President George W. Bush's awaited memoirs Decision Points will be released on this Tuesday, November 9th from Crown,
an imprint of Random House. The book is being shielded from the public until its release date however; a few copies
have been released to the press. The New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, and USA Today are among the media who
received advanced copies, and are leaking excerpts from the memoirs.
Early reviews have ranged widely from the lukewarm reception in the Washington Post, 'Competent, readable and flat'
to the Washington Times glowing comments calling it it as 'strikingly personal', while Time has ranked Decision Points
as the #2 political memoir of all time. As the publishing date gets closer, more news sources are releasing reviews
of Decision Point, most are positive and some rather enthusiastic; the Christian Science Monitor hails"It's a page-
One of the major evaluating points has been how personal Bush gets in recounting events of his presidency; the NYT
claims that Bush was not one for introspection, writing;""Decision Points" lacks the emotional precision and evocative
power of his wife Laura's book,"Spoken From the Heart," published earlier this year, though it's a considerably more
substantial effort than Mr. Bush's perfunctory 1999 campaign memoir,"A Charge to Keep."" While north of the border
the Montreal Gazette headlines"Dubya gets personal in memoirs."
Crown is expecting a huge demand for the memoirs, and has ordered an initial first printing of 1.5 million copies.
The book is being released in a plentitude of formats, including a deluxe multimedia e-book, which includes audio,
video, letters and speeches. It is an unprecedented e-book publication, and will only be available in Amazon.com's
Kindle format. A deluxe hardcover version will be released later on November 30th.
Decision Points is divided into 14 chapters. Each chapter examines a particular defining moment in Bush's life and
presidency, including"Day of Fire" about 9/11,"Stem Cells","Katrina" and"Financial Crisis." Bush opens his
memoirs with the chapter"Quitting", and the words,"It was a simple question, 'Can you remember the last day you
didn't have a drink?'" discussing his decision to stop drinking.
Some of the previews of the memoir appearing in the media range from revelations about Bush's reaction to 9/11,
consideration to drop his Vice President, Richard Cheney from the ticket in his 2004 re-election bid, regret over
the release of the photo showing him flying over New Orleans in Air Force One after Hurricane Katrina to resoluteness
concerning his decisions with Iraq, stem cell research, and the financial crisis. Bush has emphasized the lowest
point of his presidency was when rapper Kayne West called Bush a racist, because he deemed the President was being
indifferent to black New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath.
This upcoming week Bush will be taking to the road to promote Decision Points, signing books in Miami and Dallas
and making high profile appearances on a special interview with Matt Lauer on NBC, Monday at 8pm, and then Oprah
on Tuesday. Other stops on the publicity rounds include interviews with Jay Leno, Candy Crowley on CNN on TV and
with Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity on the radio. Bush will also appear on Fox News. Bush is also including his
family when he is interviewed; wife Laura Bush, and his parents Barbara Bush and former President George H. W.
Bush, and brother former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will appear alongside him at various points this week. Early
clips and excerpts show Oprah attempting to get Bush to give his opinions on President Barack Obama and Republican
Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin however, Bush wants to stay out of the political fray.
Coinciding with the publication of Decision Points, Princeton University Press released last month Princeton
University Professor Julian E. Zelizer's edited book The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment.
The scholarly work attempts to begin the historical examination of Bush's presidency and legacy by examining in
twelve essays every facet of Bush's two terms in office, and examine the Bush presidency in relations to Obama's
Presidency. It looks not to take sides about Bush, but to look at his presidency through the prism of
The following includes some of the articles and excerpts released from the press about President Bush's Decision
Points and Julian Zelizer's The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment:
COMMENTS & REVIEWS
- Clinton gives thumbs-up to new Bush memoir:
Critics are mixed about George W. Bush's memoir, but the former president has received a rave from a fellow White
House alumnus, Bill Clinton.
"'Decision Points' is well-written, and interesting from start to finish. I think people of all political stripes
should read it," Clinton said in a statement released Friday."George W. Bush also gives readers a good sense of
what it's like to be president, to take the responsibilities of the office seriously, do what you think is right,
and let history be the judge. The book may not change the minds of those who disagree with decisions President Bush
made, but it will help you to understand better the forces that molded him, and the convictions that drove him to
make those decisions." -
- Decision Points by George Bush: review:
George Bush might clean up after his dog, but the mess of his legacy will be harder to deal with, argues Mick Brown,
reviewing his memoir, Decision Points.
Any political memoir tends to be defined by two salient qualities – self-justification, and self-exculpation. And
in the case of George Bush there would appear to be a particularly pressing need for both. Bush left office two
years ago with the dubious distinction of being second only to the disgraced Richard Nixon as the most unpopular
American president of modern times. On the day after he left office, he writes, he started this book.
With reference to his title, Bush explains that he has followed the example of an earlier president, Ulysses Grant,
not to write an exhaustive account of his life, but to concentrate instead on his period in the White House, and what
he – rightly – describes as the most important part of the president’s job: decision making.... -
Telegraph UK, 11-12-10
- A Management Primer from the Decider-in-Chief:
In his memoir, George W. Bush breaks his Presidency up into a series of decision-making case studies. Unfortunately,
running a country isn't just a series of decisions.... -
Business Week, 11-11-10
- Mark McKinnon says Bush memoir depicts a smart, strong, humble leader:
Writing for The Daily Beast, Austin political consultant Mark McKinnon says Decision Points, the new memoir from
George W. Bush, will give readers"a sense of the George W. Bush who I've known for 15 years--a man who is very
different than the distorted public image many have come to accept as accurate."
McKinnon says the former president is nothing like his caricature as a bumbling, inarticulate, disengaged dimwit:
Contrary to conventional wisdom, President Bush is very smart, quietly reflective, often contrite, and deeply humble.
He is also a strong leader who, while relying on the strong counsel of many around him, makes his own decisions.
The memoir, McKinnon says, has its poignant moments:
Imagine tough guy Don Rumsfeld breaking down in tears in the Oval Office, grieving over the drug addiction of
McKinnon has represented candidates on both sides of the aisle, but he's more often identified with Republicans. He
seems to go out of his way to take a swipe at the current occupant of the White House:
The book does highlight, however, a fundamental difference between George Bush and Barack Obama. Bush never complains.
He never blames others. He takes full responsibility for his campaigns, his administration, his life. He accepts the
cards he's dealt. That's the George Bush I know. -
Dallas Morning News, 11-10-10
- Book review: 'Decision Points' by George W. Bush:
The former president delivers an unexpectedly engrossing rehash of what he considers to be the pivotal moments
of his eight years in office.
The first great American autobiographies both appeared in the 19th century, were born of conflict and written by
public men —"The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass" and"The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant."
Since then, what we might call the publishing-industrial complex has turned the reminiscences of our public men and
women into a never-ending stream. As former President George W. Bush — barely two years out of office — points out
in the acknowledgement of his memoir,"Decision Points," virtually every member of his extended, very political
family has published a bestseller, including his parents' dogs.
Where does Bush's account of his astonishingly eventful eight years rank in such company? Probably far higher
than many of his detractors expected. As Bush writes in"Decision Points," he enjoys surprising those who
underestimate him. As the title suggests, the former chief executive elected to abandon the usual chronological
approach to these volumes (except for a brief, obligatory foray into childhood and school years) in favor of his
recollection of his presidency's key choices and the personal decisions that Bush says prepared him to make them.... -
- Global reaction to Bush's 'Decision Points' memoir: It's a page-turner:
George W. Bush's 'Decision Points' memoir is attracting global scrutiny for its views on everything from the Abu
Ghraib scandal to Israel's bombing of Syria to rapper Kanye West.... -
CS Monitor, 11-8-10
- Dubya gets personal in memoirs:
Almost two years after leaving the White House as one of the most polarizing presidents in American history, Bush
returns to the public arena Tuesday with the publication of a candid memoir, Decision Points, that recounts everything
from his personal struggles with alcohol to an admission of failure in his leadership after Hurricane Katrina.
Through a steady stream of publicity leaks and pre-publication interview excerpts, Americans already know many of
the book's highlights — including Bush's revelation that he considered dropping Dick Cheney from the 2004 Republican
ticket and his disgust with rapper Kanye West's post-Katrina accusation that he didn't care about black people.
Almost two years after leaving the White House as one of the most polarizing presidents in history, Bush returns
to the public arena Tuesday with the publication of a candid memoir, Decision Points, that reveals everything from
his personal struggles with alcohol to his disappointment in having failed to capture Osama bin Laden.... -
- Personality Intersects With Policy:
George W. Bush’s memoir"Decision Points" could well have been titled"The Decider Decides": it's an autobiography
focused around"the most consequential decisions" of his presidency and his personal life from his decision to give
up drinking in 1986 to his decision to invade Iraq in 2003 to his decisions regarding the financial crisis of 2008.
