A Lapse in Keeping Bush's Words

White House correspondents are frustrated and troubled by a lapse in the system for transcribing President Bush's public remarks.

+ More

On Wednesday, the official version of Bush's comments on the importance of education, delivered to a student group, had him saying, "Children do learn." But what he actually said was, "Childrens do learn."  Reporters complained to White House Press Secretary Dana Perino that the transcripts are supposed to be verbatim, and she ordered the official government stenographers to change the record to reflect Bush what actually said.

An apologetic Perino said there was no effort by any White House official to clean up Bush's language and avoid embarrassment, but rather it was a simple mistake by the stenographers' office.

"The integrity of the transcripts are [sic] very important to me, and I've made that clear," Perino told reporters yesterday. She added: "You know, the president—it is no secret—sometimes makes grammatical errors. And he also is somebody, though, that gives a lot of public comments. And I think in the grand scheme of things, if any of us were—well, maybe now I am—monitored for such things, that we would all have slip-ups from time to time."

—Kenneth T. Walsh