6,125. 10/9/2004

On October 9, 2004, during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, President Bush said: ” ‘I vowed to our countrymen that I would do everything I could to protect the American people. …And I saw a unique threat in Saddam Hussein, as did my opponent [John Kerry], because we thought he had weapons of mass destruction. And the unique threat was that he could give weapons of mass destruction to an organization like al Qaeda, and the harm they inflicted on us with airplanes would be multiplied greatly by weapons of mass destruction. And that was a serious, serious threat. So I tried diplomacy. I went to the United Nations. But as we learned in the same report I quoted, Saddam Hussein was gaming the oil-for-food program to get rid of sanctions. He was trying to get rid of sanctions for a reason. He wanted to restart his weapons programs. We all thought there was weapons there, Robin [an audience member whom Bush was answering]. My opponent thought there was weapons there. That’s why he called him a grave threat. I wasn’t happy when we found out there wasn’t weapons, and we’ve got an intelligence group together to figure out why. But Saddam Hussein was a unique threat, and the world is better off without him in power. And my opponent’s plans lead me to conclude that Saddam Hussein would still be in power and the world would be more dangerous.’ ”

 – Courtesy FDCH E-Media, Transcript: Second Presidential Debate, The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2004

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