It is a book that is part spin, part mea culpa, part family scrapbook, part self-conscious effort to (re)shape his
A dogged work of reminiscence by an author not naturally given to introspection,"Decision Points" lacks the
emotional precision and evocative power of his wife, Laura’s, book,"Spoken From the Heart," published earlier
this year, though it’s a considerably more substantial effort than Mr. Bush’s perfunctory 1999 campaign memoir,"A Charge to Keep."... -
- Top 10 Political Memoirs:
While George W. Bush's new memoir Decision Points doesn't hit bookshelves until Nov. 9, it has already managed
to make waves. TIME takes a look at other memorable political autobiographies...
2. George W. Bush, Decision Points, 2010:
The Decider has written a book called Decision Points. George W. Bush's presidential memoir — which covers key
decisions he made from 1986 (when he vowed to stop drinking) to 2008 (when he found himself faced with the start
of the financial crisis) — seems to be more honest than anyone expected. Bush still defends the Iraq war, yet
describes a"sickening feeling" whenever he thinks about the absence of weapons of mass destruction. He talks
about wishing he had handled Hurricane Katrina better. He refers to Dick Cheney as"the Darth Vader of the
administration" and says he considered dropping him from the 2004 presidential ticket. And he relates a strange anecdote about Vladimir Putin's assertion that his pet Labrador was"bigger, stronger, faster" than Bush's Scottish terrier, Barney."You're lucky he only showed you his dog," quipped Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper upon hearing the story.
- George W. Bush's 'Decision Points': 'Competent, readable and flat':
All is sweet reason in"Decision Points," George W. Bush's account of his eight-year presidency and some of the
events -- quitting drinking, serving as governor of Texas -- that preceded it. To be sure there are a few hints of
the pugnacity Americans came to know so well -- barbs directed at the press, the professoriate, Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a few other sitting ducks -- but Bush as he presents
himself here is calm, deliberative, reasonable, open-minded, God-fearing, loyal, trustworthy, patriotic.
This should come as no surprise. The presidential memoir as it has evolved, especially in the wake of recent
presidencies, is not a memoir as the term is commonly understood -- an attempt to examine and interpret the writer's
life -- but an attempt to write history before the historians get their hands on it. Yes, from time to time mistakes
must be acknowledged -- on the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, for instance,"I had sent American troops
into combat based in large part on intelligence that proved false," or on Katrina,"The problem was not that I made
the wrong decisions. It was that I took too long to decide" -- but the clear purpose of these non-apologies is to
humanize the person making them, and to make us like him better for making them.... -
- Leaked Bush memoir 'strikingly personal':
An anonymous source on Thursday leaked former President George W. Bush's memoir to the Drudge Report 11 days before
its scheduled publication. Excerpts from"Decision Points" have put Mr. Bush back on public radar after a long
absence; the 14-chapter book is deemed a"strikingly personal" look at the president's challenges, personal
convictions and faith, and it takes few shots at his critics.... -
The Washington Times, 10-29-10
- Booming sales for Bush book 'Decision Points':
The Decider has written a blockbuster.
Random House Inc. says former President George W. Bush's"Decision Points" sold 775,000 copies through its first
week of publication. Random House made the announcement Tuesday.
In the book, the two-term president discusses the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, his decisions to send troops to
Afghanistan and Iraq and the response to Hurricane Katrina.
An initial print run of 1.5 million copies has been increased to 1.85 million. E-book sales alone are 100,000.
Random House said last week that opening-day sales of"Decision Points" were its highest since former President Bill
Clinton's"My Life" debuted in 2004.... -
- Inside the List:
HIS TURN: Things might be a little less tense in Crawford this Christmas now that George W. Bush has his own No. 1
best seller."Decision Points," the former president’s new memoir, enters in the top spot, just as his wife’s"Spoken From the Heart" did last spring. But don’t worry, ladies, Laura Bush isn’t totally ceding the stage.
Her memoir, which spent 12 weeks on the printed list, is still hanging around at No. 28 on the extended list,
six months after publication.
If history is any guide, George Bush’s book won’t have as much staying power. As Craig Fehrman wrote in an essay
in the Book Review in May, memoirs by first ladies often do better than those of their husbands. For Gerald Ford’s
64th birthday, in 1977, Betty Ford gave him a T-shirt that read,"I bet my book outsells yours." (The couple’s joint
$1 million book deal spared him the embarassment of a lower advance.) Of course, Bush also has nonspousal rivals to
worry about. A mere two weeks after the release of"Decision Points," his account of how he quit drinking — not to
mention his indelible comments about the political memories dredged up by his Scottish terrier Barney’s madeleine-
like droppings — had been eclipsed by rumors that Bill Clinton will make a cameo appearance in “The Hangover 2." -
- Bookend to a Presidency George W. Bush Breaks Ground on a Library, Museum and Policy Center in Texas:
George W. Bush and 3,000 fans celebrated his return to the spotlight Tuesday during a ground-breaking ceremony at
Southern Methodist University, where plans to build his presidential library have divided the campus.
Mr. Bush, who left office with low approval ratings and spent two years in relative seclusion, has recently worked
to burnish his image, giving interviews to Oprah Winfrey and the Today Show's Matt Lauer to promote his book"Decision Points."
"Staying out of current affairs and politics does not mean staying out of policy," Mr. Bush said to the crowd
gathered under a large white tent."I strongly believe that the principles that guided our service in public office
are the right principles to lead our country in the future."
Mr. Bush said a public policy institute attached to the library would promote those principles, as well as improve
free markets, global health, political freedom and education.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who used a cane to climb to the dais, made a dig at the Obama administration,
calling the presidential center"the only shovel-ready project in America," drawing laughs. The president's wife,
Laura Bush, an SMU graduate, also attended, as did former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and ex-Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe.... -
- Bush and Cheney, Together Again at Groundbreaking:
With the turn of a shovel and a few turns of phrase, former President George W. Bush culminated an elaborately
orchestrated return to the public stage on Tuesday with a presidential library groundbreaking and a reunion with
former Vice President Dick Cheney.
In a rare public appearance since a long hospital stay earlier this year, former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared
In their first public appearance together since leaving office, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney heaped praise on each other,
putting behind them the tension of their final days in the White House when they fought over the president’s refusal
to pardon the vice president’s ex-chief of staff. In his new memoir, Mr. Bush wrote that he worried that the fight
had fractured their friendship.
Addressing a crowd of 2,500 supporters and Bush administration veterans, Mr. Cheney said the response to Mr. Bush’s
book showed that the country had begun to re-evaluate him."Two years after you left office, judgments are a little more measured than they were," Mr. Cheney said."When times
have been tough or the critics have been loud, you’ve always said you had faith in history's judgment, and history
is beginning to come around."
Mr. Bush responded by hailing his No. 2 and recalling the decision to ask him to be the running mate in 2000."As
I stand here," Mr. Bush said,"there is no doubt in my mind he was the right pick then, he was a great vice president
of the United States and I’m proud to call him friend."... -
- George W. Bush's return to spotlight won't last:
'After selling this book, I'm heading back underground,' the former president says while promoting his new memoir.
Work starts this week on his Dallas think tank and presidential library... -
- Dubya Entertains Crowds At Miami Book Fair:
Former President George W. Bush revealed a lighter side of himself Sunday afternoon before a crowd of hundreds at
the Miami Book Fair International at Miami Dade College.
He spoke about his book,"Decision Points."
It's not a memoir, but Bush's way of recounting his decision to run for office and the tough decisions he had to
make during his 8 years in the White House.
"I wanted people to understand what it was like to be President during a consequential time," Bush said."I made a
lot of controversial decisions and I wanted to give the reader the chance to understand the process by which I made
He talked about a lot of the pressure points of his tenure, including weapons of mass destruction, Sept 11th and his
decision to invade Iraq."It's a painful experience to... I'm certainly not equating the pain that people feel when their child is sent into
combat and gets hurt or loses their life," Bush said."It's a difficult decision for the President and no President
should ever commit our troops without serious thought about the consequences."... -
CBS News, 11-14-10
- Has Bush's low profile helped his legacy?:
George W. Bush is back. This time he's selling a book but once again he's getting very mixed reviews.
The former president, who has kept largely out of the public eye in the two years since he left office, emerged this
week with"Decision Points," a 497-page opportunity to revisit the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan and other crucial episodes of his personal life and political career.
"Some of the decisions I made were very controversial," Bush told NBC's Matt Lauer,"and I knew that putting them
in the book would create controversy."...
In that time, he swung from the highest presidential popularity rating Gallup pollsters ever recorded (90 percent)
to the lowest (20 percent).
In some ways, Bush's two years out of the public eye may have helped his legacy.... -
- Paging Jeb Bush -- for 2012:
In fact, some folks in the GOP are so convinced that there is a Bush renaissance in the offing that they're hoping to
turn that wave into another White House victory for the Bush family.
That's right. If the era of Bush fatigue is really over, then here comes baby brother. Jeb Bush, the popular former
two-term governor of Florida, is being mentioned as a viable Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012,
although he has denied having an interest in running.
(Both Bush brothers will be guests on a special edition of State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Sunday at 8 and
11 p.m. ET.)
