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DIANE DOES WHITE HOUSE
Tue Dec 16 2003 16:56:21 ET

Interview set to air tonight on ABC [8 pm et/7 pm ct]

On Where President Bush Was When Hearing the News of Saddam's Capture:

MS. SAWYER: It was a very emotional day for many Americans, for many people, and certainly for the troops. We--we haven't gotten a sense exactly personally, but you did.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I was at Camp David. Laura and I went up to Camp David to make sure that the remodeled cabins were ready for Mother and Dad and some of my brothers and--and sister. And so she was out scouting around the place, and I was at what they call Aspen, which is the presidential cabin, reading the book on Ben Franklin. And the phone--the man came in, the guy at the house came in and said, "There's a secure phone call from Secretary Rumsfeld." That doesn't happen very often. And my first anticipation was something bad had happened.

And he got on the phone and said, "First reports aren't always accurate, but John Abizaid thinks that we have captured Saddam Hussein."

MS. SAWYER: At that moment, what happened inside you?

PRESIDENT BUSH: At that moment, a cautionary note came, because I had been disappointed before. My instincts were to say, "That is good news, but let's make sure it's true." And the Secretary and I spent time talking about how to make sure that whatever message was delivered was based upon fact, not hope, because the worst thing that could possibly have happened is that--is that there was a declaration out of Baghdad by a soldier, for example, that Saddam was captured and it turned out not to be him. And so I was very cautious then.

It was the next morning when Ms. Rice called--that would be Condi Rice--5:15 in the morning, saying, "It has been confirmed out of Baghdad that we have captured Saddam Hussein," that I began to get this sense of joy for the Iraqi people and a sense of accomplishment for our troops, because I know how hard they had been working to accomplish this mission.

On Reaction of Saddam's Daughter to the Photos:

MS. SAWYER: His daughter has said that those photos were disrespectful and humiliating to him, but he also seemed sedated, by the way.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah.

MS. SAWYER: Was he sedated? And was it designed to humiliate him?

PRESIDENT BUSH: No, I don't--first of all, I don't know if he was sedated or not. I mean, that's a question you'd ask the folks in the field.

Secondly, it was designed to reflect the truth and to show--and to show the world that this barbaric person was found in a hole, hiding, cowering, that--it's also interesting that he's going to receive the justice that he never gave others. And it's--it's a dramatic moment. And I can understand a daughter being concerned about her dad. I mean, presumably somewhere in this hard, barbaric heart there was some love for his child. And--but he showed no love for the Iraqi people, particularly those that dared express an opinion other than his.