spinsanity explains it all
There's an excellent piece in Spinsanity analyzing Bush's habitual use of misleading rhetoric. As I've observed in the past, for example, Bush hardly seemed to miss an opportunity to mention the 9/11 attacks when justifying his war ambitions with Iraq, dishonestly conflating the two without directly blaming Saddam for the attacks. Passed on by an uncritical so-called "liberal media," the American people got the message -- with nearly half adopting the mistaken belief that Saddam was personally responsible for the atrocity (of course, he's responsible for other atrocities; there's just no evidence he was in on that one).
Bush has become a master of making statements that are factually true but misleading, while escaping criticism for doing so from the press corps. This is partly a result of the deference generally granted to the president. Bush's reputation for imprecise speech may also make reporters reluctant to criticize his words so closely. And because his claims are often phrased in complicated and confusing ways, they are difficult for the press to directly refute. Nonetheless, the implications of the President's strategically ambiguous statements must be addressed.
By the way, this piece ought to lay to rest the idea that Bush is an idiot. Bush seems to me to be narrow minded and stubborn -- certainly two hallmarks of idiocy -- but there's also a certain ruthless cunning in the methods he uses to get what he wants. That's exactly why Bush should be held accountable for his statements.