While Jeb has his share of detractors, he also seems to have the same knack for bringing people together that his big
brother had for driving them apart. And, with the Tea Party ready to go to war with the GOP establishment in the
political equivalent of a cage match for control of the Republican Party, that skill set could come in handy.... -
- Bush talks about addiction at Milwaukee appearance:
Former president George W. Bush says he plans to go back to shying away from the limelight once he's done promoting
He spoke Wednesday night to 2,500 people to raise money for Teen Challenge Wisconsin, a faith-based drug and alcohol
The 64-year-old also talked about his struggles with alcoholism, which are detailed in his new memoir,"Decision
Points." He said quitting drinking at age 40 was one of the toughest decision ever.
He said anyone can struggle with addiction,"Even those of us who ended up with the fanciest title of all."
He also spoke of going"from 100 miles per hour to zero" after leaving the White House and walking through his
then-new Dallas neighborhood with his dog Barney and a plastic bag.... -
Chicago Tribune, 11-11-10
- George W. Bush In Chicago: Praises Mayor Daley's Leadership:
Former President George W. Bush made a stop in Chicago Thursday to promote his new book,"Decision Points" and get
some face time with Mayor Daley.
During an appearance at the Union League Club, Bush praised Daley's leadership, discussed his alcohol problem and
Chicago's role in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Bush said he wasn't pandering when he called Chicago the"best-run city in America" due to Daley's leadership, and
said Daley responded"brilliantly" when Chicago's Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) was threatened by terrorists.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports:"People forget that the Sears Tower was a target -- a genuine target, and the mayor responded, and his people
responded, brilliantly to the threats," Bush said....
"This was one of the really interesting examples of federal, state and local cooperation. By necessity, we had to
share assets and resources in a much better way."... -
Huff Post, 11-11-10 --
Chicago Sun-Times, 11-11-10
- Bush memoir 'Decision Points' sells 220,000 copies on first day:
Former President George W. Bush's memoir"Decision Points" sold at least 220,000 copies through its first day of
release, with more than 20 per cent generated by e-book purchases.
Random House Inc. announced Wednesday that opening-day sales, which include preorders and represent 95 per cent of
accounts reporting, was the publisher's highest for nonfiction since former President Clinton's"My Life" debuted
with 400,000 in 2004. Bush's book came out Tuesday with an announced first printing of 1.5 million copies, the
same as Clinton's did.
Random House said that e-sales were 50,000 so far, a number unthinkable when"My Life" was published.... -
- Bush to speak in Chicago Thursday:
Former president George W. Bush will speak at the Union League Club in downtown Chicago as part of his"Decision Points" book tour Thursday. The event will takes place at 8:45 a.m.... -
ABC Local, 11-10-10
- George Bush 'Decision Points' – how many books will he sell?:
Publishers of President Bush's 'Decision Points' have printed up 1.5 million copies. President Bill Clinton's
'My Life' sold 606,000 in its first week, and has totaled 2.2 million since.... -
CS Monitor, 11-10-10
- 'Not telling the truth': Former German Chancellor calls George Bush a liar over memoir's claim of Iraq
Claims: George W. Bush writes in his new book Decision Points that former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
reneged on a deal to join the Iraq war... -
Daily Mail UK, 11-11-10
- Bush Memoir Gives Short Shrift to His Pardon Record:
Former President George W. Bush tucked a paragraph into his newly published memoir"Decision Points" about how he
decided to handle a late flurry of pardon-seekers who used special access to the White House to press their cases:
One of the biggest surprises of my presidency was the flood of pardon requests at the end. I could not believe the
number of people who pulled me aside to suggest that a friend or former colleague deserved a pardon. At first I was
frustrated. Then I was disgusted. I came to see the massive injustice in the system. If you had connections to the
president, you could insert your case into the last-minute frenzy. Otherwise, you had to wait for the Justice
Department to conduct a review and make a recommendation. In my final weeks in office, I resolved that I would not
pardon anyone who went outside the formal channels.
As history, this portrayal of Mr. Bush’s handling of pardons is incomplete. It omits mention of a slate of 20
felony offenders granted clemency by Mr. Bush on Dec. 23, 2008 – less than a month before he left office.... -
- Bush's Waterboarding Admission Prompts Calls For Criminal Probe:
The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday joined a growing chorus in the human rights community calling for a
special prosecutor to investigate whether former president George W. Bush violated federal statutes prohibiting
In his new memoir and ensuing book tour, Bush has repeatedly admitted that he directly authorized the waterboarding
of three terror suspects.
The ACLU is urging Attorney General Eric Holder to ask Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate Bush.
For nearly three years now, Durham has been acting as a special prosecutor investigating a variety of torture-
related matters involving government officials considerably lower on the food chain. Just this Tuesday, it was
widely reported that Durham had cleared the CIA's former top clandestine officer and others in the destruction of
agency videotapes showing waterboarding of terror suspects -- but that he would continue pursuing other aspects
of his investigation.
"The ACLU acknowledges the significance of this request, but it bears emphasis that the former President's
acknowledgment that he authorized torture is absolutely without parallel in American history," the group wrote in
its letter to Holder."The admission cannot be ignored. In our system, no one is above the law or beyond its reach, not even a former
president. That founding principle of our democracy would mean little if it were ignored with respect to those
in whom the public most invests its trust. It would also be profoundly unfair for Mr. Durham to focus his inquiry
on low-level officials charged with implementing official policy but to ignore the role of those who authorized
or ordered the use of torture."... -
Huffington Post, 11-11-10
- Room for forgiveness on Bush book tour:
Former President George W. Bush's media blitz to sell his new book seems carefully designed to minimize surprises,
although he got one Wednesday in a surprise rapprochement with Kanye West.
The rapper says now that he"didn't have the grounds" to call Bush a racist after Hurricane Katrina. The former
president was shown tape of West's comments in a live"Today" show interview and said he appreciated West's regret.
Bush has primarily favored the leaders of their respective fields in an effort to spread his salesmanship as wide
as possible: NBC News, Fox News Channel, Rush Limbaugh, Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno. ABC, CBS and CNN were
deemphasized or left behind entirely.
In an earlier media era, Matt Lauer's one-hour taped interview with Bush would have been jealously guarded until
airtime, said Jim Bell, executive producer of the"Today" show. Instead, it was sliced and diced and spread around
various outlets: clips aired on"Today" last Thursday and Friday and on"Nightly News." A business-oriented response
was sent to CNBC, and political comments to MSNBC and further quotes out to local NBC affiliates.
MSNBC is airing an expanded, two-hour version of the interview this weekend.
Monday's prime-time special wasn't a big seller, finishing fourth in its time slot with more than 7 million viewers,
the Nielsen Co. said. That's generally a tough night for NBC, and the interview did slightly better than"Chuck"
usually does in the time slot.... -
- Former President Bush Uses New Book, Media Tour to Defend His Legacy:
Tuesday marks the official release of former President George W. Bush's memoir,"Decision Points," in which he
reflects on the most significant decisions he made as president, as well as in his personal life.
Mr. Bush's media blitz to promote the book began Monday night in a taped interview with Matt Lauer of NBC News that
saw the former president accept blame for some controversial decisions while giving a forceful defense of others.... -
PBS Newshour, 11-9-10
- Decision Points, the George W. Bush memoir, released:
George W. Bush is on a book tour to promote his memoir"Decision Points."... -
- In memoir, Bush defends waterboarding, admits mistakes:
After staying largely mum on the political scene since leaving office almost two years ago, former President
George W. Bush will reveal his thoughts on the most historic -- and controversial -- parts of his presidency
with the release of his memoir Tuesday.
In the 481-page book, Bush shares his thoughts on the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and what he calls the"worst moment" of his presidency.... -
- Bush book praised in Dallas, criticized overseas:
Autograph-seekers descended on a Dallas shopping center Tuesday as former President George W. Bush officially
kicked off the release of his new memoir, receiving praise for his candor at a hometown bookstore even as his
renewed defense of waterboarding as an interrogation tactic was greeted with derision overseas.
First in line at the Borders store about a mile from Bush's Dallas home were Terry and Tammy Jones of suburban
Justin, who camped out overnight. They said when they told Bush of their wait, he said he'd sign their books"with admiration," shaking 53-year-old Terry Jones' hand and kissing his wife's."Eighteen hours for two seconds and a kiss on the hand," Tammy Jones, 52, said with a smile.
Terry Jones said he admired Bush because"when he makes a decision, he sticks with it."
But such steadfastness also prompted criticism Tuesday in Europe, where reports about Bush's memoir"Decision Points"
focused on waterboarding.... -
- George W. Bush Begins Publicity Tour:
President George W. Bush is starting to do the rounds promoting his new book"Decision Points." He spoke with NBC's
Matt Lauer on the Today Show. In the book and in the interview he defended the decision to invade Iraq, even though
the casus belli, weapons of mass destruction, was a mirage.
"Was there ever any consideration of apologizing to the American people?" Lauer asked.
"I mean, apologizing would basically say the decision was a wrong decision," Bush replied."And I don't believe it was the wrong decision. I thought the best way to handle this was to find out why. And
what went wrong. And to remedy it."
In his book, Bush writes,"There were things we got wrong in Iraq, but that cause is eternally right."
Bush also spoke with the Times of London. Both in the book and the interview he strongly defended the use of
waterboarding.(yes, they have a pay wall)
In an interview with The Times, the former US President offered a vigorous defence of the coercive interrogation
technique:"Three people were waterboarded and I believe that decision saved lives." He denied that waterboarding,
which simulates drowning, amounted to torture.
