I believe I've found the quote you seek, as reported by the Associated
Press. The joking remark was made on December 18, 2000, while Bush was
speaking with a group that included U.S. Senators Trent Lott and Tom
Daschle and U.S. Representatives Dennis Hastert and Dick Gephardt:
On the closely divided Congress, Bush said he told the congressional
leaders that "there are going to be some times when we don't agree
with each other."
"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier,"
Bush said, pausing and then joking, "just so long as I'm the
Perhaps the day's most striking scene came on Capitol Hill in the
Rayburn room named after another powerful Texan, the legendary former
House Speaker Sam Rayburn. Before a battery of television cameras,
Bush appeared with the congressional leaders who will have a major say
in determining his success in these divided political times.
To Bush's right stood the Republicans, House Speaker Dennis Hastert of
Illinois, and Sen. Trent Lott, the majority leader from Mississippi.
To his left stood the Democrats, Rep. Dick Gephardt, the minority
leader from Missouri, and Sen. Tom Daschle, the minority leader from
South Dakota. Bush had met with the Republicans before, but he made a
point on Monday of spending time with each of the two Democrats.
All five men took pains to sound conciliatory and Bush joked: "I told
all four that there are going to be some times where we don't agree
with each other, but that's okay. If this were a dictatorship, this
would be a heck of a lot easier." Chuckling, he added, "Just so long
as I'm dictator."
Cached copy of article from the North County Times
Here you will find the quote in context, and a link to an audio file
containing the quote:
ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: President-elect Bush and the four congressional
leaders met for two hours.
PRESIDENT-ELECT GEORGE W. BUSH: I told all four that I felt like this
election happened for a reason; that it pointed out-- the Delay in the
outcome should make it clear to all of us-- that we can come together
to heal whatever wounds may exist, whatever residuals there may be.
And I really look forward to the opportunity. I hope they've got my
sense of optimism about the possible, and enthusiasm about the job. I
told all four that there are going to be some times where we don't
agree with each other, but that's okay. If this were a dictatorship,
it would be a heck of a lot easier... ( Chuckles ) ( laughter )
...just so long as I'm the dictator. ( Laughter )
PBS Audio Clip (RealAudio format)
Another, similar quote was reported in August 2001 by the Associated
Press, by Business Week, and elsewhere:
President Bush conceded yesterday he's had his struggles with Congress
and is bound to have more, joking that "a dictatorship would be a heck
of a lot easier." Still, he said the relationship is a healthy one
after his first six months in office.
With South Dakota Democrat Tom Daschle at the helm in the Senate, Bush
has been floundering to get anything done on Capitol Hill. And he even
seems to be losing control of the Republican House -- mainly because
he has shown such little willingness to compromise. How bad are Bush's
relations with the Hill? "A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot
easier, there's no question about it," he recently joked.
Congressional leaders aren't laughing.
As Jonathan Alter notes in his on-line column in the 8/6 issue of
Newsweek (on MSNBC - "Fighting the HMO Meanies"): "'...A dictatorship
would be a heck of a lot easier - there's no question about it,' he
said again last week, repeating what appears to be his favorite quip."
(In the book Fortunate Son, J. H. Hatfield has Dubya, as governor of
Texas in 1996, saying this to a business group - "It would be a heck
of a lot easier to be a dictator than work in a democracy". This is
not a "new" joke for him.)
Google Web Search:
Google Web Search: "george w bush" + "dictator"
Google Web Search: "george w bush" + "dictatorship"
I hope I have provided you with precisely what you need. If anything
is unclear, or if a link does not function, please request
clarification; I'll gladly offer further assistance before you rate my