CBS News Chief Political Writer David Paul Kuhn has compiled a list of Bush’s Top Ten Flip-Flops:
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Announcing the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, Mr. Bush said, “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.”
Two months into the war, on May 29, 2003, Mr. Bush said weapons of mass destruction had been found.
“We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories,” Mr. Bush told Polish television. “For those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong, we found them.”
On Sept. 9, 2004, in Pennsylvania, Mr. Bush said: “I recognize we didn’t find the stockpiles [of weapons] we all thought were there.”
Nation Building and the War in Iraq
During the 2000 campaign, George W. Bush argued against nation building and foreign military entanglements. In the second presidential debate, he said: “I’m not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say, ‘This is the way it’s got to be.'”
The United States is currently involved in nation building in Iraq on a scale unseen since the years immediately following World War II.
During the 2000 election, Mr. Bush called for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from the NATO peacekeeping mission in the Balkans. His administration now cites such missions as an example of how America must “stay the course.”
Iraq and the Sept. 11 Attacks
In a press conference in September 2002, six months before the invasion of Iraq, President Bush said, “you can’t distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror… they’re both equally as bad, and equally as evil, and equally as destructive.”
In September of 2004, Mr. Bush said: “We’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September 11th.” Though he added that “there’s no question that Saddam Hussein had al Qaeda ties,” the statement seemingly belied earlier assertions that Saddam and al Qaeda were “equally bad.”
The Sept. 11 commission found there was no evidence Saddam was linked to the 9/11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
The Sept. 11 Commission
President Bush initially opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate the Sept. 11 attacks. In May 2002, he said, “Since it deals with such sensitive information, in my judgment, it’s best for the ongoing war against terror that the investigation be done in the intelligence committee.”
Bowing to pressure from victims’ families, Mr. Bush reversed his position. The following September, he backed an independent investigation.
- Free Trade
- Homeland Security Department
- Same-Sex Marriage
- War on Terror
- Campaign Finance Reform
Mr. Bush was critical of Al Gore in the 2000 campaign for being part of “the administration that’s been in charge” while the “price of gasoline has gone steadily upward.” In December 1999, in the first Republican primary debate, Mr. Bush said President Clinton “must jawbone OPEC members to lower prices.”
As gas topped a record level of $50 a barrel this week, Mr. Bush has shown no propensity to personally pressure, or “jawbone,” Mideast oil producers to increase output.
A spokesman for the president reportedly said in March that Mr. Bush will not personally lobby oil cartel leaders to change their minds.