Top 10 Bush Flip Flops
1. Bush Flip-Flops on Independent 9/11 Commission
Bush Flip: Initially Opposed to Independent 9/11 Commission
Bush opposed an independent inquiry into 9/11, arguing it would duplicate a probe conducted by Congress. In July 2002, his administration issued a "statement of policy" that read "...the Administration would oppose an amendment that would create a new commission to conduct a similar review [to Congress's investigation]." [Statement of Administration Policy, Executive Office of the President, 7/24/02; LA Times, 11/28/02]
Bush Flop: Bush Relented and Appointed Independent Commission
President Bush finally agreed to support an independent investigation into the 9/11 attacks after "the congressional committees unearthed more and more examples of intelligence lapses, the administration reversed its stance." [Los Angeles Times, 11/28/02]
2. Bush Flip-Flops on Independent WMD Commission
Bush Flip: Refuses to Call for Independent Bipartisan Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction
"President Bush said on January 30, 2004, 'I want to know the facts' about any intelligence failures concerning Saddam Hussein's alleged cache of forbidden weapons but he declined to endorse calls for an independent investigation." [AP, 1/30/04]
Bush Flop: Bush Appoints WMD Investigation Commission
President Bush named a nine-member bipartisan commission to investigate U.S. intelligence-gathering capabilities in February 2004. The AP noted, "Bush had initially opposed a commission, but agreed to do so as calls grew from Republican lawmakers as well as Democrats." The Los Angeles Times reported, "The White House opposed that panel initially, then backed down under pressure, and some say administration officials now regret doing so because the administration has become locked in a series of embarrassing battles with the Sept. 11 commission." The New York Times noted Bush "gave the panel until March 2005, well after the November elections, to submit its conclusions." [NY Times, 2/7/04; LA Times, 2/1/04; AP, 2/6/04]
3. Bush Flip-Flops on Time He'll Spend With 9/11 Commission
Bush Flip: Would Meet For Only One Hour With 9/11 Commission
McClellan: Obviously, as part of this, the President will be meeting with the chairman and vice chairman at some point in the near future. We are still working on the exact time of that meeting. We have discussed with the commission what we believe is a reasonable period of time to provide the chairman and vice chairman with answers to all of their questions.
Q: Is that the one-hour time frame?
McClellan: That's what I'm referring to. [WH Press Briefing, 3/9/04]
Bush Flop: White House Says No Time Limit on President's Testimony
"President George W. Bush will privately answer all questions raised by the federal commission investigating the September 11 attacks, the White House said, suggesting that Bush might allow the interview to extend beyond the one-hour limit originally offered to the panel by the White House. 'He's going to answer all the questions they want to raise,' said the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, whose remarks suggested that the White House was softening its negotiating stance toward the bipartisan commission. 'Nobody's watching the clock.'" [WH Press Briefing, 3/9/04; International Herald Tribune, 3/11/04]
4. Bush Flip-Flops On Calling For A U.N. Vote On Iraq War
Bush Flip: U.S. Will Seek U.N. Vote For War With Iraq
Bush: ...yes, we'll call for a vote.
Question: No matter what?
Bush: No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to show their cards, let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam. [Bush News Conference, 3/6/03, emphasis added]
Bush Flop: Bush Attacked Iraq Without U.N. Vote
Bush "failed to win explicit [security] council approval for the use of force" in Iraq. Two days before bombs began to fall in Iraq, the Bush administration withdrew its resolution from the UN Security Council that would have authorized military force. Bush abandoned his call for a vote after it became clear that the US could muster only four votes in support of force. [Washington Post, 3/21/03; Los Angeles Times, 3/18/03]
5. Bush Flip-Flops on Department Of Homeland Security
Bush Flip: Bush Thought Homeland Security Cabinet Position Was "Just Not Necessary"
In October 2001, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Bush opposed creating Office of Homeland Security position for Ridge. "[T]he president has suggested to members of Congress that they do not need to make this a statutory post, that he [Ridge] does not need Cabinet rank, for example, there does not need to be a Cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security is because there is such overlap among the various agencies, because every agency of the government has security concerns," Fleischer said. [White House Press Briefing, 10/24/01]
Bush Flop: Bush Decides to Support Homeland Security
The New York Times reported, "Bush initially resisted Democratic proposals for a Cabinet-level agency. But once he endorsed it, the president pushed Congress for fast action as it debated such issues as whistle-blower protections, concerns over civil liberties and collective bargaining for department employees."
