...is not being President. It's that you are never wrong
Ms Rice denied the administration was preoccupied with Iraq, and said that Mr Bush had "made it clear to me that he did not want to respond to al-Qaida one attack at a time. He told me he was 'tired of swatting flies'".
Later, this remark was pounced on by one of the commissioners, Senator Bob Kerrey, who asked: "What flies did he swat?" and put it to Ms Rice that not enough had been done to combat the threat.
He said that, apart from the Clinton administration's cruise missile strikes against al-Qaida in 1998, "no flies had been swatted". Mr Kerrey, a Democrat, forcibly asked Ms Rice: "Why did you not respond to the Cole?" - a reference to the al-Qaida attack on USS Cole off Yemen in 2000.
Ms Rice spoke of the tactical and structural work that needed to be done, and Mr Kerrey accused her of filibustering. "Why don't you just say we screwed up? We made mistakes - you don't want to use the 'm' word," he said.
The national security adviser did not use the 'm' word, but said that lessons had been learned about improving the structure of organisations. Earlier, she had said: "I think the fact is that sometimes there is a catastrophic event that forces people to think different".
Right, like they aren't wrong about what is happening in Iraq:
Intelligence officials now say that there is evidence that the insurgency goes beyond Mr. Sadr and his militia, and that a much larger number of Shiites have turned against the American-led occupation of Iraq, even if they are not all actively aiding the uprising.
The Bush administration has sought to portray the opposition much more narrowly. In the Sunni insurgency, the White House and the Pentagon have focused on the role of the former leaders of the Baath Party and Saddam Hussein's government, while in the Shiite rebellion they have focused almost exclusively on the role of Mr. Sadr. Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon that the fighting in Iraq was just the work of "thugs, gangs and terrorists," and not a popular uprising. General Myers added that "it's not a Shiite uprising. Sadr has a very small following."
In the Shiite-dominated areas of Iraq, some Pentagon officials and other government officials believe that Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shiite extremist group, is now playing a key role in the Shiite insurgency. The Islamic Jihad Organization, a terrorist group closely affiliated with Hezbollah, is also said by some officials to have established offices in Iraq, and that Iran is behind much of the violence.
C.I.A. officials disagree, however, and say they have not yet seen evidence that Hezbollah has joined forces with Iraqi Shiites. Some intelligence officials believe that the Pentagon has been eager to link Hezbollah to the violence in Iraq to link the Iranian regime more closely to anti-American terrorism.
George W. Bush: Rarely correct, never in doubt.