This is our past eight years in American political quotes. No commentary, no comedy, no frills. Just the statements themselves, the situation in which they were said, and the people who said them. Twenty-three lines that have come to shape America in the twenty-first century:
1. "There ought to be limits to freedom." George W. Bush, May 21, 1999, complaining about online criticism at an Austin Press Conference.
2. "I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me. Something is going to happen... I know it won't be easy on me or my family, but God wants me to do it." George W. Bush, September 2000, to Texas evangelist James Robinson in the run-up to Bush's presidential campaign, as reported in George magazine.
3. "You can fool some of the people all the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on." George W. Bush, March 2001, in a Gridiron Dinner joke.
4. "A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it." George W. Bush, July 26, 2001.
5. "We are able to keep arms from him [Saddam Hussein]. His military forces have not been rebuilt." Condoleezza Rice, July 29 2001.
6. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." George W. Bush, Sept. 20, 2001
7. "I'm the Commander, see ... I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the President ... [I] don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation." George W. Bush, August, 2002, from an interview with Bob Woodward at Bush's Crawford Ranch.
8. "Needless to say, the President is correct. Whatever it was he said." Donald Rumsfeld, February 2003
9. "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason." Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, May 28, 2003, in an interview with Vanity Fair.
10. "God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam [Hussein], which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them." George W. Bush, June 2003, to Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Abu Mazen when they met at the Aqaba summit, as reported in a Haaretz story by Arnon Regular.
11. "I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things." George W. Bush, June 2003, in a press conference on Air Force One.
12. "Bring 'em on." George W. Bush, July 3, 2003.
13. "It [the August 6th 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing] did not warn of any coming attack inside the United States." Condoleezza Rice, April 8, 2004, from her testimony before the 9/11 Commission, just before revealing that the title of the PDB in question was "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US."
14. "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Karl Rove, June 2005, at a Republican Fundraiser in Manhattan.
15. "What didn't go right?" President Bush, Sept.6, 2005, as quoted by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, after she urged him to fire FEMA Director Michael Brown "because of all that went wrong, of all that didn't go right" in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
16. "There are a lot of lessons we want to learn out of this process in terms of what works. I think we are in fact on our way to getting on top of the whole Katrina exercise." Dick Cheney, Sept. 10, 2005.
17. "It's a number." White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, June 15, 2006, in response to a question asking for a reaction on the U.S. military death toll in Iraq reaching the 2,500 milestone.
18. "Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view." Tony Snow, July 18, 2006, to longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas, after she asked why the U.S. had vetoed an Arab-backed U.N. resolution.
19. "You may end up with a different math, but you're entitled to your math. I'm entitled to the math." Karl Rove, October 25, 2006, insisting to NPR that pre-election polls "add up to a Republican Senate and a Republican House".
20. “Anybody who is in a position to serve this country ought to understand the consequences of words.” George W. Bush, Nov. 1, 2006, in an interview with Rush Limbaugh.
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21. "I don’t recall." Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, April 19, 2007. He repeated this sentiment 122 times in response to congressional questions about the firing of U.S. attorneys
22. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself." Former Press Secretary Scott McClellan, November 2007, from his book What Happened, on his role in misinformation surrounding the outing of Valerie Plame.
23. March 19, 2008: "So?" – Dick Cheney, in quick response to White House Correspondent Marcia Radditz' pointing out that two-thirds of the American public think the Iraq War is "not worth fighting."