Asked if he authorised the use of waterboarding to get information from the captured al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed, he was unequivocal:"Damn right!" In his new book he writes:"Their interrogations helped break up plots
to attack American diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf in London, and multiple targets
in the United States." -
- Was George W. Bush Willing to Endorse Barack Obama?:
He called himself The Decider, but as former president George W. Bush emerges from his self-imposed exile to
promote his new book, he's become The Denier. Specifically, he's been busy denying rumors about his contempt for
John McCain. On Friday, the Daily News quoted a"Republican official familiar with Bush's thinking" who claimed
that Bush thought McCain"destroyed any chance of winning by picking Palin" and was"less of a man" for doing so.
He wouldn't be the first one to think that, but on Rush Limbaugh's radio show yesterday, Bush insisted,"I never
said that, never would have said that."
Yesterday, an even more intriguing story appeared on a blog of the Financial Times. Alex Barker writes of his"favourite Bush anecdote," which"some of the witnesses still dine out on":
The venue was the Oval Office. A group of British dignitaries, including Gordon Brown, were paying a visit. It was
at the height of the 2008 presidential election campaign, not long after Bush publicly endorsed John McCain as his
Naturally the election came up in conversation. Trying to be even-handed and polite, the Brits said something
diplomatic about McCain’s campaign, expecting Bush to express some warm words of support for the Republican candidate.
Not a chance."I probably won’t even vote for the guy," Bush told the group, according to two people present."I had to endorse him. But I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me."
Now, Bush not voting for McCain and giving him a forced endorsement, sure, we can buy that. The two never had a
great relationship following their bitter primary battle in 2000, and in Decision Points, Bush laments that McCain
kept his distance in the 2008 campaign. He also writes that McCain was unimpressive in their meeting during the
But endorsing Obama?... A Bush spokesman says,"This is ridiculous and untrue. President Bush proudly supported
John McCain in the election and voted for him." -
NY Mag, 11-10-10
- 2,500 show up for Bush book signing in Dallas:
An estimated 2,500 people showed up at a North Dallas Borders bookstore to get an autographed copy of George W. Bush's
first memoir, the bookseller reports. But the former president could put his John Hancock on only 1,300 copies of
Decision Points and on 500 bookplates for the legion of unlucky buyers.
In a news release, Borders noted that Bush signed 500 copies more than expected (800) and that hundreds of others in
line would receive a signed bookplate later.
First in line were Terry and Tammy Jones of Justin, Texas, who camped out overnight after arriving at the store
yesterday about 2 p.m. They bought four books Bush autographed, met him briefly, and beamed, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes."I waited 18 hours for two seconds and a kiss on my hand. I'm never washing this hand again," Tammy Jones said.... -
USA Today, 11-9-10
- Bush is back, and eager to help history judge him:
George W. Bush knows that history will shape his legacy more than anything he can say. But that's not gonna stop a
guy from trying.
After two years of near silence, Bush is back.
With his new memoir,"Decision Points," and a promotion tour, the president who in cockier times could not
think of a single mistake he had made, lists many. He counts the years without a post-9/11 attack as his
transcendent achievement. He says the economic calamity he handed off to Barack Obama was"one ugly way to
end a presidency."... -
- "Decision Points": George Bush's view of his presidency:
In his new memoir"Decision Points," George W. Bush weighs in on the Iraq war, the financial crisis, Hurricane
Katrina, John McCain's 2008 campaign, and other episodes in his presidency.... -
CS Monitor, 11-7-10
- Busy week awaits author George W. Bush:
Former President George W. Bush will be highly visible next week when his memoir, Decision Points, goes on sale.
According to reports from copies that were leaked this week, Bush writes that he considered replacing Vice President
Dick Cheney, that he personally signed off on water-boarding as an interrogation technique and that he considers it a
mistake to have flown over – but not landed near – the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
The book release comes a week ahead of the groundbreaking for Bush's presidential library at Southern Methodist
University on Nov. 16.... -
The Dallas Morning News, 11-6-10
- John McCain looks bad in George W. Bush's book:
Sen. John McCain never asked then-President George W. Bush to campaign for him in 2008, though Bush thinks he
could have helped the Arizona senator.
In his forthcoming memoir,"Decision Points," Bush explores his" complex relationship" with McCain."I understood he had to establish his independence," Bush wrote."I thought it looked defensive for John to
distance himself from me. I was confident I could have helped him make his case. But the decision was his. I
was disappointed I couldn’t do more to help him."
The 43rd president suggests his opponent for the Republican nomination in 2000 blew an opportunity to capitalize
politically on the financial crisis eight years later. Without saying it explicitly, Bush portrays then-Sen.
Barack Obama as more presidential than McCain in his handling of the financial crisis.... -
- George W Bush says he was 'blindsided' by financial crisis:
George W Bush, the former US president, has said that he was"blindsided" by the financial crisis that began at
the end of his final term in office.... -
Telegragh UK, 11-9-10
- George W Bush memoir 'Decision Points' to go on sale:
George W Bush will on Monday begin a media blitz that will thrust him back into the lives of Americans after two
years of near silent retirement.
The former US president campaign to rehabilitate his reputation in multiple interviews and television appearances
to publicise the memoir, which is published this week both in the US and UK.
He will be on screens and the airwaves every day for a week, conducting interviews with giants of American
broadcasting such as Oprah Winfrey and Jay Leno.
On Winfrey's show he will be accompanied by his parents, former President George Bush and former first lady
Barbara Bush, while his wife Laura will join him on a breakfast television appearance.... -
Telegraph (UK), 11-7-10
- George Bush: I was not in shock on 9/11
In memoirs and TV interview, George Bush says he wanted to project calm after 9/11 attacks:
They were the seven minutes that, for some, came to define a presidency. On one side of the TV screen, a New York
landmark was in flames after hijacked planes smashed into the World Trade Centre. On the other, George Bush sat
before a group of children looking like a startled rabbit, conveying a sense of paralysis, if not panic, after
an aide told him of the attacks.
But Bush says that anyone who thinks he was in shock has got it wrong. He was trying not to create panic."My first
reaction was anger. How dare they do this to America?" Bush told NBC News in an interview to be broadcast on
Monday to coincide with the release of his memoirs.
"I made the decision not to jump up and create a chaotic scene, because right after … These are quick reflections,
anger, duty to protect the country, and then all of a sudden the cellphones are ringing. Now, the noise
[from reporters receiving calls about the attacks]," he said."But it clarified to me that people were going to be
watching my reaction. And I'd had enough experience as governor of Texas during some disasters to know that the
reaction of the leader is essential in the first stage of any crisis."
Pressed on whether he was paralysed into inaction, Bush was dismissive."I'm not going to debate the critics as
to whether or not I was in shock or not. I wasn't. And they can read the book, and they can draw their own conclusion,"
Bush's book, Decision Points, offers insights into his beliefs, including a vigorous defence of the death
penalty in an argument over dinner with Cherie Blair.
Much of it is dedicated to justifying what some consider to be indefensible, not least his invasion of Iraq on what
proved to be the spurious pretext of hunting for weapons of mass destruction. The former president acknowledges
there were dissenters on the question of whether to go to war. He claims he was among them.
"I was a dissenting voice. I didn't want to use force. I mean force is the last option for a president," he said.
But he told NBC there was no need for an apology."I mean apologising would basically say the decision was a wrong
decision. And I don't believe it was the wrong decision," he said.... -
Guardian UK, 11-3-10
- In memoir, Bush says he considered dropping Cheney from 2004 ticket:
Former president George W. Bush once considered replacing his vice president, Richard B. Cheney, Bush says in a
revealing memoir in which he offers advice on the U.S. economy and admits mistakes on Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.
Bush's book,"Decision Points," is full of anecdotes and behind-the-scenes details of eight eventful years that began
with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and ended with an economic meltdown in which"I felt like the captain of a
"No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn't find the weapons. I had a sickening feeling every time
I thought about it. I still do," Bush writes.
Bush writes that he considered the offer, adding that although Cheney"helped with important parts of our base,
he had become a lightning rod for criticism from the media and the left."
Although Bush did not like Cheney's image as described by critics, accepting his resignation offer would help"demonstrate that I was in charge," he writes.... -
- In book, Bush strongly defends use of waterboarding:
When then-President George W. Bush was asked to approve a tough interrogation technique known as waterboarding on
September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he wasted little time in deciding."Damn right," he said.
Bush's approval of waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning condemned by human rights activists as torture,
to try to wrench information from captured al Qaeda operatives was among the most controversial decisions he made
during eight years in the White House.
In his memoir,"Decision Points," Bush strongly defends the use of waterboarding as critical to his efforts to
prevent a repeat of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. He says waterboarding was limited to
three detainees and led to intelligence breakthroughs that thwarted attacks.
The book, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, is to hit bookstores on Tuesday. He writes that his ability to
prevent another September 11 attack on U.S. soil was"my most meaningful accomplishment."... -
- Bush rejects accusations of racism over Katrina:
Former President George W. Bush says criticism from some, including prominent rapper Kanye West, that his handling
of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina showed he did not care about black people represented"an all-time low."
