The president's story, from the speech yesterday at Oak Ridge: "In 2002, the United Nations Security Council yet again demanded a full accounting of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. As he had for over a decade, Saddam Hussein refused to comply. In fact, according to former weapons inspector David Kay, Iraq's weapons programs were elaborately shielded by security and deception operations that continued even beyond the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. So I had a choice to make: Either take the word of a madman, or defend America. Given that choice, I will defend America every time."
In a story yesterday, the AP described this passage thus: "But Saddam refused to open his country to inspections, Bush said. 'So I had a choice to make: either take the word of a madman or defend America. Given that choice I will defend America.'"
Clearly, that's not precisely what he said. The president said Saddam "refused to comply" not that he "refused to open his country to inspections", though I don't think there's any doubt that the latter was the impression he meant to convey.
Dealing with the president's doubletalk is a challenging business.
Of course on other occasions, the wordplay has been less cagey ...
President Bush: "Saddam Hussein said, I'm not going to expose my weapons, I'm not going to get rid of my -- I'm not going to allow inspectors in, he said." February 26th, 2004.
President Bush: "We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power..." July 14th, 2003.