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. Precious Coker, NY

    Yes it did send a wrong and costly message!!!
    The "Arrogance" against a people, religion and beliefs is what the USA needs to overcome.

    January 13, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. We're NOT "your friends"!!!

    Yeah, sure. I believe you about as much as I believe our current, and soon to be booted president!

    January 13, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Sue

    We are all humans and make mistake. Who among us can say that they are perfect? None but God.

    May the Lord continue to bless President Bush and his family.

    January 13, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. netta form virginia

    What no bush bashers out there!You aren't going to say anthing . That is not true it was his fault he is to blame for everything in this world. Blah Blah Blah atleast one person takes the responsibility and don't put the blame on someone else.

    January 13, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. dmjakers

    nearly six years later he pretends to fall on his sword?
    how lame is that?
    who's paying him and how much?

    January 13, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Mickie

    Yeah, yeah – if it took this long to fess up – how much are you getting for taking the fall?

    January 13, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Jan

    re: "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."

    LOL!!!
    Bush gets credit from his own administration for not holding anyone in his administration accountable for their incompetency!

    What a joke.

    January 13, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. California Gold

    No matter how they try to explain it away this gross "Mission Accomplished" episode will be forever linked to this President. So will all his others episodes he would like to talk his way out of. No wonder people throw shoes at this moron.

    January 13, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. karen-Phoenix

    Whats his excuse for Katrina, an un needed war that killed 100,000 Iraqis and how many Americans and how much of my tax dollar was GIVEN to Iraq to pay them off and not shoot our soldiers and Dubi????? How MUCH money went to Haliburton and built Dubi. I NEVER want to see Bush again on my television!!! AND I was a republican for 40 years!!!

    January 13, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Billy

    You certainly didn't think GW Bush would take the blame, do you. He doesn't accept responsibility for anything. Nothing is his fault, just everyone elses.

    Good riddance President Albatross.

    January 13, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. a little sad

    Weren't they claiming that the banner was "purely coincidental" at the time?

    Is this "confession is good for the soul" week?

    January 13, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Laverne

    At this point, it does not even matter! It does not change the way things were handled and the way Bush will be remembered!

    January 13, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Veteran in Kansas

    Frankly from what I have heard about this administration, no action was ever taken by any member that was not approved or blessed by either the President or the Vice President. So unless Bartlett was hung out to dry after the fact it was approved prior to going up.

    January 13, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. bburgin

    Some people think Bush is an idiot. I dont' but I do think he is sly like a fox. He managed to break this country and the people did not even know what was happening. They were just so proud they had a Republican in office. Never checked to see what he was doing to the tax payers. Now we are here and he is set up for life. Sound fair to you? I am so sick of hearing someone say, well it was not Bush's fault. Well who was in charge??????????????

    January 13, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. BS not Maverick

    Good then we have someone we can throw in jail.

    January 13, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. James, Ho. TX

    Did Dan Bartlett also sign the contract on 9/11 ?

    January 13, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. Michael

    Wait a minute! The original story (and used for a long time) was that banner had nothting to do with Iraq. The Navy put it up to congratulate the carrier from returning from it's Mission. Are the Bush people lying?....Again?

    January 13, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  18. llinmpls

    Since we get to keep beating this dead horse . . . Dear Mr. W, It was your fault, you call the shots, you saw the banner, you did accomplish your mission. You just don't want to say what the real mission was.

    January 13, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Peter (CA)

    While I don't doubt that there were a number of idiots in the room when these things were happening, Bush's attitude at that time was that the mission WAS accomplished. The staff took their cues from him.
    So, fall on your sword, Mr. Bartlett, but you were only a small part of the problem.

    January 13, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. S Bayer

    Check out the book, The Brilliant Thought and Strategies of George W. Bush: From Diapers to Rashes. Hilarious!

    January 13, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. david goldman

    NOW IF BUSH CAN FIND ANOTHER IDIOT TO TAKE THE

    BLAME FOR THE WHOLE 8 YEARS OF UNTEMPERED GREED,

    DISLOYALTY TO NATION, COMPLETE DISHONESTY, BRAKING OF

    NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL LAW, BIGOTRY, COMPLETE

    DISREGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE IN THIS COUNTRY & OTHERS,

    RAMPED FRAUD & UNFATHOMABLE INCOMPETENCE,

    HE MIGHT HAVE THE LEGACY HE THINKS HE DESERVES.

    NO THAT WON'T WORK EITHER. AFTER ALL HE IS THE "DECIDER".

    January 13, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Bill R., Streamwood, IL

    It's nice that one of Bush's staff is falling on his sword for his former boss.

    But as Harry Truman wisely observed, "The buck stops here."

    I believe that it is time for W to take responsibility for all of his actions, not just those that had good results.

    January 13, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Paul C.

    Maybe the aide will take the blame for Iraq, Katrina, prisoner torturing and all the other Bush disasters. They were all acts of God and no one is really at fault.

    January 13, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. BANNION

    THIS SPEAKS TO THE IGNORANCE, AND ARROGANCE OF BUSH, AND THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM IN HIS ADMINISTRATION. FOR THE LAST 8 YEARS, HE, AND THESE PEOPLE HAVE LED THIS COUNTRY DOWN THE ROAD THAT WE ARE TRAVELING ON TODAY. I JUST HOPE THAT OBAMA DOESN'T INHERIT THE BLANE FOR BUSH'S MONUMENTAL FAILURES. BUSH WAS FAILURE IN THE BUSINESS WORLD, AS A CEO, A OWNER OF A BASEBALL TEAM, AND AS A GOV. AND NOW AS A PRESIDENT. UNLIKE HIM, I THINK THAT HE OUGHT TO GET A STRAW HAT, AND GO SIT ON A BEACH SOMEWHERE. "OUT OF SIGHT, AND OUT OF MIND".............

    January 13, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  25. Paris

    Now if CNN had the same integrity and would admit that they were extremely biased in reporting the 2008 election that would be good.
    CNN owes this nation an apology for taking sides and supporting Obama under the umbrella of journalism.

    I am glad to see that this Ex-aid is not a coward like our media.

    January 13, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7