You are going to see the following quote from George W. Bush (3/13/2002) recycled over the next few days:
"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."
This quote has been all over the World Wide Web for years. The only problem with it is it’s apparently a fake.
I have spent hours trying to find an official transcript or legitimate news source for this direct quote – to no avail.
I did find a Wikiquotes forum where “fake Bush quotes on Osama bin Laden” were discussed HERE.
But, Bush is on the record saying something very similar when it came to his concern about finding bin Laden, and you can hear him answer a press conference question from “Norah” (presumably Norah O’Donnell) at this YouTube SITE.
The truth is enough, though. Osama bin Laden might have been killed or captured and al Qaeda weakened sooner if Bush had not taken his eye off the ball and sent our troops to a country in no way responsible for the attacks on 9/11. (Amazingly, many Americans still believe Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 despite Bush himself and the 9/11 Commission Report denying any connection.)
Finally, in searching for a source of the quote at the beginning of this post, I ran across a very interesting post on thepresidentialcandidates. I had never heard of this Web site, but the author makes a strong argument that, unlike George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Barack Obama contended all along that getting OBL was a top priority. There is sufficient documentation – including sources, cited quotes and videos – to prove the author’s assertion, and it’s worth a read.
Osama bin Laden is a done deal. I recall the video after 9/11 with bin Laden joking and laughing with his cronies about the twin towers coming down. There is one less truly evil person in the world today. To quote him: “Allah be praised.”
Listen up, folks, ‘cause I worked my buns off on this one.
This post is pegged on the opening quote attributed to George W. Bush.
A DemWit reader emailed that MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell said the elements of the quote can be found at various locations in the transcript of Bush’s press conference on March 13, 2002. Well, Mr. O'Donnell is wrong.
A direct quote set between quotation marks cannot be altered. The editor can add the word “sic” in parentheses within the quote to show an error is that of the person quoted and not the editor.
So, essentially, the quote is a fake.
I finally located the transcript of Bush’s March 13, 2002, press conference and, for the convenience of readers, pieced its 15 screen together and placed it in THE READING ROOM. What Bush said about Osama bin Laden can be found on pages 6 and 7.
So, let’s break the quote down:
I don't know where bin Laden is. (Bush said this.)
I have no idea and really don't care. (Bush did not say this.)
It's not that important. It's not our priority. (Bush did not say this, but in the context of his statements, it is most assuredly implied.)
So, some soul decided to author this quote, attribut it to Bush and float it around the Web for years. It has been used, without citation, on Daily Kos, The Huffington Post, Yahoo News and thousands of sites.
I do not regret the time and work put into this or going through this transcript for knowing what we know now - and what some of us knew even then – it is a treasure trove of hindsight.
Remember, this is just six months after 9/11, and already Bush is marginalizing Osama bin Laden and making his case for war with Iraq, for Iraq, in Iraq - who knows? There’s a lot to be found in this transcript – Afghanistan, Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, the debt ceiling and so much more.
And, it also begs the question of how this goofball ever got re-elected. (I’m sorry, I don’t like name-calling, but I can think of no better word to use at the moment.)
DemWit readers – and particularly Republican readers - would be well enlightened by stepping back into 2002 and reading this TRANSCRIPT. For the most part, the reporters’ questions and Bush’s answers will astound you! And, don’t even think this is old stuff, because it has directly affected where this country is today. Thanks, BJ