Verbatim 2005

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"This is mass chaos. To tell you the truth, I'd rather be in Iraq." JASON DEFESS, National Guard sergeant and Iraq war veteran, on the abysmal conditions inside the New Orleans Superdome, where thousands sought shelter during Hurricane Katrina

"Israel must be wiped off the map." MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, President of Iran, at a student rally in Tehran; two months later, amid international outrage, the Holocaust denier called for moving the Zionist state to North America or Europe

"I think I'm playing it cool." TOM CRUISE, talking to Jay Leno about his enthusiasm for his new romance with actress Katie Holmes

"It looks like this big patient is cured." STEPHEN ROBINSON, astronaut, who, in a stunningly simple spacewalk repair job, used his fingers to pluck two pieces of cloth filler dangling from the space shuttle; NASA had feared that the loose bits would compromise the shuttle's heat shields upon re-entry

"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat." W. MARK FELT, deputy director of the FBI during the Watergate scandal, disclosing after more than 30 years that he was the famed secret source relied upon by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

"Evidently this time he didn't listen to me." POPE BENEDICT XVI, on how he had prayed to God that the conclave of Cardinals would not vote to make him the next Pope

"Those were the two dumbest words I ever said." GEORGE TENET, former CIA director, on his assurance to President George W. Bush in 2002 that the CIA had "slam dunk" evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction

"So I guess you want me to be the superhero that is going to step in there and suddenly take everybody out of New Orleans." MICHAEL BROWN, former director of FEMA, to a congressional panel investigating what went wrong in the federal response to Hurricane Katrina

"I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse." BARACK OBAMA, first-term Democratic Senator from Illinois

"Thanks for the chance to get out of Washington." PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, in Norfolk, Va., for a speech on terrorism, on the day White House official I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby was indicted on perjury and other charges in a federal investigation into the leaked identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame

"I was not thinking when I signed my tax return." DENNIS KOZLOWSKI, former Tyco CEO, who took the stand in his defense at his retrial on larceny and other charges, when asked why his 1999 tax return omitted a $25 million payment; the once high-flying executive, now better known for hanging a $6,000 shower curtain in his maid's bathroom, is serving 8 to 25 years in state prison

Sources: Washington Post; AP; NBC; USA Today; Vanity Fair; CNN; Washington Post; AP; New York Times; AP (2)