Saturday, April 15, 2006

President Bush Meets My iPod

I waited with baited breath for the VH1 Best Week Ever blog to produce a "Friday Five" iPod post like they did here and here.

Well, they didn't. Wracked with despair, I came up with an idea. It will be either a dismal failure or a terrific success. If you like it, please say so. If you hate it, do that too.

Here goes:

I copied a transcript from an interview Tim Russert did with President Bush on Meet the Press in early 2004, nine months before the last presidential election. You can read the unabridged transcript here.

What I did was erase most of the President's responses, and replace them with the first 58 song titles from the BilliPod, on shuffle. It's too lengthy for someone to reproduce in the comments and try on their own, but if you want to try, go ahead. Or, e-mail me your version and I will find a way to post it. I did abridge the interview some (as seen with ellipsis...) and my replacement of the President's comments are in bold.

Some of these make very little sense, but others are funny and some are just plain uncanny. It's also interesting to see the questions Russert was asking over two years ago.

And away we go!





Tim Russert: And we are in the Oval Office this morning with the President of the United States. Mr. President, welcome back to “Meet The Press.”

President Bush: "Be My Baby" by the Ronettes

Russert: On Friday, you announced a committee, commission to look into intelligence failures regarding the Iraq war and our entire intelligence community. You have been reluctant to do that for some time. Why?

President Bush: "Frozen" by Madonna

Russert: Prime Minister Blair has set up a similar commission in Great Britain...His is going to report back in July...Ours is not going to be until March of 2005, five months after the presidential election...Shouldn't the American people have the benefit of the commission before the election?

President Bush: "Finest Worksong (Mutual Drum Horn Mix)" by R.E.M.

Russert: Will you testify before the commission?

President Bush: "My Ass is on Fire" by Mr. Bungle (I kid you not)

Russert: There’s another commission right now looking into September 11th...Will you testify before that commission?

President Bush: "Calypso" by Robert Randolph and the Family Band

Russert: Would you submit for questioning, though, to the 9/11 Commission?

President Bush: "Under the Blade" by Twisted Sister (I swear, I didn't cheat!)

Russert: Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican ... said he is absolutely convinced we will capture Osama bin Laden before the election.

President Bush: "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones (This response alone, thanks to the magic of Shuffle, is worth the post.)

Russert: Do we have a pretty good idea where Osama is?

President Bush: "A Different Drum" by Peter Gabriel

Russert: Let me turn to Iraq. And this is the whole idea of what you based your decision to go to war on...The night you took the country to war, March 17th, you said this: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

President Bush: "Hide Away" by Mick Jagger (weird)

Russert: That apparently is not the case.

President Bush: "Thirteen" by Big Star (See, if I was cheating, that would have made sense)

Russert: How do you respond to critics who say that you brought the nation to war under false pretenses?

President Bush: "Pygmy Twylyte" by Frank Zappa

Russert: Mr. President, the Director of the CIA said that his briefings had qualifiers and caveats, but when you spoke to the country, you said "there is no doubt." When Vice President Cheney spoke to the country, he said "there is no doubt." Secretary Powell, "no doubt." Secretary Rumsfeld, "no doubt, we know where the weapons are." You said, quote, "The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency.” “Saddam Hussein is a threat that we must deal with as quickly as possible."

You gave the clear sense that this was an immediate threat that must be dealt with.

President Bush: I think, if I might remind you that in my language I called it a grave and gathering threat, but I don't want to get into word contests. But what I do want to share with you is my sentiment at the time. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a danger to America. No doubt.

Russert: In what way?

President Bush: "Smoking" by Bill Hicks

Russert: But can you launch a pre-emptive war without iron-clad, absolute intelligence that he had weapons of mass destruction?

President Bush: "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Russert: But it may have been wrong.

President Bush: "Walking Blues" by R.L. Burnside

Russert: ...Do you believe if you had gone to the Congress and said [Sadaam Hussein]should be removed because he's a threat to his people but I'm not sure he has weapons of mass destruction, Congress would authorize war?

President Bush: "Up the Wolves" by The Mountain Goats

Russert: There’s a sense in the country that the intelligence that was given was ambiguous, and that you took it and molded it and shaped it — your opponents have said "hyped" it — and rushed to war.

President Bush: "Stand by Me" by John Lennon (Now, THAT'S irony)

Russert: And now, in the world, if you, in the future, say we must go into North Korea or we must go into Iran because they have nuclear capability, either this country or the world will say, ‘Excuse you, Mr. President, we want it now in hard, cold facts.’

President Bush: "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" by Ozzie Kotani

Russert: ...There are lots of madmen in the world, Fidel Castro … in Iran, in North Korea, in Burma, and yet we don't go in and take down those governments.

