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The word "strategery" (// strə-TEE-jər-ee) was used in a Saturday Night Live sketch, written by James Downey, airing October 7, 2000, which satirized the performances of George Walker Bush and Al Gore, two candidates for President of the United States, during the first presidential debate for election year 2000. Comedian Will Ferrell played Bush and when asked by a mock debate moderator to "sum up, in a single word, the best argument for his candidacy", replied "strategery" (a mock-Bushism playing on the word "strategy"), thus satirizing Bush's reputation for mispronouncing words. The episode was later released as part of a video tape titled Presidential Bash 2000.
Becoming a Bush catchphrase
After the 2000 presidential election, people inside the Bush White House reportedly began using the term as a joke, and it later grew to become a term of art among them meaning oversight of any activity by Bush's political consultants. Bush's strategists also came to be known within the White House as "The Department of Strategery", or the "Strategery Group".
A February 9, 2001 transcript of a CNN interview shows Bush using the term, presumably as an intentional nod to the comedy sketch. Affectionately embracing satirical portrayals has been a Bush tactic at other times as well, such as when he presented a self-parodying slide show at the May 2004 Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner about looking for weapons of mass destruction in the Oval Office after the political comic strip Doonesbury satirically portrayed him on a similar comical search.
The term is now widely used in comic and popular discourse across the political spectrum. Rush Limbaugh picked up the usage soon after the SNL airing. A trial exhibit from the 2007 "Scooter" Libby trial included the term, in Libby's daily schedule for June 10, 2003, which showed that Libby had a 6:00 pm "Strategery Meeting" scheduled to last 90 minutes. In a 2017 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Bush recalled a joke argument with SNL's Lorne Michaels about whether an SNL writer or Bush himself had actually coined the term.
Sarah Palin used the term in an interview with Bill O'Reilly on his television show. Speaking of Charles Krauthammer and his political contacts, Palin commented "they're meeting people and they're doing their strategery".
The term is also a centerpiece of the fictitious firm Strategery Capital Management, LLC, a satirical website, which mocks the Treasury's $700 billion "Troubled Asset Rescue Plan" (which itself is a spoof of the real-world Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Bush signed into law in 2008).
A White House reporter, during a September 29, 2009, press briefing, began a question for press secretary Robert Gibbs with "From the standpoint of leverage or strategery..." The question, about Iran, drew laughs and a quip from Gibbs.
Shepard Smith, on his evening news program The FOX Report with Shepard Smith on July 10, 2012, described London official's quoted "overall strategery" in placing anti-aircraft missiles on apartment buildings during the London Olympics.
- Dana Milbank (April 22, 2001). "Serious 'Strategery' As Rove Launches Elaborate Political Effort, Some See a Nascent Clintonian 'War Room'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- Susskind, Ron (January 1, 2003). "Why Are These Men Laughing?". Esquire. Archived from the original on 2014-03-15.
- "Military Puts President Bush on Defensive; How Should the New Administration Handle the Conflict in the Middle East?". CNN. February 9, 2001. Archived from the original on 2016-06-03. Retrieved 2006-10-23.
- "Bush takes heat for WMD jokes". CNN. May 6, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-04-02. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- Defense Exhibit DX1030 - Scooter Libby's Schedule, June 10, 2003
- Naylor, Brian (March 3, 2017). "Former President Bush Says SNL Impressions Never Bothered Him A Bit". NPR.
- O'Reilly Factor (December 16, 2010). "Sarah Palin's TV Show Hurting Her Political Career?". Fox News. Archived from the original on 2013-03-20.
- Strategery Capital Management LLC. "Strategery Capital Management LLC". Archived from the original on 2009-02-20.
- Danny Shea (September 29, 2009). "Reporter Uses "SNL" Word "Strategery" In White House Briefing (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
- Smith, Shepard (Jul 10, 2012). "The FOX Report With Shepard Smith". Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- Itskoff, Dave 'SNL' Writer Narrows The Gap Between Politics and Farce, New York Times, March 3, 2008
- Saturday Night Live: Presidential Bash 2000 on IMDb