Skip to comments.Rush's Interview with President George W. Bush [Transcript]
Posted on 08/31/2004 12:09:16 PM PDT by NonValueAdded
Rush's Interview with President George W. Bush
August 31, 2004
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Ladies and gentlemen, we have been saying President Bush will join us at 1:45 this afternoon, about 12 minutes from now, but he can't wait. He's so excited, he's here now. President George W. Bush, welcome to the program, sir. Nice to have you with us.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Thank you, Rush. It's an honor to talk to you.
RUSH: Where are you right now?
THE PRESIDENT: I am in Des Moines, Iowa.
RUSH: And you are going...?
THE PRESIDENT: I just came from Nashville, Tennessee. I'm on my way to a big rally with some of our farmers and then I'm going to go to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where I will be participating in the convention from afar. After all, the First Lady Bush will be addressing the nation, and I want to welcome her to the podium.
RUSH: Let's talk about the American Legion convention. I watched your speech there this morning, and the Democrats are harping on something you said yesterday, or that was aired yesterday on the Today Show with Matt Lauer about your comment about we can't win it, meaning the war on terror. I think I know what you meant but John Edwards is out there saying (paraphrased), "A-ha! Bush is now flip-flopping, and we, John Kerry and I, we can win this, and Bush is..." What did you mean by this?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I appreciate you bringing that up. Listen, I should have made my point more clear about what I meant. What I meant was that this is not a conventional war. It is a different kind of war. We're fighting people who have got a dark ideology who use terrorists, terrorism, as a tool. They're trying to shake our conscience. They're trying to shake our will, and so in the short run the strategy has got to be to find them where they lurk. I tell people all the time, "We will find them on the offense. We will bring them to justice on foreign lands so we don't have to face them here at home," and that's because you cannot negotiate with these people. And in a conventional war there would be a peace treaty or there would be a moment where somebody would sit on the side and say we quit. That's not the kind of war we're in, and that's what I was saying. The kind of war we're in requires, you know, steadfast resolve, and I will continue to be resolved to bring them to justice, but as well as to spread liberty. And this is one of the interesting points of the debate, Rush, is that, you know, I believe societies can be transformed because of liberty, and I believe that Iraq and Afghanistan will be free nations, and I believe that those free nations right there in the heart of the Middle East will begin to transform that region into a more hopeful place, which in itself will be a detriment to the ability to these terrorists to recruit -- and that's what I was saying. I probably needed to be a little more articulate.
RUSH: Well, it's like saying that they're all over the world. You're not fighting a country here, a series of countries. You're fighting a movement that will hide out anywhere it can, and you're always going to have a renegade terrorist. Even if, let's say, we wipe out Al-Qaeda. There's some other group or individual that may spring up and blow up a bomb somewhere. That's always going to happen because it always has.
THE PRESIDENT: Right. Really what I was saying to Lauer was, is that this is not the kind of war where you sit down and sign a peace treaty. It's a totally different kind of war. But we will win it. Your listeners have got to know that I know we'll win it, but we're going to have to be resolved and firm, and we can't doubt what we stand for, and the long-term solution is to spread freedom. I love to tell the story, Rush, about a meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi. He's my friend. He's the prime minister of Japan. It wasn't all that long ago that my dad, your dad, and others dads were fighting against the Japanese, but because after World War II we believed that Japan could self-govern and could be democratic in its own fashion, Japan is no longer an enemy; it's a friend, and so I sit down with him to help resolve issues like the North Korean peninsula. In other words, we're working together to keep the peace. The same thing is going to happen in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that's when I say the transformational power of liberty. That's what I'm talking about.
RUSH: Well, I remember you also said in one of your first speeches after the 9/11 attacks that this is going to go maybe beyond one or even two terms that you might serve.
THE PRESIDENT: I think so. On the other hand, we're making great progress. Today at the Legion I said, "We're winning the war on terror, and we will win the war on terror." There's no doubt in my mind, so long as this country stays resolved and strong and determined, and by winning, I just would remind your listeners that Pakistan is now an ally in the war on terror. Saudi now takes Al-Qaeda seriously, and they're after the leadership. Libya is no longer got weapons of mass destruction. Afghanistan, I don't know if you've discussed this on your program, but there are over ten million people who have registered to vote in Afghanistan, which is a phenomenal statistic when you think about it. And then of course Iraq is now heading toward elections as well, and we're making progress.
RUSH: Let me ask you --
THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.
RUSH: Let me ask you about Iraq, because as I look at your opponent and his party, it seems to me that they want to separate the war on terror as something that's localized in Afghanistan, and that Iraq is a rogue war that you started for whatever reasons they've concocted, and they are trying to make the American people believe there's no linkage whatsoever --
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah.
