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Robert Longley

Did Bush Tell Americans to 'Go Shopping' After 9/11?

By September 15, 2010

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Even nine years after the tragedy, claims that President George W. Bush told Americans to simply "go shopping" in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks persist. Former Bush White House senior adviser Karl Rove says those claims are and always have been wrong; and this time, Rove is right. [Learn more...]

Also See: Top 5 Myths About Obama

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September 16, 2010 at 1:23 am
(1) Nano says:

5 un-Myths about Journalists
1) Self-selected liberal know-it-alls
2) Can’t distinguish rational from rationalization
3) Believe journalism has a strong useful future in the age of ubiquitous information
4) Despise capitalist advertisers, but will live off their ads
5) …

October 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm
(2) Larry Gilman says:

The article is correct that Bush never uttered the word “shop” in his speeches after 9/11, but it distorts the history by not mentioning that many national leaders and public officials did utter it. Tony Blair, PM of Great Britain, did; Mayor Giuliani of New York City did. The Miami-Dade County Mayor announced that “it has never been more patriotic to go shopping.” Jean Chrétien, PM of Canada, urged Canadians to buy mortgages, cars, and houses, and to travel. Consume as usual was the message of the day.

Reference: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0929-04.htm

So the idea that Western national leaders and public officials urged us to go shopping after 9/11 is correct.

Bush himself, for the record, did not say that but he did, as you quote, give us the equally inane and grotesque advice to go to Disneyland. Consume luxuries as usual was the clear message: whether Bush uttered the exact syllable “shop” should be accurately reported but is not terribly important. There is no substantive difference.

January 7, 2012 at 1:05 pm
(3) John Dodge says:

Sorry, but the article and Rove missed this quote. Poorly researched guys… how about checking the white house archives?:

October 11th, 2001
“Now, the American people have got to go about their business. We cannot let the terrorists achieve the objective of frightening our nation to the point where we don’t — where we don’t conduct business, where people don’t shop. That’s their intention. Their intention was not only to kill and maim and destroy. Their intention was to frighten to the point where our nation would not act. Their intention was to so frighten our government that we wouldn’t seek justice; that somehow we would cower in the face of their threats and not respond, abroad or at home.” -Bush

reference: http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2001/10/20011011-7.html

January 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm
(4) John Dodge says:

It’s strange that even though I remember watching this speech over 10 years ago. You can’t find it on Youtube. There is one brief clip from it included in a documentary about the financial crisis which includes the shopping quote, but that’s it. Let me know if anyone is able to find it.

January 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm
(5) usgovinfo says:

John Dodge: Mr. Murse’s article is correct and so is your quote. However, twising “…where we don’t — where we don’t conduct business, where people don’t shop…” into “go shopping,” is quite a stretch. And, Bush was right.

February 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm
(6) Matthew says:

Bush was never right about anything.

May 16, 2012 at 9:14 am
(7) Joe says:

I very vividly recall watching Bush stand in front of television cameras and tell people to go out shopping. I cannot tell you precisely what the language was. I can tell you it that it included an encouragement to break out the credit cards if that’s what people had to do. It was a “we’ll show them that they’re not going to slow us down” message. It was in the week or so following 9/11 when everyone and everything seemed frozen and there were news reports about 9/11 putting huge brakes on the economy.

I did not dream this. I did not reconstruct it in my mind after the fact. I watched it. It might have been in an interview rather than in any kind of formal address – but the “legend” is not false – I assure you.

How would I be able to find footage of that? I have no idea even where to begin.

July 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm
(8) Guy Crumpley says:
October 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm
(9) Big Dan says:

The guy who wrote this article is TOTALLY WRONG! The COMMENTERS are better!

February 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm
(10) cg says:

Looks like this clip has been edited. What is the date on it? (2007?)

June 11, 2013 at 5:23 am
(11) Matthew says:

Transcript of press conference here:


Salient passage here, PLEASE NOTE LAST LINE.

BUSH: And that’s a peaceful existence. As we work with Congress in the coming year to chart a new course in Iraq and strengthen our military to meet the challenges of the 21st century, we must also work together to achieve important goals for the American people here at home. This work begins with keeping our economy growing. As we approach the end of 2006, the American economy continues to post strong gains. The most recent jobs report shows that our economy created 132,000 more jobs in November alone, and we’ve now added more than 7 million jobs since August of 2003. The unemployment rate has remained low at 4.5 percent. The recent report on retail sales shows a strong beginning to the holiday shopping season across the country. And I encourage you all to go shopping more.

Paragraph starts on the war, ends on shopping more. This article is flatly incorrect, and needs to be yanked.

May 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm
(12) db_Fix_It says:

@ #7 Joe:

The speech everyone is quoting is from a formal speech given at a podium. The speech in which you are referring to was at the same time he said “They hate our freedoms, we’re going to smoke them out of their holes.” Laura Bush is standing right next to him. They were in casual dress and was outside their home in Crawford, TX I think. I doubt it was a White House lawn press meeting however, I could be wrong about the location. I did see him say the exact same thing. We all saw him say it as we were glued to our sets during that time.

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