Top Bushisms in the Category of: Malapropisms

A malapropism is the ludicrous misuse of a word, especially by confusion with one that sounds nearly the same. George W. Bush is the king of malapropisms, outstripeing Ronald Reagan and supersizing even Dan Quayle.

1. "I don't have to accept their tenants. I was trying to convince those college students to accept my tenants. And I reject any labeling me because I happened to go to the university." - George W. Bush, Today, Feb. 23, 2000 (The word that seems to be beyond his vocabulary is "tenets.")
2. "This is Preservation Month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You gotta preserve." - George W. Bush, speaking during "Perseverance Month" at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua, NH, Jan. 28, 2000 (No, you have to persevere. Or else be well connected.)
3. "We cannot let terrorists and rogue nations hold this nation hostile or hold our allies hostile.'' - George W. Bush, Des Moines, IA, Aug. 21, 2000 [AUDIO] (He, of course, was trying to say "hostage.")
4. "Really proud of it. A great campaign. And I'm really pleased with the organization and the thousands of South Carolinians that worked on my behalf. And I'm very gracious and humbled." - George W. Bush, to Cokie Roberts on This Week, Feb. 20, 2000 (He may be gracious, but he was searching for "grateful.")
5. "Anyway, I'm so thankful, and so gracious - I'm gracious that my brother Jeb is concerned about the hemisphere as well." - George W. Bush, June 4, 2001 (Apparently, "grateful" is not actually in his vocabulary.)
6. "I am mindful not only of preserving executive powers for myself, but for predecessors as well." - George W. Bush, Washington, DC, Jan. 29, 2001 (The word that seems to be beyond his vocabulary is "successors.")
7. "Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods." - George W. Bush, Dec. 20, 2000 (And I like to call it neighborhoodic in nature, but that doesn't make it right.)
8. "We want our teachers to be trained so they can meet the obligations, their obligations as teachers. We want them to know how to teach the science of reading. In order to make sure there's not this kind of federal - federal cufflink." - George W. Bush, at Fritsche Middle School, Milwaukee, WI, March 30, 2000 (I love this one! Will that cufflink come with the presidential seal? I assume he meant "federal handcuffs.")
9. "I want to remind you all that in order to fight and win the war, it requires an expenditure of money that is commiserate with keeping a promise to our troops to make sure that they're well-paid, well-trained, well-equipped." - George W. Bush, Washington, DC, Dec. 15, 2003 [AUDIO] (Commiserate means to "sympathize with;" the word the President was looking for was "commensurate.")
10. "I want you to know that farmers are not going to be secondary thoughts to a Bush administration. They will be in the forethought of our thinking." - George W. Bush, Salinas, CA, Aug. 10, 2000 (I suppose he either meant "foremost in our thoughts" or "in the forefront of our thinking.")
11. "The enemy understands a free Iraq will be a major defeat in their ideology of hatred. That's why they're fighting so vociferously." - George W. Bush, first presidential debate, Coral Gables, FL, Sept. 30, 2004 (Since "vociferously" means loudly, he probably meant "fiercely.")
12. "It was just inebriating what Midland was all about then." - George W. Bush, reflecting in 1994 about growing up in Midland, TX (I love this one for its subtlety. Although Bush was well known as an expert on inebriation in his youth, you have to assume he meant "intoxicating.")
13. "This is still a dangerous world. It's a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mental losses." - George W. Bush, at a South Carolina oyster roast, Jan. 13, 2000 (He apparently meant to say "potential nuclear launches," and misfired badly, perhaps due to actual mental losses.)
14. "Oftentimes, we live in a processed world - you know, people focus on the process and not results." - George W. Bush, Washington, DC, May 29, 2003 (I suppose that's better than living in a pre-processed world.)
  15. "Like you, I have been disgraced about what I've seen on TV that took place in prison." - George W. Bush, Parkersburg, WV, May 13, 2004 (I think so too, but the word he probably wanted is "disgusted.")  
  16. "I want to thank the astronauts who are with us, the courageous spatial entrepreneurs who set such a wonderful example for the young of our country." - George W. Bush, Washington, DC Jan. 14, 2004 (A really weird phrase, even for Bush. First, "spatial" usually refers to the dimension of space (even on earth), rather than outer space. Second, our astronauts are government employees, and they are no more entrepreneurs than the folks working for the DMV or the Pentagon.)  