In his memoir,"Decision Points," to be released next Tuesday, Bush writes that charges flung at him that he was a
racist during the Katrina crisis"was the worst moment of my presidency."
In excerpts of an interview of Bush by NBC's"Today" show to be aired next Monday, the former president was asked
about West's comment that"George Bush doesn't care about black people."
"And I didn't appreciate it then. I don't appreciate it now. It's one thing to say, 'I don't appreciate the way he's
handled his business.' It's another thing to say, 'this man's a racist,'" Bush said."I resent it, it's not true," Bush said."And it was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency."
He said his record was strong"when it came to race relations and giving people a chance."
Bush writes in his book, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, that his initial mistake on Katrina was failing
to communicate his concern for the storm's victims.
He said he should not have done an Air Force One flyover of New Orleans while much of the city was under water."The photo of my hovering over the damage suggested I was detached from the suffering on the ground. That wasn't
how I felt. But once the public impression was formed, I couldn't change it," he writes.... -
- Ex-President George W. Bush rips wisdom of Barack Obama, Sarah Palin and John McCain to friends: "Naming Palin makes Bush think less of McCain as a man," a Republican official familiar with Bush's thinking told
the Daily News."He thinks McCain ran a lousy campaign with an unqualified running mate and destroyed any chance of winning by
picking Palin.""I want my President to succeed because if my President succeeds my country succeeds, and I want my country to
succeed," Bush typically says when asked about Obama.
"He won't call Obama by name but he won't trash him," a confidant noted, referring to Bush's comments in post-
presidency speaking appearances, which have netted him millions, often at $100,000 or more a pop.
Still, he thinks Obama has failed as a President - a judgment supported by this week's robust Republican gains."He thinks the policy is adrift," one insider reported.
NY Daily News, 11-5-10
- Bush's memoir explains: U.S. can't appear to be doing Israel's bidding:
In excerpts released from soon-to-be-published book, ex-president says was asked by then PM Olmert to strike
Syria's nuclear reactor.... -
The early reviews of George W. Bush’s memoir"Decision Points" are already out, even though the book is under a
sales embargo until next Tuesday. If you want to read one of the book’s"deluxe" copies — the hand-numbered, hand-
signed edition that comes with a slipcase, a"special color photo frontispiecE" and a $350 price tag — you’ll have
to wait even longer, until Nov. 30.
Bush may have left office with rock-bottom approval ratings. But if the experience of another unpopular ex-president
is any guide, both editions of his book may do surprisingly well.... -
- Bush memoir coming with huge first printing:
We’re one month and a day away from the launch of George W. Bush’s presidential memoir"Decision Points."
The former president’s book, which goes on sale on Nov. 9, will have a huge first printing of 1.5 million copies,
Crown Publishers said in a statement on Thursday.
Bush writes about crucial points in his life and presidency including his decision to run for the highest office
in the country; 9/11; the decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq; his response to Hurricane Katrina; and
his relationship with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, Crown said.
But there’s so much more than just a book (and book tour) coming next month. The publishers are simultaneously
rolling out the whole kit and caboodle — across multiple platforms — with the hardcover version, an e-book edition,
a Deluxe e-book edition and an audiobook (from RandomHouse), read by the author himself... -
- George W. Bush starting to emerge from cone of silence:
President No. 43 gave a lecture at the University of Texas in Tyler, Texas, on Tuesday and spoke before a sold-out
crowd of 2,000 people. All this is according to the Tyler newspaper.
Bush talked up a book he has written about major decisions he made as president, “Decision Points,” which is to be
published on Nov. 9. The author will be doing a number of major interviews surrounding the publication of his memoir,
including with a Facebook fan.
"This will come as a shock to some people in our country who didn't think I could read a book, much less write one,"
he joked..."I miss being pampered. I miss Air Force One. I miss being commander-in-chief of an awesome group of (people)," he
Bush said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told him,"If you don’t do something significant, you’re likely to see a
depression greater than the Great Depression."..."Depression, no depression," Bush said."It wasn’t that hard for me, just so you know. I made the decision to use
your money to prevent the collapse from happening."
Bush also said he read a dozen biographies of Abraham Lincoln while in office, and,"I think he’s the country’s
- Excerpt: President Bush in his own words on 9/11, Iraq
In 'Decision Points,' he describes moments of high emotion, prayer:
"While my emotions might have been similar to those of most Americans, my duties were not," President Bush writes
of the 9/11 terrorist attacks."There would be time later to mourn. ... But first I had to manage the crisis."
In his new memoir “Decision Points,” President George W. Bush shares candid, never-before-heard details about his
presidency. This excerpt conveys the emotions Bush felt in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the decision
to go to war in Iraq.
The Secret Service wanted to get me to Air Force One, and fast. As the motorcade charged down Florida Route 41,
I called Condi from the secure phone in the limo. She told me there had been a third plane crash, this one into
the Pentagon. I sat back in my seat and absorbed her words. My thoughts clarified: The first plane could have been
an accident. The second was definitely an attack. The third was a declaration of war.
My blood was boiling. We were going to find out who did this, and kick their ass. ...
... I stepped into the presidential cabin and asked to be alone. I thought about the fear that must have seized the
passengers on those planes and the grief that would grip the families of the dead. So many people had lost their
loved ones with no warning. I prayed that God would comfort the suffering and guide the country through this trial.
I thought of the lyrics from one of my favorite hymns,"God of Grace and God of Glory":"Grant us wisdom, grant us
courage, for the facing of this hour."
While my emotions might have been similar to those of most Americans, my duties were not. There would be time later
to mourn. There would be an opportunity to seek justice. But first I had to manage the crisis. We had suffered the
most devastating surprise attack since Pearl Harbor. An enemy had struck our capital for the first time since the
War of 1812. In a single morning, the purpose of my presidency had grown clear: to protect our people and defend
our freedom that had come under attack ...
... The collapse of the towers magnified the catastrophe. Fifty thousand people worked in the buildings on a typical
business day. Some had been evacuated, but I wondered how many were left. Thousands? Tens of thousands? I had no idea.
But I was certain that I had just watched more Americans die than any president in history.
I kept up-to-date on the latest developments by calling Dick and Condi in the PEOC (Presidential Emergency Operations
Center). We tried to establish an open line, but it kept dropping. ...
... When we did receive information, it was often contradictory and sometimes downright wrong. I was experiencing
the fog of war. There were reports of a bomb at the State Department, a fire on the National Mall, a hijacked Korean
airliner bound for the United States, and a call-in threat to Air Force One. The caller had used the plane’s code
name, Angel, which few people knew. The most bizarre report came when I was informed of a high-speed object flying
toward our ranch in Crawford. All of this information later proved to be false. But given the circumstances, we took
every report seriously.
One report I received proved true. A fourth plane had gone down somewhere in Pennsylvania."Did we shoot it down,
or did it crash?" I asked Dick Cheney. Nobody knew. I felt sick to my stomach. Had I ordered the death of those
On Wednesday, March 19, 2003, I walked into a meeting I had hoped would not be necessary.
The National Security Council had gathered in the White House Situation Room, a nerve center of communications
equipment and duty officers on the ground floor of the West Wing. The top center square of the secure video screen
showed General Tommy Franks sitting with his senior deputies at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. In the other
five boxes were our lead Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Special Operations commanders. Their counterparts from
the British Armed Forces and Australian Defense Forces joined as well.
I asked each man two questions: Do you have everything you need to win? And are you comfortable with
Each commander answered affirmatively.
Tommy spoke last."Mr. President," the commanding general said,"this force is ready."
I turned to Don Rumsfeld."Mr. Secretary," I said,"for the peace of the world and the benefit and freedom of
the Iraqi people, I hereby give the order to execute Operation Iraqi Freedom. May God bless the troops."
Tommy snapped a salute."Mr. President," he said,"may God bless America."
As I saluted back, the gravity of the moment hit me. For more than a year, I had tried to address the threat
from Saddam Hussein without war. We had rallied an international coalition to pressure him to come clean about
his weapons of mass destruction programs. We had obtained a unanimous United Nations Security Council resolution
making clear there would be serious consequences for continued defiance. We had reached out to Arab nations about
taking Saddam into exile. I had given Saddam and his sons a final forty-eight hours to avoid war. The dictator
rejected every opportunity. The only logical conclusion was that he had something to hide, something so important
that he was willing to go to war for it.
I knew the consequences my order would bring. I had wept with widows of troops lost in Afghanistan. I had hugged
children who no longer had a mom or a dad. I did not want to send Americans into combat again. But after the
nightmare of 9/11, I had vowed to do what was necessary to protect the country. Letting a sworn enemy of America
refuse to account for his weapons of mass destruction was a risk I could not afford to take.
I needed time to absorb the emotions of the moment. I left the Situation Room, walked up the stairs and through
the Oval Office, and took a slow, silent lap around the South Lawn. I prayed for our troops, for the safety of the
country, and for strength in the days ahead. Spot, our springer spaniel, bounded out of the White House toward me.
It was comforting to see a friend. Her happiness contrasted with the heaviness in my heart.
