...The president is unwavering in his commitment to the war on terror, but he will be a bit more disciplined with his rhetoric in his second term, he told ABC News' Barbara Walters in an exclusive White House interview.
"I watch what I say. ... I said some things in the first term that were probably a little blunt. 'Bring it on' was a little blunt. I was really speaking to our troops, but it came out and had a different connotation, different meanings for others," he told Walters.
--ABC Web site today
"Anybody who wants to harm American troops will be found and brought to justice," Bush said. "There are some that feel like if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they are talking about if that is the case. Let me finish. There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on." ...
The president made his comments as he spoke to reporters at the White House, following an announcement about his program to combat AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean.
--CNN, July 3, 2003
Incidentally, if you go to the ABC link and you're wondering what Laura's up to at the end ("I feel like over the last several decades maybe we've neglected boys a little bit," she told Walters) check out this book by the head of the national advisory board of the anti-feminist Independent Women's Forum, current and former stomping grounds of Lynne Cheney and other Bushies.
UPDATE RE "BRING 'EM ON": Apparently Bush can't stop clatifying this. The Washington Post reports:
Calling it "a confession, a regret, something," President Bush acknowledged in a round-table interview with regional newspapers yesterday that he has had second thoughts about ... his notorious utterance: "Bring 'em on."
There is no official text of the session, but here's how Tom Webb of the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press transcribed the president:
"Sometimes, words have consequences you don't intend them to mean. 'Bring 'em on' is the classic example, when I was really trying to rally the troops and make it clear to them that I fully understood, you know, what a great job they were doing.
"And those words had an unintended consequence," Bush continued. "It kind of, some interpreted it to be defiance in the face of danger. That certainly wasn't the case...."
(Again, emphasis mine.)
"Some interpreted it to be"? How the hell else would you interpret it?