RUSH: -- between Iraq and the war on terror. Now, I've heard you not only today, but in previous addresses that you've made, there clearly is a linkage in your mind. Could you explain to the American people who are listening to this program, what is that linkage, war on terror to Iraq, why we're there? What your vision is for the war in Iraq? In your second term, what do you hope
THE PRESIDENT: Sure.
RUSH: -- happens and when?
THE PRESIDENT: First, let me address my opponents. They all, they saw a threat in Iraq, and they voted to remove Saddam Hussein by force if necessary. So, in other words, you know, John Kerry looked at the same intelligence I saw and saw a threat and voted for the authorization of force.
RUSH: Before he voted against it?
THE PRESIDENT: Pardon me?
RUSH: Before he voted against it?
THE PRESIDENT: (Laughing.) Well, that was -- you're talking about the actually funding of troops.
THE PRESIDENT: He made, in my judgment, a big mistake by saying yes, we can use force but we're not going to provide the troops the equipment necessary to fight the war.
RUSH: That's what it was.
THE PRESIDENT: Now, Iraq. You see, one of the lessons of September the 11th is that we gotta deal with threats before they fully materialize, and we saw a threat in Iraq. I say "we." The Congress saw a threat, I saw a threat and the United Nations Security Council saw a threat. In other words, the world took a look and said, "Saddam is a threat," and here's why they thought he was a threat. One, he used weapons of mass destruction, and one of the most dangerous parts of this new war is that if the enemy were ever to acquire the capacity to use a weapon of mass destruction it would make September 11th, you know, pale in comparison, and so we saw that threat.
Secondly, he had ties to terrorists. Abu Nidal was housed in Iraq, his organization. He was the guy that killed Leon Klinghoffer. He was a known terrorist. Zarqawi -- who's now, you know, the person beheading people in Iraq today -- was in and out of Baghdad and Iraq, as were members of his organization. So he had terrorist ties. As a matter of fact, not only did he have terrorist ties, he used to subsidize families of these suicide bombers, which is a terrorist act.
Thirdly, he invaded his neighbors. Fourthly, he was an enemy of this country, and we had been to war with him once. He had invaded others in the neighborhood. He was a source of great instability. So I saw a threat, and given the lessons of September the 11th, we decided to remove him from power, having tried diplomacy. See, I think it's very important for your listeners to know, Rush, that the commander-in-chief ought to try all avenues of diplomacy prior to committing troops and we did that. And so I'm sitting in the Oval Office, and I've seen a threat. I now see that he's ignoring the demands of the free world, he had no intention of disarming, as a matter of fact was systematically deceiving inspectors, and so I made the decision, a very difficult decision.
The way forward, which was to remove him from power -- and, by the way, we weren't "alone" going in. As a matter of fact, I talked to Tony Blair this morning, which I do on a regular basis, and Tony Blair saw the same threat. And so now the way ahead is this. We will work with Prime Minister Allawi to enable a political process to develop. In other words, we'll provide as much security as we can to help a political process forward which means elections in January, but more importantly we will train Iraqis so that they are capable of providing their own security, and that's an important ingredient about enabling me to say that troops will be there as long as necessary, but not a day longer -- and by that I mean when the Iraqis are capable of defending themselves and as the political process emerges, we will then be in a position to say the mission has been completed, which is a democratic Iraq, an ally in the war on terror and a source of stability in a part of the world that needs stability and freedom.
RUSH: A couple quick things. I know your time is short. The Democrats -- one voice I know for sure Elliott Spitzer, the attorney general of New York, warned, literally warned the Republicans not to mention the September 11th attacks at the convention.
THE PRESIDENT: (Laughing.) Well, they -- evidently Rudy didn't heed his warnings.
RUSH: (Laughing.) I was going to ask you, because they did. They, of course, were allowed to do what they did on their first right. I thought it was tastefully done last night --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you. I tell you, I'm traveling with John McCain; I thought he gave a great speech. Look, September 11th is a defining moment in our history, and it's certainly a defining moment in my presidency, and the question is whether or not we've learned the lessons. Three quick lessons. I've already given you one lesson that I think is important to remember. We deal with threats before they fully materialize. What that means is that in the old days you could see a threat, and you may deal with it or you may not deal with it, but you never thought a threat would come to harm us. Those days are gone.
Secondly, if the United States ever says something we better mean it, and I say, "If you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as a terrorist." When you say something you gotta act on it. And by acting on it not only is Afghanistan free, but the world now knows that we mean what we say, which makes the world a more peaceful place in my judgment, and the third thing is that these killers are people you can't negotiate with. You've got to find them. So that's why I told Matt Lauer what I told him. It's an unconventional war. In other words, these are people that, you know, they use terrorism as a tool to support and promote their ideology of hatred. And, you know, we must bring 'em to justice, and we are. Thursday night I will tell the people that three-quarters of the known Al-Qaeda leadership has been brought to justice. And we're still obviously on the hunt.
