January 13th, 2009
03:25 PM ET
7 years ago

Ex-Bush aide takes blame for 'Mission Accomplished'

Bush delivered a speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003.

Bush delivered a speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003.

(CNN) - It's a moment President Bush has repeatedly called a mistake: Delivering a speech on board the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Spring of 2003 with a "Mission Accomplished" banner featured prominently behind him.

But the much-maligned photo-op wasn't the president's fault at all, according to former White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett.

Bartlett, currently a political analyst with CBS, said Tuesday he was the one who actually  gave the final go-ahead of the event.

"Quite frankly, yours truly was the guy who actually signed off," he said Tuesday. "I regret it to this day, because it did send the wrong message."

In his final press conference Monday, Bush immediately cited the moment when asked by a reporter what mistakes he had made over the last eight years.

"Clearly, putting a 'mission accomplished' on an aircraft carrier was a mistake," he said. "We were trying to say something differently but, nevertheless, it conveyed a different message."

Bush has also previously defended the banner as pertaining to the mission of the crew on board the Aircraft carrier, not the Iraqi invasion as a whole.

Still, Bartlett credited Bush Tuesday for not blaming his staff for the misstep.

"[That's] why he endears so much loyalty from people like myself and others who had worked for him," Bartlett said.


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. Franky

    Thanks for reminding me guys...again! LOL!!!

    January 13, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. Rose

    No amount of scapegoating and placing blame on aides will negate the fact that GW Bush is incompetent – definitely the worst president ever. Good riddence.

    January 13, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. tommy

    I think that the third congress will not get much pubilicty cause of obama and biden !

    January 13, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Hate sells tickets

    How noble of Dan to fall on his sword.They dont call him "The Pear" for nothing.

    January 13, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Legionnaire

    Bush and his people are so shameless. No matter how they try to spin the truth now Bush will go down as the worst president in American History.

    January 13, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Alex

    Wait, let me get this straight, the President of the United States of America had no say in what he said, where he said it, or what he said it in front of? Can you possibly cop out any more?

    January 13, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. carol

    Well, this just shows you what a bright spark we've had all this time running the country.
    The banner does however ring true now for us Dems...MISSION ACCOMPLISHED now we have a much smarter man to run this country.

    January 13, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Raymond Christopher

    So Dan Bartlett likes a boss who covers up the subordinate's error?

    January 13, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. Michael in Houston

    Given the scope of damage inflcted upon this country by Bush, I think who was responsible for hanging the stupid banner is the least of our problems. Besides, only a small number of people thought "something" was accomplished at that time anyways and those people dont count as they probably still believe it.

    January 13, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Michael

    Bush admits to the obvious errors and then he lines up a flunkie to take responsibility for his error. Make no mistake, Bush cares very deeply about his legacy. Problem is, you can't spin disaster.

    January 13, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Melissa

    Excuses excuses. Doesn't mean I'm going to give the man a break. Stupidity is as stupidity does.

    January 13, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    It would have been better for Bush to admit the mistake, then to have the sacrifical lamb take the blame. Gee-–doesn't a president have a mind his own?

    January 13, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. northside irish

    I remember what a man-crush Rush Limbaugh had for Bush at that moment and him mentioning that banner specifically. Will he air a retraction now?

    January 13, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. chuck

    DAN YOU ARE THE MAN. NOW CBS MUST BE CAREFUL WITH DAN IS THE MAN IN THE VAN.

    January 13, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. Proud American

    He's still an Idiot.... 7 more days

    January 13, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Virginia

    Thank you, Dan, for not stabbing President Bush in the back like others who have worked for him. You and Ari Fleischer need to get together and write a book about how good Mr. Bush was. Can't hurt.

    January 13, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Chico Escuela

    But wasn't it bush who flew in in the F18? No need to fall on your sword for Bush Mr. Bartlett. The banner was bad enough, but the grandstanding was way worse. Bushe's actions were like celebrating after hitting a home run, then finding out the ball went foul.....

    January 13, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. NW

    Great. Only took six years.

    January 13, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. MikeH

    If anyone remembers at the time, the Bush administration lied to the nation saying it was the Navy's idea to put the "Mission Accomplished" sign up.

    This was the first indication that a Ministry of Propaganda had been set up. The first steps taken towards setting up a police state

    January 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. REDBUG

    OH WHO CARES, IDIOT!!!!!!

    January 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. ConsiderThis, FL

    So, let me get this right: A White House Communications Director decided that it would be macho to declare the Iraq

    January 13, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. Nikes or Pumps, which to throw?

    The buck never stops with Bush. Only 7 days left until that awful smell leaves our capitol.

    January 13, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. Sherrol in Canada

    Another fool that has bought into the legacy that Bush 43 is trying to create for himself.

    I wonder how much prodding it took to get Don Bartlett to agree to make that statement.

    January 13, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. ConsiderThis, FL

    So, let me get this right... a White Hourse Communications Director decided that it would be "macho" to declare the Iraq war "Mission Accomplished" and PRESIDENT BUSH said, "yeah, yeah. That's the ticket. Mission Accomplished! Yeah, Yeah." Bush is dumb AND dumber.

    January 13, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. kayla

    THE TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE. ATLEAST FOR YOUR CONCIENCE. WE KNEW ALL ALONG YOU COULD NOT BE TRUSTED. YOU OR ANY REPUG. THAT IS WHY YOU LOST BIG TIME.

    January 13, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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