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16 December 2002updated 09 Sep 2021 8:36am

Quotes of the year: boobs and barbs

With Bush over there and Prescott over here, most of 2002's memorable utterances didn't quite convey

By Rami Desai and Luke Layfield

George W Bush

“Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.” – LaCrosse, Wisconsin, 18 October 2002

“I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn’t here.” – at the President’s Economic Forum in Waco, Texas, 13 August 2002

“I know something about being a government. And you’ve got a good one.” – campaigning for Governor Mike Huckabee, Bentonville, Arkansas, 4 November 2002

“There’s no cave deep enough for America, or dark enough to hide.” – Oklahoma City, 29 August 2002

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“I’m a patient man. And when I say I’m a patient man, I mean I’m a patient man. Nothing he [Saddam Hussein] has done has convinced me – I’m confident the Secretary of Defence – that he is the kind of fellow that is willing to forgo weapons of mass destruction, is willing to be a peaceful neighbour, that is – will honour the people – the Iraqi people of all stripes, will – values human life. He hasn’t convinced me, nor has he convinced my administration.” – Crawford, Texas, 21 August 2002

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“The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.” – George W Bush, discussing the decline of the French economy with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, 7 February 2002

“I understand that the unrest in the Middle East creates unrest throughout the region.” – Washington, DC, 13 March 2002


John Prescott

“Barbara Castle brought in seat belts and drink-driving.”- Today programme, 31 May 2002

“It’s not the sanity of the picket lines that bothers me, it’s the sanity of human life!” – Guardian, 15 November 2002

“[Over Iraq]: We will be quite united in our view about the course of action we decide to take.” – BBC News 24, 23 September 2002

Source: pressroom/archive/battle (search: Prescott)

“Made from recycled plastic bottles.” – statement on a label worn around his neck by the Deputy Prime Minister at the Earth Summit


“Still throwing spears?” – The Duke of Edinburgh asks an Australian Aborigine during a visit in March 2002

“Do you know they have eating dogs for the anorexic now?” – The Duke of Edinburgh, to a blind woman with a guide dog, June 2002

“Some of the most important exchanges go on in the toilets.” – Professor William Brown, of Acas, on the negotiations between firefighters and their employers

“My director said I should try it out. I should have notified the store and said I was going to come and shoplift. I’m sorry.” – Winona Ryder, claiming she was researching for a movie part when she was caught shoplifting

“What has happened is a bit of a shame. The international press has highlighted a little incidence of some rioting way out of all proportion.” – Guy Murray-Bruce, director of Miss World, Nigeria

“I was never a murderer. I was an honest bank robber. In the Sixties, it was a perfectly respectable occupation.” – John McVicar

“I’ve tried Viagra but didn’t notice any difference. I’m waiting for a stronger version to come on the market.” – The Marquess of Bath

“Here I am, the so-called ‘hard man’, the unbending Home Secretary, and a dog can bring tears to my eyes.” – David Blunkett on his relationship with his guide dog, Lucy

“I don’t mind serious art criticism, but you can’t attack me and my work by accusing me of being a publicity-seeker. That really winds me up.” – Tracey Emin, who is to receive £500,000 from the BBC to make a film about herself

“I’m sick and tired of strong women pretending that they can’t cope with a ‘masculine’ working environment. If they can’t deal with it, then they should go back home and do some knitting.” – Gwyneth Dunwoody MP on Commons reform

“I am not a great believer in revenge.” – Ulrika Jonsson

“One accusation you can’t throw at me is that I’ve always done my best.” – Alan Shearer

“The opening ceremony was good, although I missed it.” – Graeme Le Saux

“Fifty per cent of the public don’t actually know what the term 50 per cent means.” – Patricia Hewitt, trade secretary

“I had a terrible day two years ago when the Duke of Marlborough’s grapes beat mine at the fruit show and got back to my club to read that the Duke of Beaufort was now the best-dressed duke.” – The Duke of Devonshire

“Nothing can compare with the arrival of your first child. Not even winning Wimbledon.” – Tim Henman, who has never got beyond the Wimbledon semi-finals, after the birth of his first daughter

“The biggest challenge of the new decade is to encourage people to work longer.” – Andrew Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

“Anyone curious about the nature of life on death row should consult Mr Iain Duncan Smith. He is there now.”- Sir Max Hastings

“A football team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her, she forgets she is beautiful.” – Arsene Wenger, Arsenal Manager

“When you find your soulmate, you could sleep under their armpits.” – Heather Mills McCartney

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