BUSH BROUGHTON PARADIS RUMSFELD MALDONADO COLEMAN WARNER
Pablo Martinez Monsivais  /  AP
President Bush signs the defense bill Thursday in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
updated 8/5/2004 2:29:27 PM ET 2004-08-05T18:29:27

President Bush offered up a new entry for his catalog of “Bushisms” on Thursday, declaring that his administration will “never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people.”

Bush misspoke as he delivered a speech at the signing ceremony for a $417 billion defense spending bill.

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we,” Bush said. “They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

No one in Bush’s audience of military brass or Pentagon chiefs reacted.

The president was working his way toward a larger point. “We must never stop thinking about how best to defend our country. We must always be forward-thinking,” he said.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush’s misstatement “just shows even the most straightforward and plain-spoken people misspeak.”

“But the American people know this president speaks with clarity and conviction, and the terrorists know by his actions he means it,” McClellan said.

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