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"On Friendship"
An Essay by President George W. Bush

I address my fellow Americans today not as a leader, not as a Commander in Chief, nor even as a President – but rather as a friend who has tried his level best to be there, and has not always fully succeeded.

Yes, I would like Americans to think of me as a friend – a First Friend, perhaps, and not always perfect at that, but a friend nonetheless. For it is through friendship, and the friendship attached to my father, that I have always succeeded, and which will give me the keys to survival today.

When a friend stumbles and falls, you pick him up. At such a time, you do not hold against him his every last stumbling from the past. You do not ask him what of this present stumbling is of his own doing, nor how it will affect you, nor berate him over the vase that his stumbling has shattered.

If on his way down he has injured your dog, or ruined your company, you do not necessarily hold it against him, not right away. Not if you're the kind of friend that we from Connecticut call a "bosom buddy."

No. When your "bosom buddy" stumbles and falls, you have a heart, and you extend to him that heart, with both hands. When he accepts it, you smile the broad smile of friendship – selflessly. Later, perhaps, you will tell him what he has done, and berate him for damaging dogs or ruining decades of diplomacy or mismanaging states or whole worlds. But for now, no – not now.

Three years ago around now, I promised you many things. I told you that I could make the economy even brighter, and with it, your prospects. I assured you that security, without which we cannot live very nicely, would get securer over my mandate. I radiated the radiation of friendship to you, and received your friendship in return, in the form of your votes.

Today, friends, I have stumbled. I have failed Americans as a friend on each of these counts (See "A Second Chance"), and that is the most painful stumbling there is. That is why I need your help now. And that is why I am asking you, the American people, as friends, to offer me your heart in both hands – selflessly, with a smile.

Please, four more years. For your friend.

Thank you.

- George W. Bush

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