The first time it was uttered, it seemed so comical, so dumb. Bush White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told Sean Hannity on November 24, 2009: “We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term.”
The second time was a little more nuanced, a little more slick. On December 27, Republican strategist Mary Matalin falsely claimed Bush “inherited the most tragic attack on our own soil in our nation's history.” Nevermind that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred 8 months into Bush's presidency and more than a month after he received a Presidential Daily Briefing titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”
But the third time was so definitive, so wrong, there could be no doubt it's a conservative talking point. On Good Morning America today, Rudy Giuliani falsely claimed: “We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama.” Surely Rudy Giuliani himself couldn't forget 9-11, could he? Of course not. Rather, there is something far more sinister going on.
At least up until recently, the Bush defenders portrayed his record as “no attacks on the U.S. under Bush's watch after 9-11.” But now, with the passage of more time, the defenders are growing bolder in their attempts to rewrite history. Now they want to completely erase the Bush administration's responsibility for the failures leading up to 9-11, to say nothing of the other terrorist attacks carried out or attempted during that time, including the anthrax attacks and the 2002 attack at the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport.
Forgetting 9-11 is bad enough. Rewriting its history for political gain is utterly shameful.