The full text of the press conference is here. (It’s interesting, by the way, that on the White House site they don’t do anything to clean up the transcript. As one who deals with transcripts constantly, I can attest that even the most eloquent people don’t seem very articulate when you read a raw transcript.) Here is a portion of President Bush’s comments on Iraq in his prepared text:
“The rise of a free and peaceful Iraq is critical to the stability of the Middle East, and a stable Middle East is critical to the security of the American people. As the blanket of fear is lifted, as Iraqis gain confidence that the former regime is gone forever, we will gain more cooperation in our search for the truth in Iraq.
“We know that Saddam Hussein produced and possessed chemical and biological weapons, and has used chemical weapons. We know that. He also spent years hiding his weapons of mass destruction programs from the world. We now have teams of investigators who are hard at work to uncover the truth.
“The success of a free Iraq will also demonstrate to other countries in that region that national prosperity and dignity are found in representative government and free institutions. They are not found in tyranny, resentment, and for support of terrorism. As freedom advances in the Middle East, those societies will be less likely to produce ideologies of hatred and produce recruits for terror.”
My favorite line in the press conference, though, was not from the President; it was contained in one of the questions by a reporter, who said: “I wanted to ask you about Iran, one of your other countries in the axis of evil. One of the things we learned from that march to war is that when you start warning countries, they better pay attention….” Yes, that’s right. And that’s why, despite everything, the Democrats have a high mountain to climb to try to take back the White House.
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