President Bush: "Tuesday's Gone" by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Russert: On Iraq, the vice president said, “we would be greeted as liberators.”

President Bush: "Stuart" by The Dead Milkmen (lyrics here)

Russert: It's now nearly a year, and we are in a very difficult situation. Did we miscalculate how we would be treated and received in Iraq?

President Bush: "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" by Bruce Springsteen

Russert: Are you surprised by the level and intensity of resistance?

President Bush: "Mindshaker Meltdown" by Mother Love Bone

Russert: If the Iraqis choose, however, an Islamic extremist regime, would you accept that, and would that be better for the United States than Saddam Hussein?

President Bush: "Big Lizard" by The Dead Milkmen

Russert: You do seem to have changed your mind from the 2000 campaign. In a debate, you said, "I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called 'nation-building.'"

President Bush: "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" by Ricky Van Shelton (cover of Elvis song)

Russert: We clearly are involved in nation-building.

President Bush: "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" by Aretha Franklin

Russert: But this is nation-building.

President Bush: "Cemetery" by Silverchair (hmmmm)

Russert: Are you now willing to allow the United Nations to play a central role in the reconstruction?

President Bush: "Knives Out" by Radiohead (interesting)

Russert: In transferring power, the U.N. will play a central role?

President Bush: "Yesterdays" by Miles Davis

Russert: Before we take a break, now that we have determined there are probably not these stockpiles of weapons that we had thought, and the primary rationale for the war had been to disarm Saddam Hussein, Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defense Secretary, said that you had settled on weapons of mass destruction as an issue we could agree on, but there were three. “One was the weapons of mass destruction, the second is the support for terrorism, and third is Saddam's criminal treatment of his Iraqi people.”

He said the “third one by itself is a reason to help Iraqis but it's not a reason to put American kids' lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did.” ... Now looking back, in your mind, is it worth the loss of 530 American lives and 3,000 injuries and woundings simply to remove Saddam Hussein, even though there were no weapons of mass destruction?

President Bush: "Not About Love" by Fiona Apple

Russert: In light of not finding the weapons of mass destruction, do you believe the war in Iraq is a war of choice or a war of necessity?

President Bush: "Walking Blues" by Robert Johnson (Weird, 2nd appearance of that song)

Russert: We’re going to take a quick break.

President Bush: "Apple Tree" by Wolfmother

Russert: We’re going to come back and talk to the President a lot more about our world and our economy here at home and the presidential election of 2004. We’re in the Oval Office with President George W. Bush.


Russert: And we are back in the Oval Office talking to the President of the United States.

Mr. President, this campaign is fully engaged. The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Terence McAuliffe, said this last week: "I look forward to that debate when John Kerry, a war hero with a chest full of medals, is standing next to George Bush, a man who was AWOL in the Alabama National Guard. He didn't show up when he should have showed up…"

President Bush: Yeah

Russert: How do you respond?

President Bush: "Four Sticks" by The Rollins Band (Led Zeppelin Cover)

Russert: The Boston Globe and the Associated Press have gone through some of the records and said there’s no evidence that you reported to duty in Alabama during the summer and fall of 1972.

President Bush: "Communication Breakdown" by Led Zeppelin (my shuffle loves that song)

Russert: You did — were allowed to leave eight months before your term expired. Was there a reason?

President Bush: "Girls on Film" by Duran Duran (Priceless!)

Russert: When allegations were made about John McCain or Wesley Clark on their military records, they opened up their entire files. Would you agree to do that?

President Bush: "Red Light" by The Strokes

Russert: But you would allow pay stubs, tax records, anything to show that you were serving during that period?

President Bush: "Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains

Russert: But you authorize the release of everything to settle this?

President Bush: "Goat" by Pearl Jam

Russert: Were you favor of the war in Vietnam?

President Bush: "Is This It" by The Strokes (is he dropping a hint?)

Russert: But you didn't volunteer or enlist to go.

President Bush: "It Won't Be Long" by The Beatles (apparently, he's done)

Russert: Let me turn to the economy...And this is one of my charts that I would like to show you....The Bush-Cheney first three years, the unemployment rate has gone up 33 percent, there has been a loss of 2.2 million jobs. We've gone from a $281 billion surplus to a $521 billion deficit. The debt has gone from $5.7 trillion, to $7 trillion — up 23 percent.

Based on that record, why should the American people rehire you as CEO?

President Bush: "The Lemon Song" by Led Zeppelin

Russert: But when you proposed your first tax cut in 2001, you said this was going to generate 800,000 new jobs. Your tax cut of 2003, create a million new jobs. That has not happened.

