Would Bush Rather Be Fishing?

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, May 8, 2006; 3:03 PM

Is it possible that President Bush doesn't really enjoy his job?

Asked by a German tabloid to name the most wonderful moment of his presidency, Bush on Friday said it came while he was on vacation, fishing on his private lake.

Bush was obviously joking -- to a point. But the thing about Bush is that he has stock answers to all the expected questions. So it's the unpredictable ones where he's the most revealing.

Remember when he was asked to name his biggest mistake and what he'd learned from it -- and he couldn't name any? (He hasn't held a prime-time press conference since.)

So what to make of his response to the German question? Maybe it was just a little innocent clowning. But maybe it emerged from his own candid awareness that historians looking back at his presidency may see an obvious low point (or two or three), but no equally obvious high points.

Or maybe, at heart, he'd rather be fishing.

Here is the transcript of Bush's interview with Kai Diekmann of the pro-Bush, breast-baring German tabloid newspaper, Bild . As it happens, Bush also sheds more light on his delayed reaction on the morning of September 11, 2001.

"Q Three last very short questions. What was the most wonderful moment in your terms of being President so far, and what was the most awful moment?

" THE PRESIDENT: The most awful moment was September the 11th, 2001.

" Q The famous picture when somebody gave you the information?

" THE PRESIDENT: Yes, that. I think, like all of us, it took a while for the -- it was more than a moment. It was the event and the aftermath. On a situation like that, it takes a period to understand exactly what was going on. When somebody says, America is under attack, and -- you've got to fully understand what that meant. And the information coming was haphazard at best for a while. We weren't sure if the State Department got hit. I'd heard the White House had got attacked. Of course, I was worried that -- my family was here.

" And so I would say the toughest moment of all was after the whole reality sunk in and I was trying to help the nation understand what was going on, and at the same time, be empathetic for those who had lost lives.

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