Carole Coleman

Carole Coleman (born September 1966) is an Irish journalist. Originally from Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim, she is a former Washington correspondent for Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). She is a journalism graduate of the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), and is currently a reporter/presenter on This Week on RTÉ radio One.

Carole Coleman
BornSeptember 1966 (age 53)
Alma materDublin Institute of Technology (DIT)
EmployerRaidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)

Coleman is best known in the U.S. for a probing television interview of President George W. Bush just before his official visit to Ireland in the summer of 2004.

THE PRESIDENT: ... Look, Saddam Hussein had used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, against the neighborhood. He was a brutal dictator who posed a threat -- such a threat that the United Nations voted unanimously to say, Mr. Saddam Hussein --

Q Indeed, Mr. President, but you didn't find the weapons of mass destruction.

THE PRESIDENT: Let me finish. Let me finish. May I finish?

He said -- the United Nations said, disarm or face serious consequences. That's what the United Nations said. And guess what? He didn't disarm. He didn't disclose his arms. And, therefore, he faced serious consequences. But we have found a capacity for him to make a weapon. See, he had the capacity to make weapons. He was dangerous. And no one can argue that the world is better off with Saddam -- if Saddam Hussein were in power.

Q But, Mr. President, the world is a more dangerous place today. I don't know whether you can see that or not.

THE PRESIDENT: Why do you say that?

Q There are terrorist bombings every single day. It's now a daily event. It wasn't like that two years ago.[1]

The interview, for which questions were approved by the White House press office, led to complaints by President Bush and his press officers for the "disrespectful" manner of Coleman, who interrupted the President several times, and the cancellation of a Laura Bush interview with RTÉ.

The White House complained to the Irish Embassy about the interview. An Irish government spokesman commented that "within Government, there was an acknowledgment that the interview lacked respect." RTÉ, however, stated it "totally stands over the conduct of the interview and Carole's journalism."[2]

Coleman stated that she resorted to interrupting the President because she was afraid his stock answers would eat up all time she had for interview: "It was a filibuster of sorts. If I didn’t challenge him, the interview would be a wasted opportunity".[3] She also said she was surprised by the White House staff's reaction to the interview, but that she had no regrets:

Clearly the White House had thought they would be dealing with an Irish "cailin" bowled over by the opportunity to interview the Bushes


Had I been fair? Should I just have been more deferential to George Bush? I felt that I had simply done my job and shuddered at the thought of the backlash I would surely have faced in Ireland had I not challenged the president on matters that had changed the way America was viewed around the world.[3]


In October 2005, Coleman published Alleluia America!. The book begins with an account of her interview with Bush and its aftermath. It goes on to describe Coleman's travels through the parts of the United States which voted for Bush in the 2004 election and the people she met in those places. The Bush/Coleman interview has been studied using a Critical Discourse Analysis methodology.[4]

In 2009, Coleman published The Battle for the White House, an account of the 2008 US presidential election.


  • Carole Coleman, Alleluia America!: An Irish Journalist in Bush Country, ISBN 1-904148-76-X
  1. Transcript of Interview-White House
  2. "Bush aides furious at interview". Irish Independent. 2004-06-27.
  3. Carole Coleman (2005-10-09). "I wanted to slap him". London: Sunday Times. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
  4. John Cullen ‘”They don't understand our country”: Carole Coleman interviews President George W. Bush’ Uncertain Ireland: A Sociological Chronicle, 2003-2004 (Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 2006) ed.s Mary P.Corcorcan & Michel Peillon, 209-221.
  • Carole Coleman, The Battle for The White House...and the Soul of America, ISBN 978-1-905785-52-0
Media offices
Preceded by
Mark Little
RTÉ News Washington Correspondent
Succeeded by
Robert Shortt
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