President Bush: "Custard Pie" by, you guessed it, Led Zeppelin

Russert: The General Accounting Office, which are the nation's auditors ... have done a study of our finances...And this is what your legacy will be to the next generation. It says that our “current fiscal policy is unsustainable.” They did a computer simulation that shows that balancing the budget in 2040 could require either cutting total federal spending in half or doubling federal taxes...How — why, as a fiscal conservative as you like to call yourself, would you allow a $500 billion deficit and this kind of deficit disaster?

President Bush: "MFC" by Pearl Jam, live in San Diego, July 10, 1998 ("MFC" means "mini fast cars, inspired by cars and traffic in Italy)

Russert: But your base conservatives — and listen to Rush Limbaugh, the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, they're all saying you are the biggest spender in American history.

President Bush: "Paint it Black" by The Meteors

Russert: ...Every president since the Civil War who has gone to war has raised taxes, not cut them.

President Bush: "You Just Can't Push Me (Demo Version) by The Cars

Russert: Raised to pay for it. Why not say, I will not cut taxes any more until we have balanced the budget? If our situation is so precious and delicate because of the war, why do you keep cutting taxes and draining money from the treasury?

President Bush: "Paint it Black" by The London Symphony Orchestra

Russert: How about no more tax cuts until the budget is balanced?

President Bush: " 'Au'a ia E Kama Kona moku" by Kawena Pukui from Hawaiian Drum Chants (Translation: "Kama refused to part with his island").

Russert: We’re going to take another quick break. We’ll be right back with more of our conversation with the President in the Oval Office, right after this.


Russert: And we are back.

Mr. President, last time you were on this show you said that you wanted to change the tone in the nation.

President Bush: "Mosquito Knees" by Stan Getz

Russert: This is Time magazine: "Love Him or Hate Him: Why George Bush arouses such passion and what it means for the country."

President Bush: "Take It or Leave It" by Jet (how bizarre)

Russert: Tom Daschle, the Democratic Leader in the Senate, said that you've changed the tone for the worse; that it's more acrimonious, more confrontations, that you are the most partisan political president he's ever worked with.

Our exit polls of primary voters, not just Democrats but Independents in South Carolina and New Hampshire, more than 70 percent of them said they are angry or dissatisfied with you, and they point to this whole idea of being a uniter as opposed to a divider.

Why do you think you are perceived as such a divider?

President Bush: "Someday" by The Strokes

Russert: But around the world, in Europe, favorable ratings — unfavorable ratings, 70 in Germany, 67 in France....Why do people hold you in such low esteem?

President Bush: "On the Run from the MI5" by Arctic Monkeys (How funny! MI5 is the British counterintelligence and security agency)

Russert: Two polls out this weekend show're trailing John Kerry in both U.S.A. Today and Newsweek polls by seven and five points.

President Bush: "Pride (In the Name of Love)" by U2

Russert: This is what John Kerry had to say last year. He said that his colleagues are appalled at the quote "President's lack of knowledge. They've managed him the same way they've managed Ronald Reagan. They send him out to the press for one event a day. They put him in a brown jacket and jeans and get him to move some hay or move a truck, and all of a sudden he's the Marlboro Man. I know this guy. He was two years behind me at Yale. I knew him, and he's still the same guy.”

Did you know him at Yale?

President Bush: "Nutty" by Thelonious Monk

Russert: How do you respond to that?

President Bush: "Best of You" by Foo Fighters

Russert: You were both in Skull and Bones, the secret society.

President Bush: "Heaven is in Your Mind" by Traffic

Russert: What does that mean for America? The conspiracy theorists are going to go wild.

President Bush: "See America Right" by The Mountain Goats (strange co-inky-dink?)

Russert: Are you prepared to lose?

President Bush: "Church-Renewing Vows (Sweet Release)" by Wynton Marsalis (Not as strange as you'd first suspect)

Russert: If you did, what would you do?

President Bush: "Some Swedish Trees" by The Mountain Goats

Russert: Biggest issues in the upcoming campaign?

President Bush: "Drive My Car" by The Donnas (on a Beatles tribute album) (Note, there have been multiple car references-the President is addicted to oil, remember.)

Russert: Mr. President, we thank you for sharing your views. I hope we can come back and talk about issues during the course of the campaign.

President Bush: "Break My Body" by the Pixies

Russert: That's all for today. We’ll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's “Meet The Press.”

Well, let me know what you thought. I, personally, had tons of fun and enjoyed greatly. If this goes over well, perhaps I will make this a recurring game.

1 comment:

Taylor said...

My attention span wouldn't allow me to read the whole thing, but what I did read I thought was pretty funny. :-)