Barack Obama Attacks President Bush's Post-9/11 Message to America

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," October 8, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: A lot of you remember the tragedy of 9/11 and where you were on that day.

And President Bush did some smart things at the outset, but one of the opportunities that was missed was, when he spoke to the American people, he said, "Go out and shop."


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, you know, bashing President Bush for everything is nothing new for Democrats, but going after how the president brought the country after 9/11 is something else. Even his harshest critics praised him for that at that time.

And, as for his message at the time, to just go shop, well, let's go to the videotape and see what he really said.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This great nation will never be intimidated.


BUSH: People are going about their daily lives, working and shopping and playing, worshiping at churches and synagogues and mosques, going to movies, and to baseball games.


CAVUTO: Steve Forbes says, President Bush's message at the time was the right message for that national crisis and for today's financial crisis.

Steve, it always bugs me when I hear it summed up, he was just telling us to go shop. That is not what he was saying. It was part of a larger thing he was saying about try to get on with your lives.

What do you think of the way it has been misconstrued since?

STEVE FORBES, PRESIDENT & CEO, FORBES INC.: Well, it is natural, in a political season, that they would just focus on a few words and leave everything out.

You could take Winston Churchill and make him look like a blithering, superficial idiot by taking some of his rhetorical, great speeches in the dark days of World War II, where he rallied the nation, rallied Western civilization, by picking out two or three words.

When you hear, as you did playing that tape, what President Bush was saying is, we have got to pick ourselves up, get about our lives, and show the world that these terrorists can't cow us, that we're going to move ahead, we will deal with them, and we will also move ahead with our lives.

It was an inspiring message at a time of a great crisis.

CAVUTO: And one of the things I remember, too, at the time — beg me if I'm wrong on this, but Barack Obama was talking about the sacrifice we needed to make at the time. I think we had lost 3,000 of our friends, colleagues and fellow Americans. We had sacrificed a great deal at that very moment.

FORBES: And he does specify what kind of further sacrifice he had in mind. Did he mean increasing the military? Well, he has been a foe of military buildups in the past.

Did he mean pointing more troops in Afghanistan? Well, he didn't say that at the time. Did he mean going after Iran? I mean, he never specifies these things. But they always pick on — as you say, President Bush is a favorite target. He has done a lot of things wrong.

But, as you also pointed out, on that one, he got it right. We got back on our feet. We showed the world that we could not be cowed, we were not going to be knocked down, we were not going to be demoralized, and the world will rally to our leadership.

CAVUTO: You know, no one criticizes FDR's suggestion in the middle of the Depression to go out to the stores and have a good time.

FORBES: Well, happy days are here again.

CAVUTO: Right.

FORBES: People say, boy, what a great theme in a tough time. If George Bush did it, they would say, boy, this guy is really out of touch.

CAVUTO: Amazing.


FORBES: Fair and balanced, guys. I'm just telling the media, fair and balanced. Give some credit, all right?

Steve Forbes, thank you, my friend. Very good having you.

FORBES: Thank you.


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