There was one man who understood what I was feeling. I sat down at my desk in the Treaty Room and scrawled out
Dear Dad, ...
At around 9:30 a.m., I gave the order to SecDef to execute the war plan for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In spite of
the fact that I had decided a few months ago to use force, if need be, to liberate Iraq and rid the country of WMD,
the decision was an emotional one. ...
I know I have taken the right action and do pray few will lose life. Iraq will be free, the world will be safer.
The emotion of the moment has passed and now I wait word on the covert action that is taking place.
I know what you went through.
- "Decision Points": Other revelations from the new George W. Bush memoir:
Was banned from the Princeton campus after a game where he led fellow Yalie undergrads to tear down the goalposts. ("All these years later I still haven't been back.") Yeah, he had been drinking.
Climbed onstage at a 1976 Willie Nelson concert in Odessa, Tex. ("I looked like a fool up there.") Yeah, he had been drinking.
After he gave up drinking at 40, got seriously into running. And chocolate."My body was screaming for sugar."
He and Laura were close to adopting when they found out she was pregnant with twins.
The twins' reaction to his presidential bid:"Dad, you're going to lose. You're not as cool as you think you are," and"Why do you want to ruin our lives?"
Knew he was going to get along with Tony and Cherie Blair when, during their first meeting at Camp David, the Brits picked"Meet the Parents" as an after-dinner movie. ("There was no stuffiness.")
Totally pulled Josh Bolten's leg just before his first meeting with Bono:"Used to be married to Cher, didn't he?"
Vladimir Putin made a point of introducing his big black Labrador during a visit to Russia."Bigger, stronger, and faster than Barney," Putin smirked. Later, Canadian PM Stephen Harper told Bush,"You're lucky he only showed you his dog." -
- Inside Bush's White House: A preview of W.'s memoir:
Former U.S. president George W. Bush's memoir, Decision Points, is due to be released next Tuesday, but excerpts
are already circulating.
Outside observers might pick his decision to go to war in Iraq, based on the non-evidence of weapons of mass
destructions. But although Mr. Bush admits to"a sickening feeling" about being proved wrong, it was Kanye West's
description of him as racist that really hit home."George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people" the rapper
said during a post-Katrina telethon. Mr. Bush calls the incident"one of the most disgusting moments in my
presidency."..."Damn right," Mr. Bush said when asked by the Central Intelligence Agency whether agents should employ the coercive
and controversial interrogation technique against the terror suspect."Had I not authorized waterboarding on senior al-Qaeda leaders, I would have
had to accept a greater risk that the country would be attacked."...
Says he felt"blindsided" over the Abu Ghraib scandal
Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary,"had told me the military was investigating reports of abuse at the prison,
but I had no idea how graphic or grotesque the photos would be," he writes."The first time I saw them was the day
they were aired on 60 Minutes II."
..."We were blindsided by a financial crisis that had been more than a decade in the making." His focus, he writes,"had been kitchen-table economic issues like jobs and inflation. I assumed any major credit troubles would have
been flagged by the regulators or rating agencies."...
Detainees were given"a personal copy of the Koran" and access to a library among whose popular offerings was"an Arabic translation of Harry Potter."...
"There was no way I was going to let a group of retired officers bully me into pushing out the civilian secretary
of defense. It would have looked like a military coup and would have set a disastrous precedent."..."Why hadn't I thought of Bob?" Mr. Bush wonders....
"While Dick helped with important parts of our base, he had become a lightning rod for criticism from the media
and the left. He was seen as dark and heartless – the Darth Vader of the administration."..."Accepting Dick’s offer would be one way to demonstrate that I was in charge."...
Mr. Cheney pushed Mr. Bush to pardon Lewis"Scooter" Libby, the vice-president’s former chief of staff who was
convicted of lying in the CIA leak case. Mr. Bush wrestled with the decision in his final weekend at Camp David
so much his wife, Laura, finally told him, “Just make up your mind. You’re ruining this for everyone.”
When he decided against a pardon, Mr. Cheney was bitter: “I can’t believe you’re going to leave a soldier
on the battlefield,” he said. “The comment stung,” Mr. Bush writes. “In eight years, I had never seen Dick
like this, or even close to it.” -
National Post, 11-5-10
- George W. Bush on Alcohol: 'It Became a Love': "It became a love and, therefore, began to compete for my love with my wife and my daughters," he said, according
to People.com."I wasn't a knee-walkin' drunk," Bush said in his interview with Lauer."I could easily have a beer or two, or a
martini, before dinner, bourbons, B&Bs. I was a drinker."
In an interview promoting his memoir,"Decision Points," the 43rd president said he got caught driving drunk on
Labor Day weekend in 1976 after a night of"drinking no hands at a bar" -- meaning he picked up and tossed back
a drink using only his mouth.
Bush didn't discuss the DUI until days before the 2000 election, when it became a scandal. Trying to keep the story
under wraps for so long is a choice that Bush considers"one of the top stupidest decisions I made.""Was really a bad choice. And if I had to do it -- look, you don't get to do it over again. But if I had to do it
over again, of course I would have disclosed. I mean there was nothing to hide. I -- yeah, I drank too much. I had
been pulled over. And I quit. It was a good story with a good ending, poorly timed."
"So I'm drunk at the dinner table at Mother and Dad's house in Maine. And my brothers and sister are there,
Laura's there. And I'm sitting next to a beautiful woman, friend of Mother and Dad's," he said, according
to the magazine."And I said to her out loud, 'What is sex like after 50?'"
The room went silent, and Bush said his wife and mother gave him"serious daggers."
Bush said he later apologized to the woman.
Though drinking took its toll, Bush says his inebriation came to an end years before his inauguration.
The former president noted that he gave up drinking cold turkey on his 40th birthday in 1986 and hasn't had a
sip since.... -
AOL News, 11-5-10
- Putin to Bush: My dog bigger than yours:
Russian leader Vladimir Putin once boasted to then-President George W. Bush about the size of his dog, in the
ultimate of"mine-is-bigger-than-yours" stories.
Former President Bush writes about the episode in his memoir,"Decision Points," which hits book stores next
Tuesday. Bush says he had introduced then-Russian President Putin to his Scottish terrier, Barney, on a visit
to the U.S. presidential retreat, Camp David.
Putin returned the favour when Bush visited Russia and Putin was giving him a tour of the grounds of his dacha."A big black Labrador came charging across the lawn. With a twinkle in his eye, Vladimir said, 'Bigger, stronger,
faster than Barney,'" Bush writes. A copy of the book was obtained by Reuters.
Bush says he later told the story to the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, who replied:"You're lucky he
only showed you his dog."... -
Times Live, 11-6-10
- Drudge Report: Decision Points Excerpts & Preview:
BUSH MAKES PEACE: BOOK REVEALED"It was a simple question, 'Can you remember the last day you didn't have a drink?'"
So begins President George W. Bush in the opening chapter ["Quitting"] from the most anticipated book of the season,
the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.
With DECISION POINTS, set for release November 9, Bush pulls back the curtain with a strikingly personal work that
takes very few shots at his critics.
The former president even stays clear of Obama! -
Drudge Report, 10-28-10
- "Some of the decisions I made were very controversial," Bush told NBC's Matt Lauer,"and I knew that putting
them in the book would create controversy." -- President Bush CNN International
- The Big Story: Our interview with former President George W. Bush:
George W. Bush, nearly two years removed from the White House, spent an hour this week with our William McKenzie
reflecting on key moments of his presidency, as his new book, Decision Points, hits the shelves.
There's much of interest in the full interview, whether you are a Bush supporter or critic. Here, Bush is asked about
those who accuse his administration of overreach on some issues:
No, of course. That's the nature of the presidency. But they're not the one that had to sit in the Oval Office.
Here may be one way to approach this issue: What would have happened had I not taken the measures to protect the
American people and there was an attack? What question should be asked then?
The nature of the presidency is you have to weigh things carefully. I hope people come away with, one, a better
appreciation of the environment in which I was making these decisions and, two, how the decisions were reached.
My most important job was to protect this country and, as I say in the book, it worked.
McKenzie got to know Bush during his years as Texas governor and offers this view of talking to the now-former
During the interview, he was relaxed, conversational and informal. For those who knew him in Texas as governor or
in some other capacity, they will get the picture. He was himself. That image didn't always come through as
president, but he is down-to-earth.
In fact, I reflected later that I couldn't imagine coming out of an interview with, say, Dwight Eisenhower,
Richard Nixon or, even going way back, Woodrow Wilson and feeling at ease. For a good part of the interview,
Bush propped his feet up on his desk, talked directly about his decisions and welcomed probing into how he
reached them. He has a great view of the Dallas skyline and during part of the conversation he stared out at
it as he talked about everything from Iraq to 9/11 to education to his new presidential center at SMU.... -
Dallas Morning News, 11-12-10
- >George W. Bush: Reflecting on eight consequential years:
George W. Bush sat down last week at his Dallas office with Dallas Morning News editorial columnist William McKenzie
to discuss his new book, Decision Points. During the hourlong interview, the former president spoke in a relaxed and
reflective way about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the financial crisis and Tuesday's groundbreaking of his
presidential library and institute at Southern Methodist University.... -
Dallas Morning News, 11-12-10
- Busy Bush plans to 'regain my anonymity': "I have peace in my heart, I truly do, and I have zero desire to try to battle for reputation," Bush told USA TODAY's
Judy Keen."One of the sacrifices one makes when you run and win the presidency is you lose your anonymity forever.