RUSH: Okay, final point. I remember your campaign for president, 2000. You mentioned some specific things that you would do if you were elected. One of them was tax cuts, and there were a couple other things. You talked about Social Security reform -- and after you were elected and inaugurated, you set out to proceed to do those things, and I remember reading that the Democrats were surprised that you were actually doing what you said you were gonna do. Now, my last question: are you going to trick them again and actually do in your second term what you're going to campaign on doing? And what is that? What is your agenda the second term?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm going to save some of it for the speech if you don't mind.
RUSH: All right.
THE PRESIDENT: I mean, you're a good friend and I would hate to let you down, but --
RUSH: I understand. I understand totally. But I had to ask. I'm curious.
THE PRESIDENT: Having said that -- no, no, I understand completely. Look, what we're going to do is we're going to have government -- look, the world has changed. No longer does just one person, generally a dad, work for the same company and receive a pension plan or health care from the same company. People change jobs. Women are in the workforce and therefore the role of government ought to be to enable people to be able to live in a changing world. Now, that means promoting policies that say you can own your own health care account like health savings accounts, promoting policies that says younger workers should be able to take some of their own money and set up a personal savings account as a part of Social Security, so they can call it their own. They can take it from job to job and they could pass it on to another generation, and so those are the kinds of things I'm going to address. It's how government doesn't give order to people, but how government can enable people to realize dreams in a changing world.
RUSH: Mr. President, thanks so much for your time. It's always an honor and a thrill to speak to you --
THE PRESIDENT: How you feeling? Most importantly.
RUSH: Never better. I've never been happier. I've never been better, and you sound like you're ebullient as well. It's great to hear. I'm getting all kinds of comments about the optimism that was on display last night at the convention. People are very, very upbeat and ecstatic. People wish you the best and they're praying for you every day.
THE PRESIDENT: That's the most important thing people can do is pray, and I appreciate that. I tell you the crowds we're seeing out here are really big. I believe something is going on here in the hinterlands, in the heartland that is going to mean a victory come November, but I want to assure you I'm going to keep working and keep laying out my vision, so people understand exactly why I've made the decisions I've made.
RUSH: Well, make no mistake about something. I can't speak for everybody, but I can speak for quite a few. They love you out there, Mr. President, and they only wish you the best.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir.
RUSH: Alright. George W. Bush.
Sorry, audio link not working but it's the same on the Limbaugh site. Check back there later.
Maybe we should send this to Leboutiller.
He asked him about the key issue of the day, the comments made on Lauer's show and Edwards' response. It was appropriate for the time slot. Sorry that it didn't fit your agenda.
Wow....that is the response of a gentleman and a down to earth guy...
Gotta love the President.
So,,,Mr. President, are you proud of your primary role in bringing the country the biggest new entitlement program since LBJ?
I cant stand you people. Why dont you just limit your media to your Idol M. Savage?
I got to hear it on my way to work today...I was so glad Bush started early...otherwise I would have missed it. He sounded so excited to be on the show.
In the areas you presented what do you expect to learn that would define any sort of difference between the two realistic candidates for President? Limbaugh limited the interview to questions that will decide the election. And right now, the main issue is the war on terror. Any other agenda has to take a back seat to fighting this war.
GWB on Rush interview PING!
Thank God that President Bush is running for the second term.
What's your issue, then, if it's not any of the aforementioned?
WOT is first and foremost ... all the rest is not possible if you are dead. I don't mean to minimize the other things but it's better for Frank to save his venom for the Senate and House races. Does he really think a Kerry administration will do any better? Will he be happy with a Kerry SCOTUS's means to handle his issues? The primaries are over and it is time to be pragmatic.
"That trumps revenge for 3000 people killed almost three "years ago."
Explain what you mean by "Revenge" three years ago.
Love ya W...
I do see your point. I think, maybe it's OK, for some of us on the FR to not be 100% in support of Bush policies. As far as his anti-terrorism campaign I am at least 75% in support.
But I guess the reason that terror was the topic is because the war in Iraq and on terror is pretty much gonna be the prime issue this election. It is scary because the Dems want a soft approach. A UN approach that doesnt't work. They want Europe on side, which over the last half-century have had a pattern of releasing terrorists from their own jails. So I think it was appropriate to address only that issue.
You are correct though, that the voting public has a right to know Bush's economic policy. For instance, is he or is he not a free trader? The Commerce Department is not in support of free trade - so is that Bush's policy? Sometimes its hard to seperate Bush policy from the policy of a Republican Congress.