  17. "We've got hundreds of sites to exploit, looking for the chemical and biological weapons that we know Saddam Hussein had prior to our entrance into Iraq." - George W. Bush, Santa Clara, CA, May 2, 2003 (He meant "explore," of course, but apparently had exploiting on his mind.)  
  18. "When Iraq is liberated, you will be treated, tried, and persecuted as a war criminal." - George W. Bush, Washington, DC, Jan. 22, 2003 (He was searching for "prosecuted," but this way is the only way to make such a serious subject seem funny.)  
  19. "[The Space Shuttle] Columbia carried in its payroll classroom experiments from some of our students in America." - George W. Bush, Bethesda, Md., Feb. 3, 2003 (The shuttle carries a "payload," of course. The government covers NASA's payroll.)  
  20. "The public education system in America is one of the most important foundations of our democracy. After all, it is where children from all over America learn to be responsible citizens, and learn to have the skills necessary to take advantage of our fantastic opportunistic society." - George W. Bush, May 1, 2002 (Much of the world views American-style capitalism as opportunistic ('taking immediate advantage, often unethically, of any circumstance of possible benefit'), but not fantastic. The President meant to say something like "a society of fantastic opportunity.")  
  21. "Colin Powell has cobbled together one of the great coalitions ever, a coalition determined to fight terror wherever we find it." - George W. Bush, El Paso, TX, Mar. 21, 2002 (Since "cobbled together" implies a slipshod job done in haste, I assume the President simply meant to say "put together" or "pieced together.")  
  22. "A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness." - George W. Bush, The Edge with Paula Zahn, Sept. 18, 2000 (As the comedian said while dying on stage, "Give me the anecdote!" Bush meant "antidote," of course. Many Americans make this mistake, though usually the distinction between these words is mastered by the time you get degrees from both Yale and Harvard.)  
  23. "I thought how proud I am to be standing up beside my dad. Never did it occur to me that he would become the gist for cartoonists." - George W. Bush, Newsweek, Feb. 28, 2000 (Another common mistake - I didn't master the distinction between "gist" (the central idea) and "grist" (grain for grinding, an idiom meaning "useful") until I was a almost 20.)  
  24. "I am a person who recognizes the fallacy of humans." - George W. Bush, on Oprah, September 19, 2000 (Human beings -including the President - are occasionally guilty of fallacies (arguing through invalid reasoning), but human beings cannot be fallacies. Presumably candidate Bush meant "fallibility.")  
  25. "I do not agree with this notion that somehow if I go to try to attract votes and to lead people toward a better tomorrow somehow I get subscribed to some - some doctrine gets subscribed to me." - George W. Bush, Meet the Press, Feb. 13, 2000 (First, Bush reversed the subject-verb-object relationship he wanted to use. But the main problem is that the precise word he needed, "ascribed," is apparently not in his vocabulary.)  
  26. "We need to change that attitude about how prolific we can be with the people's money." - George W. Bush, Mar. 16, 2001 (Close, but no cigar, since prolific means productive. This is another common mistake that only a good education could remedy. He meant to say "profligate," meaning recklessly wasteful.)  
27. "So on behalf of a well-oiled unit of people who came together to serve something greater than themselves, congratulations." - George W. Bush, addressing University of Nebraska national women's volleyball champions in Washington, DC, May 31, 2001 (First, the President is claiming to speak "on behalf" of the Nebraska volleyball team, rather than on behalf of the American people. Beyond that, this sounds OK until you remember that when machines are well-oiled, they are efficient. When people are well-oiled, they are drunk.)
  28. "After the bombing, most Iraqis saw what the perpetuators of this attack were trying to do." - George W. Bush, on the bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra in Iraq, March 13, 2006, Washington, DC [AUDIO]  
  29. "I want to appreciate those of you who wear our nation's uniform for your sacrifice." - George W. Bush, Jacksonville, Fla., Jan. 14, 2005 (He should have said "thank.")  


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