I'm trying to regain my anonymity."
On NBC's Today show, Bush told Matt Lauer that"I have no desire to debate.""My debating days are over," he said."I knew when I laid out the book, people would chomp on different issues,
sometimes spit it out, sometimes swallow it. I'm pleased with the response. All I ask is that people take a look.
After I sell this book, I'm heading back underground." -
USA Today, 11-11-10
- West, Bush and"Today" Show Spar Over"Racist" Remark:
The three-way verbal sparring began when Bush hit the promotional circuit for"Decision Points" and was asked about
passages that address comments West made on a television fund-raiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina. On the program
West said"George Bush doesn't care about black people."
In the book and in his own interview earlier this week on"Today," Bush told Lauer the comment upset him."He
called me a racist...I didn't appreciate it then. I don't appreciate it now."
"Today" then pursued an interview with West, which will air on Thursday, November 11. When asked by Lauer about
those past comments, West seemed to soften his stance about the former president.
"I would tell George Bush in my moment of frustration that I didn't have the grounds to call him a racist. But
I believe that in a situation of high emotion, like that, we as human beings don't always choose the right words,"
On Wednesday, Bush responded by saying,"I appreciate that. It wasn't just Kanye West who was talking like that
during Katrina. I cited him as an example. I cited others as an example as well. And, I appreciate that."... -
ABC News, 11-10-10
- UPDATED: Kanye West Criticizes ‘Today’ Show for ‘Brutal’ Interview:
One of several messages posted by Kanye West on his Twitter account after he taped an interview with the “Today” show.
An occasionally contentious interview between Kanye West and Matt Lauer taped for NBC’s"Today" show in some ways
conforms with a preemptive critique that Mr. West posted on his Twitter account, but at times appears to contradict
the rapper’s fiery recollection of it.
On Tuesday night, Mr. West wrote of an interview he recorded that morning with Mr. Lauer, a"Today" co-host. Mr. West
said he intended to respond to remarks by former President George W. Bush, who has said that Mr. West’s criticism
that he did not care about black people after Hurricane Katrina was “one of the most disgusting moments” of his
Mr. West wrote on his Twitter feed,"I went up there to express how I was empathetic to Bush because I labeled him
a racist and years later I got labeled as a racist." Instead, Mr. West said,"While I was trying to give the
interview they started playing the 'MTV' under me with audio," referring to the incident in which Mr. West
interrupted an acceptance speech by Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
In an all-caps message, Mr. West wrote that Mr. Lauer"tried to force my answers," adding,"It was very brutal and I
came there only with positive intent."... -
- Kanye called in to a Houston radio station the next day and apologized for the comments, saying,"I definitely
can understand the way he feels to be accused of being a racist in any way, because the same thing happened to me,"
he said, referring to criticism he got following his 2009 bum-rush of Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards."I got accused of being a racist, and ...... with both situations it was a lack of compassion that America...
-- Kanye West - MTV
- Unusually reflective Bush gives his side of the story:
This isn't the George W. Bush who couldn't come up with an answer when he was asked during a 2004 White House
news conference to name his biggest mistake.
Almost two years after leaving office, the former president readily lists his mistakes. He recites a litany of
errors in an interview and in his new book, Decision Points: He didn't act swiftly enough after Hurricane
Katrina in 2005. He should not have drawn down U.S. troops from Iraq so quickly. He wishes he had focused first
on immigration instead of an unsuccessful overhaul of Social Security during his second term.
"I readily concede I could have done things better," he says in his first newspaper interview since leaving the
presidency. To document his administration for future historians,"I had to concede that I did make mistakes, and
there was no question I did."
Bush says he was"blindsided" by the financial meltdown that shook the nation during his final year in office, but
he shares blame with Congress and defends his decisions when asked about the role of his policies in the recession.
Bush is unusually introspective as he speaks about his administration, his feelings about being the target of mockery
and the shape of his post-presidency. He makes it clear that after he promotes his book with a round of media
appearances, he will step out of the spotlight again. During an hour-long interview, he never mentions President
Obama's name.... -
USA Today, 11-9-10
- Oprah Fails to Question Bush on Important Aspects of His Legacy:
Former president George W. Bush being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on Nov. 11, 2010.
If someone were to ask you what the dominant political issue is at the moment, you'd probably say the national debt
or extension of the Bush tax cuts. The most controversial political fight of the last two years? Surely health-care
reform. So, when former president George W. Bush granted a long televised interview to promote his new memoir—which
is to say, as Bush attempts to polish his tarnished reputation—you'd think he would be asked about his budget-
busting tax cuts and the creation of a Medicare prescription-drug benefit.
You would be wrong. Like Matt Lauer Monday night, Oprah Winfrey, in her gauzy interview with Bush on Tuesday
afternoon, did not ask a single question about those policies.... -
- Bush admits mistakes, defends decisions
In memoir, he candidly writes about professional, personal regrets:
President George W. Bush will join Matt Lauer for a live sit-down interview on TODAY on Wednesday, Nov. 10.
Former President George W. Bush admits in his memoir"Decision Points" that his 2003"Mission Accomplished"
speech and his demeanor in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were some of the professional and personal mistakes
that he made. In his first one-on-one television interview since leaving the White House, the former president sat
down with Matt Lauer and opened up about his regrets.... -
- Bush recounts Katrina, WMD mistakes on talk show:
George W. Bush recounted the mistakes of his presidency on Oprah Winfrey's talk show as he launched a book tour to
promote his just-released memoir"Decision Points."
The former president said he still feels"sick about" the fact no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.
His response to Hurricane Katrina could have been quicker, he said, and he should have landed Air Force One two
days after the storm instead of viewing the destruction through the plane's window. And he said he didn't see the
financial meltdown coming.
The former president appeared Tuesday in a taped episode of"The Oprah Winfrey Show." Writing the memoir,
he said,"was an easy process" that has kept him busy."A lot of people don't think I can read, much less write," Bush joked on the program.... -
- George W. Bush calls Katrina photo a 'huge mistake': "Let's get to the picture that we may have seen more of you in the last couple years of your presidency than any
other picture," Lauer said."You're sitting in Air Force One, flying back toward Washington. You fly right over
New Orleans and you look out the window."
"Yes," Bush responded."Huge mistake."
LAUER: Yeah. And in comes the press and they take that picture. And it made you look so out of touch.
BUSH: Detached and uncaring. No question about it.
LAUER: Whose fault was it?
BUSH: It's always my fault. I mean I was the one who should have said, A, don't take my picture, B, let's land in
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, C, let's don't even come close to the area. Let's -- the next place to be seen is in
Washington at a command center. I mean, it was my fault.
LAUER: When the picture's released you write,"I immediately knew it was a problem."
BUSH: Of course. I'd been around long enough to know that when it was released. And the reason why we didn't land
in Louisiana is because I was concerned that first responders would be pulled off their task and I'd be criticized.
In retrospect, however, I should have touched down in Baton Rouge, met with the governor and walked out and said,"I hear you. We understand. And we're going to help the state and help the local governments with as much
resources as needed." And then got back on a flight up to Washington. I did not do that. And paid a price for it. -
Yahoo News, 11-5-10
- Cheney angered by Bush decision on Scooter Libby pardon:
Mr Bush told NBC News his decision at the end of his presidency merely to spare Libby a prison sentence rather
than pardon him angered Mr Cheney.
But, in a interview to promote a book, he said the friendship had recovered.
"We are friends today," Mr Bush said."I was a little concerned at the time. It was a hard decision at the time but
that's what you do when you're president, you make hard decisions."
Lewis Libby, also known by his nickname,"Scooter" Libby, was found guilty in March 2007 in the case connected
to Mr Bush's decision to invade Iraq. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison and a $250,000
fine. Mr Bush said the prison sentence was excessive and commuted it.... -
BBC News, 11-8-10
- Bush: Mother’s miscarriage shaped pro-life views
In memoir, he recalls driving her to hospital with fetus in jar:
Bush writes about the miscarriage in his book,"Decision Points," publicly disclosing it for the first time after
receiving permission from his mother to do so. He sat down with Matt Lauer for his first one-on-one television
interview since leaving the White House.
When Barbara Bush miscarried at home, she had young George drive her to the hospital. In her lap, Barbara Bush
held a jar containing the remains of the fetus, George Bush said. 0"She says to her teenage kid,"Here's a fetus,'" the former president told Lauer."No question it — that
affected me — my philosophy that we should respect life."
Recalling what he saw in the jar, Bush wrote,"There was a human life, a little brother or sister."... -
- A Content Man:
In an interview with Matt Lauer, Bush describes himself as"a content man."
No one was more shocked or angry than I was when we didn’t find the weapons. I had a sickening feeling every time
I thought about it. I still do.
