FOR 2004 "I am requesting
that Congress establish a $25 billion contingency reserve fund for the
coming fiscal year to meet all commitments to our troops."
[President Bush, Statement by President, [5/5/04]
8. Condoleeza Rice Testimony
BUSH SPOKESMAN SAYS RICE WON'T TESTIFY AS 'A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE'...
"Again, this is not her personal preference; this goes back to a matter of
principle. There is a separation of powers issue involved here.
Historically, White House staffers do not testify before legislative bodies.
So it's a matter of principle, not a matter of preference."
...BUSH ORDERS RICE TO TESTIFY: "Today I have informed the Commission
on Terrorist Attacks Against the United States that my National Security
Advisor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, will provide public testimony."
BUSH PLEDGES TO ISSUE REGULATIONS BASED ON SCIENCE..."I think we
ought to have high standards set by agencies that rely upon science, not by
what may feel good or what sounds good." [then-Governor George W. Bush,
...BUSH ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS IGNORE SCIENCE "60 leading
scientists—including Nobel laureates, leading medical experts, former
federal agency directors and university chairs and presidents—issued a
statement calling for regulatory and legislative action to restore
scientific integrity to federal policymaking. According to the scientists,
the Bush administration has, among other abuses, suppressed and distorted
scientific analysis from federal agencies, and taken actions that have
undermined the quality of scientific advisory panels."
10. Ahmed Chalabi
BUSH INVITES CHALABI TO STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS...President Bush
also met with Chalabi during his brief trip to Iraq last Thanksgiving
...BUSH MILITARY ASSISTS IN RAID OF CHALABI'S HOUSE "U.S. soldiers
raided the home of America's one-time ally Ahmad Chalabi on Thursday and
seized documents and computers." [5/20/04]
11. Department of Homeland Security
BUSH OPPOSES THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY..."So, creating a
Cabinet office doesn't solve the problem. You still will have agencies
within the federal government that have to be coordinated. So the answer is
that creating a Cabinet post doesn't solve anything."
...BUSH SUPPORTS THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY "So tonight, I
ask the Congress to join me in creating a single, permanent department with
an overriding and urgent mission: securing the homeland of America and
protecting the American people." [6/6/02]
12. Weapons of Mass Destruction
BUSH SAYS WE FOUND THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION..."We found the
weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories...for those
who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons,
they're wrong, we found them." [5/29/03]
...BUSH SAYS WE HAVEN'T FOUND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION "David Kay
has found the capacity to produce weapons.And when David Kay goes in and
says we haven't found stockpiles yet, and there's theories as to where the
weapons went. They could have been destroyed during the war. Saddam and his
henchmen could have destroyed them as we entered into Iraq. They could be
hidden. They could have been transported to another country, and we'll find
13. Free Trade
BUSH SUPPORTS FREE TRADE... "I believe strongly that if we promote
trade, and when we promote trade, it will help workers on both sides of this
...BUSH SUPPORTS RESTRICTIONS ON TRADE "In a decision largely driven
by his political advisers, President Bush set aside his free-trade
principles last year and imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel to help out
struggling mills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, two states crucial for
his reelection." [9/19/03]
14. Osama Bin Laden
BUSH WANTS OSAMA DEAD OR ALIVE... "I want justice. And there's an old
poster out West, I recall, that says, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'"
...BUSH DOESN'T CARE ABOUT OSAMA "I don't know where he is.You know,
I just don't spend that much time on him... I truly am not that concerned
about him." [3/13/02]
15. The Environment
BUSH SUPPORTS MANDATORY CAPS ON CARBON DIOXIDE... "[If elected],
Governor Bush will work to...establish mandatory reduction targets for
emissions of four main pollutants: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury
and carbon dioxide." [9/29/00]
...BUSH OPPOSES MANDATORY CAPS ON CARBON DIOXIDE "I do not believe,
however, that the government should impose on power plants mandatory
emissions reductions for carbon dioxide, which is not a 'pollutant' under
the Clean Air Act." [3/13/03]
16. WMD Commission
BUSH RESISTS AN OUTSIDE INVESTIGATION ON WMD INTELLIGENCE FAILURE...
"The White House immediately turned aside the calls from Kay and many
Democrats for an immediate outside investigation, seeking to head off any
new wide-ranging election-year inquiry that might go beyond reports already
being assembled by congressional committees and the Central Intelligence
...BUSH SUPPORTS AN OUTSIDE INVESTIGATION ON WMD INTELLIGENCE FAILURE
"Today, by executive order, I am creating an independent commission, chaired
by Governor and former Senator Chuck Robb, Judge Laurence Silberman, to look
at American intelligence capabilities, especially our intelligence about
weapons of mass destruction." [President Bush,
17. Creation of the 9/11 Commission
BUSH OPPOSES CREATION OF INDEPENDENT 9/11 COMMISSION... "President
Bush took a few minutes during his trip to Europe Thursday to voice his
opposition to establishing a special commission to probe how the government
dealt with terror warnings before Sept. 11."
...BUSH SUPPORTS CREATION OF INDEPENDENT 9/11 COMMISSION "President
Bush said today he now supports establishing an independent commission to
investigate the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."