Easy, FrankWild is a Lib...
Yup. That's why we must remove people like Saddam Hussein from power.
What in the hell are you talking about Frank?
If you are meaning abortion, what does that have to do with the interview? The President pushed for the PBA ban. It's a start. What did you want him to say?
I'd like to see some proof (other than Moore's propaganda) where 3000 children were butcherd
We can whine about the president's conservative shortcomings amongst ourselves in the relative privacy of FreeRepublic. And after the election we can bring that debate into the public sphere as well. 64 days before an election in which we are in danger of seeing him replaced by a raving liberal is not the time to do so.
It was a good interview that did what it Bush and Rush wanted: to help our candidate win.
I thought he was talking about us killing children in IRAQ...
"WOT is first and foremost"
No disagreement here, but our lack of border security is a critical element of the WOT. I fail to understand how we can prevent more 9/11's if we can't/won't keep the thugs from walking into Arizona and Texas, or if we don't have the strength of principle to throw the illegals we catch out of the country.
I can let the spending and CFR (anti free-speech law) slide for now, but immigration needs addressed NOW.
Oh, I get it, you're a classic one-issue all-or-nothing type. What's ironic about people like yourself is that you sabotage your own goals in the process.
Before you hurl your stupid insults, WERE there questions about illegal immigration, government spending, deficits or social issues? American voters consider the answers to these questions very important, and Rush should have asked President Bush about them.
There seems to be some disconnected thinking in your post.
You seem to be against people dying. How many people will die this year on our nations highways? The numbers I have access to say around 40,000. That seems to be a serious number of deaths. Does this bother you at all? Families are disrupted, tragedy unfolds, hearts and bodies are broken. Yet I hear nothing from the LEFT about this. Curious for a bunch of folks who care so much about death.
I know; let's just pass some legislation and write an editorial and have a march downtown. That will make sure we've solved all the problems and no one will ever be harmed ever again! Gee, I feel so good I'm gonna go outside and hug a tree and pick a flower.
I thought he was talking about tyrranical dictators killing children in North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe, etc. just as Saddam did to maintain power in Iraq, and the Taliban did in Afghanistan, until we overthrew the violent tyrants and freed the people there.
Steve, you might be interested in this.
Nope, he's talking about abortion.
Thank you for sharing, and welcome to FR.
Oh why don't you go ahead and vote for Buchanan. Who cares
Actually he's been here for quite awhile. Amazing isn't it?
Yes, and I'm having trouble separating some Bush policies from Democratic policies. I'm an old conservative, and remember what the Republican party used to represent, and I can't help but be disappointed, regardless of what some of the posters here think.
What other president would show this kind of concern?
Oh, you think that Buchanan is running?
We're at war. Obviously they are important issues but the overriding issue is who can keep us safe in a dangerous world? I thought President Bush handled the situation very well. He's not afraid to speak his mind. The best thing about the interview is how he touched on 9/11 - Rudy just brushed Elliot Spitzer's warning aside. The best way to kill your opponent is with kindness and the President is doing just that. He's having a terrific time as he makes his way to New York City to address the nation on Thursday night.
This is what I love about President Bush. He has a program and once in office he tries his level best to, well, execute it.
As far as I can tell, Kerry promises to give us all free healthcare and jackets and all that sort of stuff, but if he was so unfortunate to become President, he'd forget all that and do whatever he felt like doing.
We don't really have a clue as to what that is.
I don't agree with all his domestic policies but as Rudy explained it last night, this is no ordinary time. We're choosing a leader to keep this country safe. Look - the President is setting the agenda and Kerry is firing his campaign staff. And the polls are already beginning to shift. And this is BEFORE the convention ends. I think the President CAN and will close the sale with the American people in his acceptance speech.
Yes, those are interesting and valid questions. HOWEVER, they are not actually relevant to the election. Sorry to pop the bubble. We may not like Bush's stand on some issues, but those who would not like Bush's answers to those questions are not going to respond by voting for Kerry instead. Such questions are, unfortunately, red herrings at this point.
You: "Mr. President, are you going to stop illegal immigration by building a wall, reduce government spending to less than total revenues, pay off the deficit pronto, and fight hard for XYZ social issues?"
Bush: "No, I'm not. You know I'm not. But the only viable voting option in this election is Kerry, who will do even worse (in your eyes) on these issues, so you're not going to vote for him. You know you prefer me over him, and come November 2 you'll vote for me lest Kerry win. Now, let's stop arguing about issues which do not advance our mutual interests, and campaign against our common opponent."
If it were Bush vs. Keyes, raising those questions might be relevant. Since it's not, you'll just have to deal with voting for the lesser of two evils on those issues.
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