Bush Fights Back: A Timeline

President hauls self out of harm's way with speech after speech after speech

October 16: Again Bush pumps up Iraq, congratulating Iraqis for their commitment to elections: "This is a very positive day for the Iraqis and, as well, for world peace. Democracies are peaceful countries. The vote today in Iraq stands in stark contrast to the attitudes and philosophy and strategy of al Qaeda and its terrorist friends and killers."

October 24: Bush meets with his cabinet to discuss hurricane aid and promises help: "We can meet our obligations if we set priorities.''

October 25: Bush talks to an Officers' Wives luncheon: “We will not rest or tire until the war on terror is won."

photo: Eric Draper/whitehouse.gov

October 27: Bush is in Florida touring Hurricane Wilma damage: "I've also come to make sure the federal response dovetails in with the state response."

October 28: White House tries to slip around Scooter Libby's indictment in the Plame Affair. In announcing Libby's resignation, Bush says, “While we're all saddened by today's news, we remain wholly focused on the many issues and opportunities facing this country."

November 1: Bush takes the high road, telling the public he's going to lead the way in preparing for a flu pandemic. At the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, he declares: "Our strategy is designed to meet three critical goals: First, we must detect outbreaks that occur anywhere in the world; second, we must protect the American people by stockpiling vaccines and antiviral drugs, and improve our ability to rapidly produce new vaccines against a pandemic strain; and, third, we must be ready to respond at the federal, state and local levels in the event that a pandemic reaches our shores."

November 10: Bush is back talking about Louisiana: “We can't imagine an America without a New Orleans."

November 11: On Veterans Day he pumps up the war and attacks the Democrats at Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania: “Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war...And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election."

November 14: More on Iraq as Bush pauses in Alaska on his way to Asia: "Some of our elected leaders have opposed this war all along. I disagreed with them, but I respect their willingness to take a consistent stand. Yet some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past. They are playing politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. And that's irresponsible."

November 30: Bush hits the Iraq issue afresh with a heavy propaganda assault. At the Naval Academy in Annapolis, he outlines the new “National Strategy for Victory in Iraq”: "If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would beplotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people."

December 2: Bush speaks on the economy from the Rose Garden: “Thanks to good, old-fashioned American hard work and productivity, innovation, and sound economic policies of cutting taxes and restraining spending, our economy continues to gain strength and momentum.''

December 5: In Kernersville, North Carolina, the president again pushes his Iraq case, this time promoting the nation's economic well-being: "This economy is strong and the best days are yet to come for the American economy."

December 7: In yet another speech on Iraq, Bush says: “Iraq's a nation with the potential for tremendous prosperity. The country has a young and educated workforce. They've got abundant land and water. And they have among the largest oil resources in the world.”

December 14: Bush admits he took the nation to war on bad intelligence: “When we made the decision to go into Iraq, many intelligence agencies around the world judged that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. This judgment was shared by the intelligence agencies of governments who did not support my decision to remove Saddam. And it is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As President, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq—and I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that."

Additional reporting: Michael Roston

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