During an interview today on ABC’s This Week, President Bush tried to distance himself from what has been his core strategy in Iraq for the last three years. George Stephanopoulos asked about James Baker’s plan to develop a strategy for Iraq that is “between ’stay the course’ and ‘cut and run.’”
Bush responded, ‘We’ve never been stay the course, George!’
On CBS this morning, White House Counselor Dan Bartlett claimed that the administration has “never” had “a stay-the-course strategy.”
President Bush made the same claim over the weekend. It’s not true. For years, the White House has repeatedly described their Iraq policy as “stay the course.”
STEPHANOPOULOS: James Baker says that he’s looking for something between “cut and run” and “stay the course.”
BUSH: Well, hey, listen, we’ve never been “stay the course,” George. We have been — we will complete the mission, we will do our job, and help achieve the goal, but we’re constantly adjusting to tactics. Constantly.
STORM: So, Mr. Bartlett, staying the course is no longer the operative strategy?
BARTLETT: Well, Hannah, it’s never been a stay-the-course strategy. Strategically, we think it’s very important that we stay in Iraq and we win in Iraq. And if we were to cut and run and go and leave that country too early it would be a disaster for American policy.
But what we aren’t doing is sitting there with our heads in the sand. We’ve completely changing and making tactical changes on a week-by-week basis as we respond to the enemy’s reactions to our strategies.
BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]
BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05]
BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]
BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04]
BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04]
BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04]
VIDEO / LINK: Bush: ‘We’ve Never Been Stay The Course’
VIDEO / LINK: Bartlett: ‘It’s Never Been A Stay The Course Strategy’
Kinda makes you think of this, doesn't it?
Diane Sawyer: You still have a minute-twenty, Mr. Vice-President.
George Bush: Well, more has to be done, sure. But the programs we have in place are doing the job, so let's keep on track and stay the course.
Diane Sawyer: You have fifty seconds left, Mr. Vice-President.
George Bush: Let me sum up. On track, stay the course. Thousand points of light.
Diane Sawyer: Governor Dukakis. Rebuttal?
Michael Dukakis: I can't believe I'm losing to this guy!
UPDATE (10/30/06): Keith Olberman weighs in... R.I.P. “Stay the Course” 1885-2006