In remarks to Homeland Security Department employees, Bush claimed credit for supporting the Department: "In just 12 months, under the leadership of your President...you faced the challenges standing up this new Department and you get a -- and a gold star for a job well done." [New York Times, 2/28/03; Bush Remarks at One-Year Anniversary of DHS, 3/2/04]
6. Bush Flip-Flops on Gay Marriage
Bush Flip: It's Up to the States to Decide
In a 2000 presidential primary debate, candidate George W. Bush said gay marriage was a state's issue, saying, "The state can do what they want to do. Don't try to trap me in this state's issue like you're trying to get me into." [Presidential Primary Debate, 2/15/00]
Bush Flop: Bush Supports Constitutional Amendment That Restricts States' Rights
Bush: "If we are to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America. Decisive and democratic action is needed, because attempts to redefine marriage in a single state or city could have serious consequences throughout the country." [Bush, 2/24/04]
7. Bush Flip-Flops on Using Military For Nation Building
Bush Flip: Bush Promised Not to Use Military for Nation Building
In a campaign rally in Tennessee, then-Presidential candidate Bush criticized the Clinton administration for using the military in nation-building missions. Bush said, "I'm worried about an opponent who uses nation-building and the military in the same sentence. See, our view of the military is for our military to be properly prepared to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place." [Governor George W. Bush, 11/6/00]
Bush Flop: President Used Military for Nation Building in Afghanistan and Iraq
After the removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Bush met with soldiers stationed in Afghanistan at the White House and thanked them for their nation building efforts. A senior administration official said, "The administration, with its international partners, is doing something akin to nation-building." The plans for a post war Iraq also included nation building measures and, according to the Baltimore Sun, "Secretary of State Colin L. Powell confirmed...that Bush was considering, among other options, installing a U.S.-led occupation government if Hussein's regime is removed." [Baltimore Sun, 10/19/02]
8. Bush Flip-Flops on Hybrid Automobiles
Bush Flip: Bush Mocked Gore's Tax Credit for Hybrid Cars
"'How many of you own hybrid electric gasoline engine vehicles? If you look under there, you'll see that's one of the criteria necessary to receive tax relief. So when he talks about targeted tax relief that's pretty darn targeted,' Bush told the Arlington Heights rally, drawing laughs." [Chicago Sun-Times, 10/29/00]
Bush Flop: Bush Supported Investing in Hybrid Cars
In his State of the Union speech, Bush said, "Tonight I am proposing $1.2 billion in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles. ... Join me in this important innovation, to make our air significantly cleaner, and our country much less dependent on foreign sources of energy." [White House, "President Delivers 'State of the Union,'" 1/28/03]
9. Bush Flip-Flops on Assault Weapons Ban
Bush Flip: Bush Supports Extending Assault Weapons Ban
Ashcroft: "It is my understanding that the president-elect of the United States has indicated his clear support for extending the assault weapons ban, and I will be pleased to move forward with that position." [Confirmation Hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee, 1/17/01]
Bush Flop: Bush Opposes Extension of Assault Weapons Ban
"The White House is opposing addition of gun show and assault weapons restrictions to a bill shielding firearms makers and dealers from lawsuits, prompting angry complaints from Democrats that President Bush is reneging on earlier support for the two proposals...In a statement [on February 24, 2004], the White House urged passage of the lawsuits measure without amendments that might delay its enactment. 'Any amendment that would delay enactment of the bill beyond this year is unacceptable,' the statement said. Democrats interpreted this as an effort to undermine support for the gun-control measures. 'For the president to say he is for the assault weapons ban but then act against it is a flip-flop if there ever was one,' said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of several sponsors of the assault weapons proposal in the Senate." [Washington Post, 2/26/04]
10. Bush Flip-Flops on Steel Tariffs
Bush Flip: Bush Imposes Steel Tariffs
"President Bush on [March 5, 2002] slapped punishing tariffs of 8% to 30% on several types of imported steel in an effort to help the ailing U.S. industry, drawing criticism from American allies and mixed reviews at home. 'An integral part of our commitment to free trade is our commitment to enforcing trade laws to make sure that America's industries and workers compete on a level playing field,' Bush said in a statement issued by the White House." [USA Today, 3/5/02]
Bush Flop: Bush Rescinds Steel Tariffs
"Facing a potential global trade war, President Bush on [December 4, 2003] lifted tariffs he imposed on foreign steel 21 months ago, declaring the U.S. steel industry healthy and ready to compete despite the industry's claim that it needs more time to recover." [Chicago Tribune, 12/5/03]
Credibility Check: Bush's nomination acceptance speech
Four years ago today, George W. Bush gave quite the speech to accept the 2000 Republican presidential nomination. He talked about a lot of plans and he made a lot of promises. Four years later the promises he made regarding our future, our children, and our troops, ring completely hollow. As George W. Bush reflects on his words from four years ago, he should pay close attention to the ones he failed to live up to. Some of the low lights include:
Bush: I will extend prosperity to all Americans.
Hollow Promise: Real income and wages have plummeted under Bush. [US Department of Labor; US Census]
Bush: I will fix the schools.
Hollow Promise: Bush Budgets broke promise to fund school reforms by $27 billion over past four years. [Presidents FY 02-05 Budget, www.ed.gov]
Bush: I will reinvigorate the military. The world needs America's strength and leadership. And America's armed forces need better equipment, better training and better pay.
Hollow Promise: Military lacked the resources it needed in Iraq war. [LA Times, 7/3/04; Center for Army Lessons Learned, On Point, onpoint.leavenworth.army.mil/]
Go ahead and check out the full text of Bush's speech in 2000 and pick out your own set of hollow promises.
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