George W. Bush

Bush watched Flight 11 impact on closed-circuit TV.

CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL (click for full CNN transcript)
President Bush Holds Town Hall Meeting
Aired December 4, 2001 – 15:18   ET

BUSH: First thing you can do is make sure people of all faiths are represented at your prayer session. It sends such a strong signal.

(APPLAUSE)

It reminds people of the greatness of America. The evil people we fight, they don’t believe in religious freedom. They want it their way or no way. And if you’re not their way, they’ll treat you harshly.

That’s why, by the way, when we liberated cities throughout Afghanistan, people lined the roads and cheered out of joy and happiness.

Secondly, you need to pray for the good Lord to protect America, to provide a shield over our country, to prevent us from harm.

(APPLAUSE)

QUESTION: Mr. President, I want to say, they haven’t won. I got in my car today and I’m in the same building with you, speaking to you. They have not won.

BUSH: Thank you very much.

QUESTION: And would you say hello to my son Jordan (ph), and my daughter Patricia (ph)?

BUSH: Jordan and who?

QUESTION: Patricia.

BUSH: Hi, Patricia. How are you?

How old is Patricia?

QUESTION: Five, and Jordan’s in third grade. And Jordan has a question, if I could give him the microphone.

BUSH: You bet. You’re mother’s relaying the mike to you, Jordan.

QUESTION: One thing, Mr. President, is that you have no idea how much you’ve done for this country, and another thing is that how did you feel when you heard about the terrorist attack?

BUSH: Well…

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, Jordan.

Well, Jordan, you’re not going to believe what state I was in when I heard about the terrorist attack. I was in Florida. And my chief of staff, Andy Card — actually I was in a classroom talking about a reading program that works. And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower — the TV was obviously on, and I use to fly myself, and I said, “There’s one terrible pilot.” And I said, “It must have been a horrible accident.”

But I was whisked off there — I didn’t have much time to think about it, and I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my chief who was sitting over here walked in and said, “A second plane has hit the tower. America’s under attack.”

And Jordan, I wasn’t sure what to think at first. You know, I grew up in a period of time where the idea of America being under attack never entered my mind — just like your daddy and mother’s mind probably. And I started thinking hard in that very brief period of time about what it meant to be under attack. I knew that when I got all the facts that we were under attack, there would be hell to pay for attacking America.

(APPLAUSE)

I tried to get as many facts as I could, Jordan, to make sure I knew, as I was making decisions, that I knew exactly what I was basing my decisions on. I’ve got a fabulous team. A president can’t possibly be president without a good team. It starts with having a great wife, by the way.

(APPLAUSE)

And so I got on the phone from Air Force One asking to find out the facts. You’ve got to understand, Jordan, that during this period of time, there were all kinds of rumors floating around. Some of them were erroneous. For example, there’s a news report saying that the State Department had been attacked. I needed to know what the facts were.

But I knew I needed to ask. I knew that if the nation’s under attack, the role of the commander in chief is to respond forcefully to prevent other attacks from happening.

And so I talked to the secretary of defense. One of the first acts I did was to put our military on alert.

An interesting thing happened shortly thereafter. Condoleezza Rice who was not with me, but was with the vice president, because they were in the White House compound, called me on the Air Force One after that, and said she’d gotten a call from Russia, from Vladimir Putin, who understood why we were putting our troops on alert, and therefore wasn’t going to respond. That was an important phone call, because when I was coming up, and a lot of other older-looking people coming up with me, that would have never have happened in the past. An alert by the United States would have caused Russia to go on an alert, which would’ve created a complicated situation. But that wasn’t the case.

By the way we’re heading into a new era. One of the positive things that come out of evil was a reassessing relationships, in order to make the world more peaceful. I believe it’s important for us to have positive relations with our former enemy and to rethink the defenses of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

At any rate, I knew I had a job to do. And I was quoted in the press the other day as saying I haven’t regretted one thing I’ve decided. And that’s the truth. Every decision I’ve made I stand by, and I’m proud of the decisions I’ve made.

(APPLAUSE)

For Immediate Release, 
Office of the Press Secretary

January 5, 2002

President Holds Town Hall Forum on Economy in California 
Ontario Convention Center

Ontario, California

QUESTION: First of all, I’m very impressed in how you handled the situation on September 11th. (Applause.)

BUSH: That’s plenty. (Applause.) No. Thank you.

QUESTION: What was the first thing that went through your head when you heard that a plane crashed into the first building?

BUSH: Yes. Well, I was sitting in a schoolhouse in Florida. I had gone down to tell my little brother what to do, and — just kidding, Jeb. (Laughter.) And — it’s the mother in me. (Laughter.) Anyway, I was in the midst of learning about a reading program that works. I’m a big believer in basic education, and it starts with making sure every child learns to read. And therefore, we need to focus on the science of reading, not what may feel good or sound good when it comes to teaching children to read. (Applause.) I’m just getting a plug in for my reading initiative.

Anyway, I was sitting there, and my Chief of Staff — well, first of all, when we walked into the classroom, I had seen this plane fly into the first building. There was a TV set on. And you know, I thought it was pilot error and I was amazed that anybody could make such a terrible mistake. And something was wrong with the plane, or — anyway, I’m sitting there, listening to the briefing, and Andy Card came and said, “America is under attack.”

And in the meantime, this teacher was going on about the curriculum, and I was thinking about what it meant for America to be under attack. It was an amazing thought. But I made up my mind that if America was under attack, we’d get them. (Applause.) I wasn’t interested in lawyers, I wasn’t interested in a bunch of debate. I was interested in finding out who did it and bringing them to justice. I also knew that they would try to hide, and anybody who provided haven, help, food, would be held accountable by the United States of America. (Applause.)

Anyway, it was an interesting day.

According to the official account, Flight 11 struck the north face of the North Tower at 9:46:30 EST. To date there is only one known [near and clear] video recording of this impact, recorded by the brothers Naudet, who have since produced an officially sanctioned documentary of the event.

If George W. Bush was entering the Florida elementary school classroom at 9:03 EST, he could not have seen a video recording of this event, which was utterly unanticipated by all who lacked foreknowledge. Yet he remembers the event clearly, sequentially.

Exerpt from an article by G. Edward Griffin:

“To be sure, the President said that he saw the first strike while sitting in his limousine prior to entering the classroom in Booker School where he was notified by his Chief of Staff, Andy Card, that there was a second strike. That would seem to make an airtight case that he must have been watching closed-circuit TV.

So what do we conclude? Is this the smoking gun, the accidental admission of guilt from which there is no escape? Let us not be naive. To my knowledge, Mr. Bush has never offered a public explanation for this statement; but, there can be no doubt that, should he be pressed to do so, he would say that he was confused in his recoillection because of the emotional drama of the day and that, “obviously,” he must have been mentally visualizing video replays of the event.

Such plausible denial would be readily accepted by the press and the American public. Many people I know honestly believe they saw both planes strike the buildings on the morning of 9/11. When I tell them the first impact was not shown on television that day, they look puzzled and ask: “Are you sure?” This is understandable. The two impacts were eighteen minutes apart. By the time of the second impact, there were multiple cameras to capture it from diverse angles and, from that moment forward, television viewers were inundated with replays of these images. The same plane was viewed from several locations, creating the impression that they were different planes.”

Bush recalls his morning, clearly, sequencially, without hesistation, on two separate occasions. He witnessed the first impact on a television screen. How?

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