Bush Denies Reports of Dyslexia

ByABC News

Sept. 12, 2000 -- George W. Bush today denied suggestions his often mocked struggles with the English language mean that he has dyslexia, as a magazine article reports.

“I’m not dyslexic,” Bush said this morning in an interview with ABCNEWS’ Good Morning America. “That’s all I can tell you.”

In an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair magazine, writer Gail Sheehy suggests that dyslexia runs in his family and quotes experts saying that Bush has exhibited behavior that could indicate dyslexia.

“The errors you’ve heard Governor Bush make are consistent with dyslexia,” the magazine quoted one speech expert saying.

On Good Morning America, Bush said he had not read the article but dismissed it as false.

“This is a case where fiction is greater than fact,” Bush said.

Arriving in Orlando, Fla., later this morning, Bush said it’s “amazing what happens when you run for president.”

“I have been standing for 54 years as a person… I didn’t realize I had dyslexia until her article came out,” he said.

Asked whether he had ever been tested, Bush responded, “No I haven’t. Thank you for asking. I appreciate your concern.”

Tongue-Tied on the Stump

The Texas governor has been criticized for frequently fumbling his words on the campaign trail. He once told a woman he wanted to help her “put food on her family.” He has vowed to “use our technology to enhance uncertainty abroad,” to “feed faces all across the world,” and “hail success as well as failure.” Today, he mispronounced the word “subliminal” amid a controversy over Republican Party advertising practices.

One of Bush’s younger brothers, Neil, had been diagnosed as dyslexic and the article notes that — in some cases — the disorder runs in the family.

The International Dyslexia Organization defines the disorder as “difficulty with language. Intelligence is not the problem; the problem is language. People who are dyslexic may have difficulty with reading, spelling, understanding language they hear, or expressing themselves clearly in speaking or in writing.”

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