Bush’s ‘Sickening Feeling’ on WMDs Was an Inside Joke With the Press

“I had a sickening feeling every time I thought about it. I still do.” That’s how George W. Bush referred to the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in his new book Decision Points. The quote is featured in Time magazine’s Verbatim section (11/15/10), and has been discussed pretty widely.

This is an interesting claim.When Bush appeared at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner on March 23, 2004, his sickening feeling was gone–and replaced by his funny bone . Bush’s speech included a routine where he joked about the fruitless search for Iraq’s deadly weapons, showing slides where administration officials hunted around the White House offices for the weapons. (You can see a partial video of that speechhere or here;both include commentary critical of Bush.)

The media reaction at the time, as FAIR noted (Extra!, 5-6/04), was to defend Bush’s jokes–the L.A. Times had an editorial called “Commander in Comedy.” Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly said, “You know, trying to be funny at these things is so difficult, and he is quite good at it. I mean, he really is very good at self-deprecating humor. The pictures were funny. I laughed at the photos. I mean, he looks goofy, and he’s got that great deadpan delivery.” You can bet few media outlets will recall this now.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.