Down And Out In The White House Transcript Room


You might remember a post I made a few weeks ago, wherein I made fun of President Bush for saying

We see a China that is stable and prosperous -- a nation that respects the peace of its neighbors and works to secure the freedom of its own people.

Eagle-eyed blogger Ken Goldstein subsequently pointed out that the official White House transcript said "We seek a China that is...", suggesting that "see" had been a simple transciption error that had been corrected.

Well, eagle-eared reader Ralph Levien did a little more digging, and he's discovered that not only does the Offical Hansard of the Australian Parliment record "We see a China that is..." (not "seek"), but the audio record of the speech clearly shows the President saying "We see a China that is..." (it's at about the 15:15 mark of the recording, realplayer required).

So what's with the White House doctoring their own transcripts to change the meaning of what the President said?

Update: It seems as if the original speech script said "seek" but the President—perhaps he misspoke, perhaps he misread the teleprompter, perhaps he just changed it on the fly—said "see". This, of course, doesn't change the fact that the transcript reflects what he was supposed to have said, no what he actually said.


This transcript hoopla could be a coverup conspiracy, or it could be a mistake. I'm gonna guess someone made a mistake.

I'm guessing that they just release the printed prepared speech unless the Pres goes seriously off-topic. I'm sure that if you went word for word there would be other discrepancies. And I still maintain that see and seek have the same meaning in that context.

After reading the sample pages from seems pretty clear that Bush is illiterate and uneducated. There must be a whole dept dedicated to revising the transcripts.

But the best thing about it all is the Chinese actually got to censor the Speaker of the House.

I don't think that's ever happened in Australian parliament before...

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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on November 4, 2003 10:10 AM.

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