Published March 24, 2005
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. – Excerpts from an interview with Gov. Jeb Bush late Thursday afternoon:
On an affidavit from neurologist William Cheshire, which he wrote based on watching two hours of video tape and visiting with Schiavo for 90 minutes. Cheshire didn't physically examine her.
"It's a pretty compelling statement. It's not definitive because there needs to be further review, which you can't do when someone is being starved to death. We need to stabilize, which is what we were attempting to do yesterday in requesting that we have the rightdration and then allow for the proper testing. His review of these tapes suggests that she's not in a persistent vegetative state ... What it said is there is a higher probability that she's not than that she is...."
"If anybody ever read, and I hope they do, this affidavit from this neurologist, you could see why people would be motivated, as I am, to sustain this woman's life."
On the Department of Children & Families attempt to take temporary protective custody and Pinellas County Circuit Judge George Greer's order prohibiting the intervention:
"The judge is so focused on carrying out whatever decision he made years ago, that I guess the additional information he just rejected out of hand, and rejected the ability of the department to go in and stabilize her. It isn't possible right now to remove her. ... Given the fact that she's being starved to death it would be difficult to move her."
On whether the state would act to keep Schiavo alive despite Greer's ruling:
"We never said that unilaterally we would do something that's against the court. I've been asked to do it by a lot of people — a lot of the advice I'm getting over the Internet and over television and the like. I know that there were lots of rumors of things that aren't accurate. I have a duty to uphold the law and I have been very consistent about that...
"It seemed like a big story that never was confirmed because it wasn't true. If we had that ability to do it, if there wasn't an injunction, we would do it right now. We would stabilize her by giving her hydration. We couldn't put a feeding tube in....
"There was already a court order in place. The opportunity we had was appealing his decision...
"It is still my hope that we will have a chance to provide hydration for Terri Schiavo, but if there is an injunction by the courts in this case, that does not make it possible to do so ... The judge ruled, we appealed this morning. Had he not created an injunction for staying this we would have a right to do it...
"I have talked to a whole lot of people that I respect, not just now but the first time when Terri's law was passed, to make the determination of what my powers are and they are not as expansive as people would want them to be. And I understand, they're acting on their heart and I fully appreciate their sentiments and the emotions that go with this, but .... I've consistently said that I can't go beyond what my powers are and I'm not going to do it. There are 90,000 abortions that take place in this state every year. That troubles me more than I can ever describe, but that doesn't mean that I have some secret powers to stop that. There are a lot of things that go on in society that trouble me and this is certainly one of them. To have someone starve to death troubles me greatly and we have done everything we can and we will continue to do so within the powers that I have."
On Judge Greer:
"Every decision is just cut and dry, quick...
"I go back to an issue that I have to deal with with regularity, which is the death penalty process. There it seems like the courts go the extra mile to take the time for an extra hearing, will review an additional filing, will be deliberative as they should because it's the taking of life. And I just question why not Terri Schiavo? Why is it so cut and dry? Why is the focus becoming so narrow. And I don't have an answer to it. I don't know Judge Greer. I don't have personal animus towards him at all. I know that he's going through very difficult times just like all of the other people who have been actively involved in this. My heart goes out to him for that. I know this can't be easy for him."