From the Bush Press Conference, 1/26/06

QUESTION: Mr. President, good morning.

BUSH: You're going to have to speak loudly, because somebody took your seat. Your name was on my seating chart, and you're not sitting down. Did that make any sense at all? It depends. It kinda started out as sense and went downhill from there.

QUESTION: Isn't that a shame?

BUSH: You're probably going to blame it on me. You're from the networks, aren't you? I'll just bet... no, wait, radio. Got to be radio. With a face like that, you couldn't be on television. Now I bet you're going to accuse me of being mean just because I said you were less than attractive.

QUESTION: I'm going to let you pass this time.

BUSH: You bet your sweet ass you are, heh heh. Just kidding. Just trying to rattle you before you get going. It's fun. I call it presidential playtime.

QUESTION: I know. Mr. President, as you're saying Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath is one of your top priorities...

BUSH: Oh no, not another Katrina the Storm question. When are you people going to learn to put this stuff behind you. I swear...

QUESTION: ... why is it that this administration is not allowing the senior staff, your senior staff that you conversated with prior to Hurricane Katrina, during and after, to testify, to interview or talk with congressional leaders? And why not push Michael Brown, who is now a private citizen, to go before them, as he is what many are calling the lynchpin for the whole issue?

BUSH: Well, let me make sure you have the facts. First off you used the word conversated. I'm willing to bet that isn't even a real word. And second, I thought you people were all worked up about privacy and stuff, so I'm hoping you see the irony in you asking about a private citizen.

We have given 15,000 pages of White House documents to the investigators, congressional investigators. Some, I think it's 600,000 pages, administrative documents. That's what we like to do, give more than enough. We give and give and give. And some of those documents and pages and notes and napkins and other various paper products might even pertain to Katrina the Storm. It's not like we're going to read through all that bull hockey.

And then we have sent a fellow named Rapawanna up there to talk about -- he's a White House staffer we got from Jack Abramoff -- to talk to the committee. Speaking of Jack, I don't know Jack. Never met him, that I recall. Course he could be one of those White House picture hogs, just like you Gloria. Remember how you got your picture taken with me at last year's holiday press party? I sure do. I've got a mind like a steel trap, and I don't remember Jack.

Anyway, there has been a lot of interviews. There have been public testimony. As a matter of fact, we are so completely concerned about this little misunderstanding that we've started our own investigation. Not being a name-blamer, we're not pointing fingers, but just let me say this. Blanco.

And so we're fully cooperative with the members of the House and the Senate, and if they say anything contrary then they need to remember four years ago when three thousand Americans were murdered by the terrorists. So we're cooperating. And we'll do so without giving away my ability to get sound advice from people on my staff.

You see, here's -- and this is an issue that comes up all the time. You reporters are a nosy lot, but that's okay. This is a relatively free country. But some politicians in the name of divisiveness and agenda-following are not content with the presidential synopsis. Let me say for the umpteenth time that if people give me advice and they're forced to disclose that advice, it means the next time an issue comes up, I might not be able to get unvarnished advice from my advisers, so then I'd have to varnish it myself. The president - that's me - is a busy man, with many responsibilities, but varnishing isn't one of them. And that's just the way it works.

QUESTION: Does that include Michael Brown?

BUSH: Pardon me?

QUESTION: Does that include Michael Brown?

BUSH: I told you earlier that you need to speak louder. You sound like you've got a mouthful of marbles.

QUESTION: Does that include Michael Brown?

BUSH: I can't hear you...

QUESTION: Does that include Michael Brown?

BUSH: Michael Brown? I don't know Michael.

QUESTION: Does that include Brownie?

BUSH: Brownie? He's a private citizen, Gloria, and I'm not going to violate his privacy. How dare you even ask. People who give me advice, the advice-givers - it will have a chilling effect on future advisers, BRRR, I feel the harsh arctic wind of America destroyers blowing if the precedent is such that, when they give me advice, that's going to be subject to scrutiny. And I feel the cold icy rain of Islamofascism when people want to start scrutinizing the president during time of war.

QUESTION: But what does Katrina the Storm have to do with the war on terror?

BUSH: I'm sure you'd like to know that, Gloria. Unfortunately, so would Osama bin Laden. Now you've had your opportunity to speak. I've got to take another question. Stretch?

QUESTION: Thank you, Mister President. Last week when the New Horizons rocket was launched to Pluto, you said that your administration was determined 'to boldly go where no man has gone before'. Could you elaborate on that?

BUSH: Glad you asked, Stretch...


2006, Mark Hoback