What They Said / What They Meant

Who: President George Bush, two days before Hurricane Katrina made landfall.
What He Said: "A State of Emergency exists in Louisiana beginning yesterday."
What He Meant: "But since I'm still on vacation, I need to stage a few photo-ops strumming a guitar and playing golf first."

Who: Representative Dennis Hastert.
What He Said: "I don't know about that [rebuilding New Orleans.] That doesn't make sense to me."
What He Meant: "It's just poor people, right?"

Who: President Bush.
What He Said: "We want to make sure that we can respond properly if there's a WMD attack or another major storm."
What He Meant: "It was Al Qaeda again."

Who: Barbara Bush at the Houston Astrodome.
What She Said: "So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
What She Meant: "It's just poor people, right?"

Who: President Bush, in Alabama four days after the hurricane.
What He Said: "Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."
What He Meant: "If you expect help, you better move to a state run by Republicans. Even better, a state run by my brother."

Who: Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff.
What He Said: "The conditions at the New Orleans Superdome were nowhere near as bad as the TV images suggested."
What He Meant: "Lying next to dead people in toxic waste without food and water while terrorized by thugs ain't such a bad thing."

Who: President Bush, Sept. 1, 2005.
What He Said: "I don't think anyone anticipated the breach of the levees."
What He Meant: "I don't think anyone imagined people would fly airplanes into buildings."

Who: Senator Rick Santorum
What He Said: "You have people who don't heed those warnings and then put people at risk. ... There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out."
What He Meant: "And when I say tough penalties, I mean worse than drowning in your attic."

Who: President Bush, speaking about FEMA chairman Michael Brown.
What He Said: "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."
What He Meant: "For a former head of the Arabian Horse Association."

Who: Barbara Bush, at the Houston Astrodome
What She Said: "What I am hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay here in Texas."
What She Meant: "For crum's sake, I live in Texas."

Who: President Bush.
What He Said: "What I intend to do is to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong."
What He Meant: "We will track down these evildoing hurricanes. They can run but they can't hide. We will liberate the brave, freedom-loving Hurricanians."

Who: President Bush.
What He Said: "I remember New Orleans as a great town where I used to enjoy myself -- occasionally too much."
What He Meant: "I could use a drink."

Who: President Bush.
What He Said: "If things went wrong, we'll correct them, and when things went right, we'll duplicate them."
What He Meant: "One list is going to be longer than the other."
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