In an article in the October 21 edition of The New York Times, headlined "In Bush's Vision, a Mission to Spread the Power of Liberty," White House correspondent David E. Sanger reported incorrectly that President George W. Bush "has never answered the question of how he would react" if an Islamic fundamentalist government were elected in Iraq. In fact, Bush answered that very question in an interview with the Associated Press on October 18, saying: "if that's what the people choose, that's what the people choose."
From an October 18 Associated Press article containing excerpts of the interview with Bush:
Q: If the people in Iraq, in a free, democratic election, someday choose an Islamic fundamentalist government, is that all right with you?
BUSH: I will be disappointed, but democracy is democracy. They have now got a -- the beginnings of a constitution, the TAL [Transitional Administrative Law], which sends a different message, that there will be tolerance and an open society. But people -- if that's what the people choose, that's what the people choose.
In the New York Times article, Sanger wrote: "On the rare moments when he has been asked, Mr. Bush has never answered the question of how he would react if Iraq or Afghanistan or other nations in the Middle East held free elections, and freely chose fundamentalist Islamic governments."