Full text of President Bush's news conference to economists on 1/22/03

BUSH: Let me make a couple of comments about the meeting we just had, and I'd be glad to answer a couple of questions for you in a minute. I’m a fast answerer. I can probably answer five questions in sixty seconds.

I want to thank some of our nations leading economists for coming today to share their thoughts with me about our economy, the strength of our nation, how best to make sure people can find work, and how best to make sure they recognize it when they do find it.

We had a great discussion about the plan that I laid out for the Congress to consider and to enact, if they have even a shred of patriotism, a plan which focuses on job creation, a plan which recognizes that money in the consumer's pocket will help grow this economy as high as an elephants eye, a plan that recognizes that there are some long-term thingamajigs that we can do to make sure the investor feels comfortable taking risks in America. Or taking risks off-shore, for that matter.

It is a plan that recognizes that economic growth is not as strong as it should be. It's a plan that's good for all Americans and for all good Americans. It is a plan that addresses our needs, and it's a plan that Congress needs to pass, unless they’d prefer to see the terrorists win. Which most of them do not wish to see.

These economists can speak for themselves after they leave, because in America you can still speak for yourself even when someone is speaking for you,  but they have given good advice and sound judgment, and for that I'm grateful.

I'll take a couple of questions.

QUESTION: Sir, last week, in this room, you came out against quotas which have been unconstitutional for 25 years. You (OFF-MIKE) and that is whether race can be used as a factor in admissions. Dr. Rice says it could be; Colin Powell says it should be. What is your position...

BUSH: You were off mike their, partner.

QUESTION: What is your position...

BUSH: I heard you. My position is that, as the brief says, that there are clearly unconstitutional means to achieve diversity. There are race-neutral ways to achieve diversity, which I have put in place as the governor of Texas, and that we'll leave the courts to define the outer limits of the Constitution.

QUESTION: Okay ... answer my question, though.

BUSH: I just answered it.


BUSH: No, I answered it. The courts will make the definition of the outer limits of the--and as Condi Rice said, she felt very comfortable saying on national TV the decision I made was the right decision.

QUESTION: The outer limits of the what, sir?

BUSH: You know, those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeal it. The Outer Limits – we have control of your television set. We can control the vertical, we can control the horizontical. Next question.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. The French are saying it would block the U.N. resolution, authorizing force on Iraq. Are you frustrated by these comments? Can you still reach a consensus?

BUSH: Well, first of all, let me say “The French they are a funny race, they fight with their feet and fuck with their face.” It's important for the American citizens and the citizens around the world and the French citizens to understand that Saddam Hussein possesses some of the world's deadliest weapons. He poses a serious threat to America and our friends and allies and the French. The world came together, including the French, to say he must disarmulate. He's not disarming, particularly if you mean in the sense of endearing. My wife Laura is disarming.

QUESTION: Okay ... answer my question, though.

BUSH: No, I answered it. As a matter of fact, it appears to be a re-run of a bad movie. Did you see that movie ‘The Patriot’ with that Austrian fellow. I’d hate to sit through that again. He is delaying. Saddam, not that Mel Gibson fellow. He's deceiving. He's asking for time. He's playing hide-and-seek with inspectors.

QUESTION: That wasn’t a very good movie was it?

BUSH: No, it was not. One thing is for certain, he's not disarming, and by that, I mean that he is not getting rid of his arms. And so the United States of America, in the name of peace, will continue to insist he does disarm, and we will keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein. And then we’ll kill him.

QUESTION: Mr. President, when do you intend to make a decision about whether or not the inspection process is actually, has any hope of really disarming Saddam?

BUSH: Well, I’ve already made it. It is clear to me now that he is not disarming. And surely our friends have learned lessons from the past. Surely, we have learned how this man deceives and delays.

QUESTION: Sir, when you say that Saddam is not disarming, do you mean that he is not an endearing individual?

BUSH: I mean, he's given people the runaround. And as many of my advisers said on TV this week, time is running out. That guy, the big fellow, plays Raymond’s brother on “Everybody Loves Raymond”, I believe if you’ll check it out, you’ll find he said those very words. Right after the roast was burned.


BUSH: I believe, in the name of peace, he must disarm. And we will lead a coalition of willing nations to disarm him, make no mistake about that. He will be disarmed.

QUESTION: When will you decide when that moment comes...

BUSH: I will let you know when the moment has come.

QUESTION: Who is in that coalition of the willing?

BUSH: Coalition of the willing? I like that. I’m gonna use it. You will find out who is in the Coalition of the Willing, Mister Smarty-pants. It's very much like what happened prior to our getting a resolution out of the United Nations: Many of the punditry--of course, not you... (LAUGHTER) ... but other punditry were quick to say, ``No one is going to follow the United States of America.'' And we got a unanimous resolution out of the United Nations. So there.

QUESTION: Would you care to ramble on, sir?

BUSH: And the United States has made it clear, our intention, and our intention is to work with the non-French world for Saddam to disarm. He's been given ample time to disarm. We have had ample time now to see that the tricks of the past--he's employing the tricks of the past today. He's giving people the runaround. He wants to play hide-and-seek. He's got a vast country. Not as vast as the country I have, but vast nonetheless.  He wants to focus the attention of the world on inspectors. This is not about inspectors; this is about a disarmed Iraq. He has weapons of mass destruction, the world's deadliest weapons, which pose a direct threat to the United States, our citizens and our friends and allies. And the French.

QUESTION: Tell us more.

BUSH: He has been told to disarm for 11 long years. He's is not disarming. This business about, you know, more time. You know, how much time do we need to see clearly that he's not disarming? Katie Couric, she’s disarming. I’d like to take a question from her.

QUESTION: She’s not here, sir. One final question. What does this look like to you?

BUSH: As I said, this looks like a re-run of a bad movie. And I'm not interested in watching it.


©2003, Mark F Hoback