18. Time Extension for 9/11 Commission
BUSH OPPOSES TIME EXTENSION FOR 9/11 COMMISSION... "President Bush
and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) have decided to oppose granting
more time to an independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks." [Washington Post,
...BUSH SUPPORTS TIME EXTENSION FOR 9/11 COMMISSION "The White House
announced Wednesday its support for a request from the commission
investigating the September 11, 2001 attacks for more time to complete its
19. One Hour Limit for 9/11 Commission Testimony
BUSH LIMITS TESTIMONY IN FRONT OF 9/11 COMMISSION TO ONE HOUR...
"President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have placed strict limits on
the private interviews they will grant to the federal commission
investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, saying that they will meet only with the
panel's top two officials and that Mr. Bush will submit to only a single
hour of questioning, commission members said Wednesday."
...BUSH SETS NO TIMELIMIT FOR TESTIMONY "The president's going to
answer all of the questions they want to raise. Nobody's watching the
clock." [White House spokesman Scott McClellan,
20. Gay Marriage
BUSH SAYS GAY MARRIAGE IS A STATE ISSUE... "The state can do what
they want to do. Don't try to trap me in this state's issue like you're
trying to get me into." [Gov. George W. Bush on
Gay Marriage, Larry King Live,
...BUSH SUPPORTS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BANNING GAY MARRIAGE "Today
I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for
ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting
marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife."
21. Nation Building
BUSH OPPOSES NATION BUILDING... "If we don't stop extending our
troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to
have a serious problem coming down the road."
[Gov. George W. Bush,
...BUSH SUPPORTS NATION BUILDING "We will be changing the regime of
Iraq, for the good of the Iraqi people."
22. Saddam/al Qaeda Link
BUSH SAYS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEEN AL QAEDA AND SADDAM...
"You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the
war on terror." [President Bush,
...BUSH SAYS SADDAM HAD NO ROLE IN AL QAEDA PLOT "We've had no
evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in Sept. 11."
23. U.N. Resolution
BUSH VOWS TO HAVE A UN VOTE NO MATTER WHAT... "No matter what the
whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up
and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the
United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to
show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to
Saddam." [President Bush
...BUSH WITHDRAWS REQUEST FOR VOTE "At a National Security Council
meeting convened at the White House at 8:55 a.m., Bush finalized the
decision to withdraw the resolution from consideration and prepared to
deliver an address to the nation that had already been written."
24. Involvement in the Palestinian Conflict
BUSH OPPOSES SUMMITS... "Well, we've tried summits in the past, as
you may remember. It wasn't all that long ago where a summit was called and
nothing happened, and as a result we had significant intifada in the area."
...BUSH SUPPORTS SUMMITS "If a meeting advances progress toward two
states living side by side in peace, I will strongly consider such a
meeting. I'm committed to working toward peace in the Middle East."
25. Campaign Finance
BUSH OPPOSES MCCAIN-FEINGOLD... "George W. Bush opposes
McCain-Feingold...as an infringement on free expression."
[Washington Post, 3/28/2000]
...BUSH SIGNS MCCAIN-FEINGOLD INTO LAW "[T]his bill improves the
current system of financing for Federal campaigns, and therefore I have
signed it into law." [President Bush, at the
McCain-Feingold signing ceremony,
Bush opposes restrictions on 527s: "I also have reservations about
the constitutionality of the broad ban on issue advertising [in McCain
Feingold], which restrains the speech of a wide variety of groups on issues
of public import." [President Bush,
…Bush says 527s bad for system: "I don't think we ought to have 527s.
I can't be more plain about it…I think they're bad for the system. That's
why I signed the bill, McCain-Feingold."
27. Medical Records
Bush says medical records must remain private: "I believe that we
must protect…the right of every American to have confidence that his or her
personal medical records will remain private."
…Bush says patients' histories are not confidential: The Justice
Department…asserts that patients "no longer possess a reasonable expectation
that their histories will remain completely confidential."
28. Timelines For Dictators
Bush sets timeline for Saddam: "If Iraq does not accept the terms
within a week of passage or fails to disclose required information within 30
days, the resolution authorizes 'all necessary means' to force
compliance--in other words, a military attack."
…Bush says he's against timelines: "I don't think you give timelines
to dictators." [President Bush,
29. The Great Lakes
Bush wants to divert great lakes: "Even though experts say 'diverting
any water from the Great Lakes region sets a bad precedent' Bush 'said he
wants to talk to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien about piping water to
parched states in the west and southwest.'–
Bush says he'll never divert Great Lakes: "We've got to use our
resources wisely, like water. It starts with keeping the Great Lakes water
in the Great Lakes Basin...My position is clear: We're never going to allow
diversion of Great Lakes water." [President
30. Winning The War On Terror
Bush claims he can win the war on terror: "One of the interesting
things people ask me, now that we're asking questions, is, can you ever win
the war on terror? Of course, you can."
…Bush says war on terror is unwinnable: "I don't think you can win
[the war on terror]." [President Bush,
…Bush says he will win the war on terror: "Make no mistake about it,
we are winning and we will win [the war on terror]."