War Room’s Tim Grieve notes that White House spokeswoman Dana Perino emphasized today that President Bush never used the words “Mission Accomplished” — but then argued “we did prevail.”
PERINO: Let me just remind everybody, in case you need it, that speech there, I encourage people to read it. The president never said ‘mission accomplished.’ I realize that the banner said ‘mission accomplished.’ That was specific to the mission of that ship. They were supposed to be deployed for six months. They were deployed well beyond that. [...]
Q: He did say: “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”
PERINO: We did prevail, in terms of toppling the Iraqi army and Saddam Hussein. And several months later, 12 million Iraqis voted for a new government and a constitution. And things looked very promising.
UPDATE: Dan Froomkin reminds us: “About a month after his appearance on the flight deck, Bush traveled to Qatar, where he told troops: ‘America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished.’”