WASHINGTON, Sept. 7 (FGAQ) -- The following is a transcript of remarks by President Bush after meeting with his Cabinet:
    Cabinet Room

    11:08 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. My message to the Cabinet this morning is this: This administration is not going to rest until my reputation can be saved; until all blame is deflected; until we totally re-channel the nation's attention in other directions. Are you ready for some football? The NFL season is getting ready to kick off tomorrow as you're all aware of. Patriots and the Raiders - one hell of a match-up. I, myself, will be rooting for the Patriots, because I am a patriot, not a raider, like those who would take advantage of a disaster which no one could foresee.

Speaking of New Orleans - where incidentally, the Saints will not be playing this season, the... Pardon me. I'm just reflecting on the irony of that... There will be no Saints in New Orleans this year, even though this administration has deployed thousands of our own saints to work towards the day when we can herald the return of that great team. Meanwhile, we've got to clean up that town. Not that it was ever that clean to begin with. I remember, during my wanton youth, lying in the gutters of that once great town. I want to stress that by 'lying', I refer to the act of horizontally reclining, not the act of telling falsehoods.

I've asked the Vice President to go down to the affected region on Thursday and assess our recovery efforts. He told me to go fuck myself. So Secretary Chertoff and others will go to make sure that we remove any obstacles, bureaucratic obstacles that may be preventing us from achieving our goals. It hardly seems to matter at this juncture, but that's not the point. I'm the 'do something' president, and bureaucracy is not going to stand in the way of me doing something, because I am the bureaucracy.

Secretary Leavitt has given me a good brief; plans on housing, both immediate and long-term housing. Bottom line is there is none. I don't mean that there is no bottom line, I'm saying that these folks should tap into their personal retirement accounts. I know that sadly these don't exist, but you can't say that I didn't try my hardest to make them a reality.  At the center in Baton Rouge that I went to yesterday, I think I remember clearly a person saying, "When am I going to get my Social Security check?" 'Social Security check', I replied, 'how the hell should I know when you're going to get your Social Security check? What do I look like, a fucking mailman?'

A lot of people are doing good work. We've got a heck of a lot more work to do, and that's exactly what this government is going to do.

Q: Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Bob.
Q Do you intend to replace any members of your administration who are leading this recovery effort, who were part of the effort last week that has been so widely criticized?

THE PRESIDENT: What I intend to do is lead a -- to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong. Did I screw up? I sincerely doubt it, but I intend to find out. And I'll tell you why. It's because I'm the accountability president. Seems like things have gone all to hell since I've been president, and I, for one, would like to know why that is. It's very important for us to understand the relationship between the federal government, the state government and the local government when it comes to a major catastrophe, such as my presidency. Are those state and local governments to blame for the mess I've made of the country? Well it's certainly not the federal government. I am the federal government, and I've got a pretty clear idea of what I've been up to. This is important stuff. And the reason it's important is, is that we still live in an unsettled world. I intend to settle it. You got a problem with that Bob? I want to make sure that we can respond properly if there's a WMD attack or another major storm. You know, I've dealt with both, so I've got a lot of valuable experience in this area. And if anybody has any criticism, just let me say that the anniversary of 911 is coming up, and people need to be very careful about not giving encouragement to the enemy. So I'm going to find out over time what went right and what went wrong. And if by some chance a tiny portion of blame finds it's way to me... Nah, why talk about something that's not going to happen.

Q: Sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q: Secretary Chertoff has talked about being disturbed at the information -- or lack of information to the state from the region. Just from what you know initially, do you think that more went wrong at the local or state level or the federal level? And do you think there should be a commission to sort it out?

THE PRESIDENT: What I think and what I know are two different issues. As president, I am in a position to know that the locals - or as some would call them, the peoples elected representatives - are inherently unreliable. I think one of the things that people want us to do here is to play a blame game. So let's do it. Let's all try Blanco! Blanco Blanco fo flanco, bonana fanna fo fanco, fee fy mo manco, guilty!

Q: Mister President.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Stretch.

Q: Are you insane?

THE PRESIDENT: Not at all Stretch. See, you usually use a 'B' as your first substitution - like Nagin Nagin bo bagin, bonana fanna fo fagin, fee fy mo magin, guilty - but since Blanco starts with a 'B', I had to use the advance rules and start out with a 'F'. See, we've got to solve problems. We're problem-solvers.

Thank you all for coming.

 

2005, Mark Hoback