In response to Senator John Kerry's recent criticism of President George W. Bush's use of the phrase "Mission Accomplished" in reference to the Iraq war, FOX News Channel chief political correspondent Carl Cameron and host Bill O'Reilly echoed the false Bush-Cheney '04 campaign defense that Bush never actually used the words "mission accomplished." But, in fact, Bush did say "that mission has been accomplished," as FOX News Channel co-host Alan Colmes pointed out to O'Reilly.
In addition to declaring an end to major combat in Iraq in front of a "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, Bush said to U.S. troops in Qatar on June 5, 2003: "America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished."
On the September 27 edition of FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor, guest Colmes corrected O'Reilly's false claim that Bush didn't say "mission accomplished":
O'REILLY: He [Bush] basically said he'd do it again because the main intent of the "mission accomplished" was to raise the morale of troops who had fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. What's the matter with that?
COLMES: The words are very important. If he says "mission accomplished," then [Republican National Committee chairman] Ed Gillespie ...
O'REILLY: But he didn't say that. That was the poster.
COLMES: Well, he did -- Ed Gillespie says he never said it. He did say "mission accomplished" subsequent to that on two separate occasions. So he actually did make that comment [in the banner] on that day on that ship. And he [Bush] needs to be held accountable for that.
On the September 27 edition of FOX News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume, Cameron accused a new Kerry campaign ad of repeating the false charge that "George Bush said Iraq was 'mission accomplished'"; but Cameron himself was wrong:
CAMERON: Though the banner said mission accomplished, the president never actually use[d] those words. Nonetheless, a new Kerry attack ad repeats the charge.