Referring to the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner that hung on the USS Abraham Lincoln during President George W. Bush's May 1, 2003, speech declaring the end of "major combat operations" in Iraq, FOX News Channel host Bill O'Reilly claimed that "nobody knows who put that sign up ... and the best intelligence that I have is the military put it up." The truth is that the White House admitted months ago that its own staff had the sign created, according to an Associated Press article.
On the September 28 broadcast of The Radio Factor, O'Reilly bragged that during his appearance on ABC's Good Morning America that morning, he had rendered co-host Charles Gibson speechless by challenging Gibson to say how he knew the White House was responsible for the sign:
O'REILLY: Charles Gibson did that to me today on that -- on Good Morning -- Good Morning America. He said, "Oh, the Bush people put up the mission accomplished sign on the carrier."
If you saw me on Good Morning America today and I -- and I looked at Gibson and I said, "How do you know?" [chuckle] And it was -- that was over. He goes, "Well, I --" you know? Because nobody knows who put that sign up. It -- and -- and the best intelligence that I have is the military put it up.
When CNN correspondent Jeanne Meserve recently echoed the false Bush-Cheney '04 campaign defense that Bush never actually said "mission accomplished," Media Matters for America cited an April 16 AP article, which reported: "Bush said in October that the White House had nothing to do with the banner; a spokesman later clarified that the ship's crew asked for the sign and that the White House staff had it made by a private vendor." White House political adviser Karl Rove also expressed personal regret about the use of the banner. "I wish the banner was not up there," Rove told the AP.