I mean, apologizing would basically say the decision was a wrong decision… And I don't believe it was the wrong
It’s one thing to say, ‘I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘This man’s
a racist.’ I resent it. It’s not true. And it was one of the most disgusting moments in my presidency.
I made an additional mistake by failing to adequately communicate my concern for the victims of Katrina. This was a
problem of perception, not reality. My heart broke at the sight of helpless people trapped on their rooftops waiting
to be rescued.
If I invoked the Insurrection Act against [Governor Kathleen Blanco’s] wishes, the world would see a male Republican
president usurping the authority of a female Democratic governor by declaring an insurrection in a largely African-
American city. … I was as frustrated as I had been at any point in my presidency.... -
New Yorker, 11-3-10
- Bush won't critique Obama (or Palin): "I want to treat my successor the way I'd like to have been treated," Bush tells Oprah Winfrey in an interview
tied to release of his memoirs, Decision Points."I don't think it's good for a former president to be out there opining on every darned issue," Bush adds."He's got a plenty tough job. Trust me. And there's gonna be plenty of critics and he doesn't need me criticizing
him. And I don't think it's good for the presidency. Other people have a different point of view."
The Oprah interview airs Nov. 9, the day of the book's official release.
Here, according to a transcript provided by Oprah's people, Winfrey tries to draw out Bush on Sarah Palin:
OPRAH: So your brother Jeb was recently asked by CNN if he would support Sarah Palin for president. Did you hear that? In 2012.
PRES. BUSH: Yeah.
OPRAH: And he responded,"You betcha." Do you think that Sarah Palin is the one for the Republican party in 2012?
PRES. BUSH: You know, I am not a political pundit. I'm really not. And secondly, a lot is gonna happen between now and
the nominating process. I -- I have no clue.
OPRAH: I'm not asking you to pundit.
PRES. BUSH: Yeah, you are.
OPRAH: I'm just asking you your opinion.
PRES. BUSH: You're asking me to wade back into the swamp.
OPRAH: Come on in. Come on in.
USA Topday, 11-6-10
THE PRESIDENCY OF GEORGE W. BUSH: A FIRST HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT
- The historians whose essays appear in this book do not attempt to resolve this debate. The chapters catalogue
some of the successes of the administration, ranging from counterterrorism efforts against al Qaeda between 2001 and
2003 through AIDS policy in Africa to the appointment of minorities to prominent government positions. They also
examine some of the failures, including the damage caused by the war in Iraq, the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina,
and the devastating collapse of financial markets following years of deregulation in the fall of 2008. Rather than
speculate whether he was the worst or the best president in U.S. history, the contributors have attempted to place
the Bush White House in a broader historical perspective by understanding his presidency in relationship to the
The authors of the essays in this book are trying to write a first take on the history of this period, but one that
builds on the rich literature on the history of conservatism in modern America. We hope the essays provoke
further investigation. Since this is an early effort to write the history of the George W. Bush presidency, the
work is necessarily incomplete. We do not yet have access to some archival materials that will become available
in the future. Yet, in addition to the substantial documentation instantaneously available in the age of the
Internet, the contributors also have the advantage of producing this interpretation at a time when the emotions
and sentiment and context of President Bush’s actions are still vivid. We hope these essays offer the opening
to a conversation that will continue for centuries. --
Julian E. Zelizer in"The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment"
- Julian Zelizer: Five myths about George W. Bush:
I am very much looking forward to this chat about President George W. Bush and his legacy. In several of my recent
publications, including an article in the Washington Post yesterday and a new book that I edited, The Presidency of
George W. Bush: A First Historical Assessment, I have tried to move beyond some of the existing debate. Rather
than answer whether Bush is the"best or worst" president or to repeat discussions about why people hated or loved
him, the time has come to start understanding what actually happened when he was in office, to place these events
and personalities in broader context, and to start understanding his presidency in relationship to President Obama's.
Besides some of the more familiar issues that shaped his presidency, such as 9/11 and the war on terrorism, looking
back from 2010 raises new kinds of questions that might not have been as obvious at the time that his term ended:
What impact did Bush have on the conservative movement? What was the relationship between deregulation during these
years and the economic collapse in 2008? How did the economic policies of the period influence economic inequality?
What was the relationship between President Bush and congressional Republicans? How did Bush overcome some of the
obstacles that Obama has struggled in the political process? Did the Bush Doctrine really constitute as much as a
turning point in U.S. foreign policy as it seemed at the time? How do we evaluate the impact of the Surge--and what
did the decision-making behind that policy tell us about how the White House worked? How did President Bush come to
push for a substantial expansion of government--through TARP--in the middle of the economic crisis? What impact did
the 2006 elections have on the politics of his presidency? Which policies will outlast his presidency and why?
Obviously these are just a few questions and there are many more to discuss. But the time has come to start thinking
more seriously about this two-term president and the impact that he had on the nation. It is also to start developing
a more sophisticated understanding of the roots of this administration rather than writing about these years as if
everything started in 2001.... -
- "An all-star cast of historians examines the perplexing presidency of George W. Bush--the 'compassionate
conservative' who frequently ended up allied with the hard right, the 'uniter' who presided over one of the nation's
most divisive political eras, the advocate of 'humility' on the world stage who fiercely championed unilateral
presidential powers. After the journalists and pundits have had their say, the historians are here to put Bush's
tumultuous tenure in historical perspective. An essential resource for anyone seeking to understand contemporary
American politics." -- Jacob S. Hacker, coauthor of Winner-Take-All Politics and Off Center
- "With clarity and precision, some of America's most prominent historians of politics, law, and international
relations examine the controversial presidency of George W. Bush. Their assessments of Bush's administration are sober,
rigorous, and eye-opening. Together these essays will provide a foundation for the next generation of scholarship on
early twenty-first-century America." -- Thomas J. Sugrue, author of Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race
- "George W. Bush once stated that 'we'll all be dead' by the time history casts its judgment on his presidency.
Instead, in this engaging and timely portrait of the Bush era, eleven leading scholars assess the 'war on terror,'
the resurrection of the imperial presidency, the effects of tax cuts and corporate deregulation, and other foreign
and domestic policies promoted by big-government conservatism. While acknowledging the administration's political
accomplishments, the contributors to this volume emphasize the ultimate failures of the Bush presidency and the
conservative movement's strategies of governance." -- Matthew D. Lassiter, University of Michigan
- "Analytically shrewd and historically rich, this harvest of a book convenes a group of leading historians to assess
the country's recent past. Ranging from tax cuts to terrorism, and encompassing questions of ideology,
multiculturalism, and presidential capacity, the contributions to this volume establish the scope and agenda
for future studies of George W. Bush's tumultuous presidency." -- Ira Katznelson, Columbia University
- "This impressive collection features brilliant essays by some of America's best historians on the presidency of George
W. Bush. It's all here--from the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court decision that sealed Bush's first-term victory to the
stunning financial crisis that closed his tenure in office. This stimulating and highly accessible volume is must
reading for scholars, journalists, and concerned citizens." -- Eric M. Patashnik, author of Reforms at Risk
- "This is a superb collection of essays. I am impressed with the range of issues they cover and the lucidity with
which each essay illuminates a particular topic. Their interleaved and overlapping evidence reminds a general reader
of the layers of meaning embedded in every political decision taken by the Bush administration--and the sometimes
unfortunate consequences. This is an important and timely book." -- Alice Kessler-Harris, author of In Pursuit of Equity
- Bush works quietly to burnish his legacy:
Analysis: As presidential library opens and memoir hits stores, his approval rating rises as he 'gets his side of
the story out there'
Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin says Decision Points is Bush's attempt to lay down a marker for future
Goodwin, who helped Lyndon Johnson write his presidential memoir and won a Pulitzer Prize for her biography of
Franklin Roosevelt, said Decision Points is"not about shifting opinions right now."
"It's about getting his side of the story out there, so that when people write about his presidency, they will have
a window to his inside thoughts and be able to see him as a human being who was wrestling with tough decisions,"
"What happens after a president leaves office matters," she said."Just look at Truman."
The historian met with Bush and his collaborator, Christopher Michel, in Dallas as they worked on the book. She said
the former president"seemed to be at peace with what he did" during his two terms in office.
"So much (of Bush's legacy) is going to depend on what happens in Iraq," she said."That will be for the future. It's
still too soon to tell." -
Houston Chronicle, 11-20-10
- As Bush kicks off book tour, historians crown his family a Republican dynasty:
When three generations of Bushes assembled in May at a church in a fashionable part of Miami, it was more than a
wedding and a family reunion.
It was a gathering of the Republican Party's most enduring modern dynasty."While they disdain it, especially George W. who recoils in horror at the whole thing, they are our royal family,"
said historian Doug Wead.... -
Dallas Morning News (11-8-10)
- Bush Releases Memoir: 'He Knows the Historians Are Coming':
In his new memoir"Decision Points," former President George W. Bush explains some of the tough decisions he made
while in office, including how he dealt with 9/11, the lack of weapons of mass destruction and Hurricane Katrina.
Historians Michael Beschloss and Julian Zelizer give perspective on presidential memoirs.... -
PBS Newshour, 11-10-10
- Kanye West, George W. Bush Clash Doesn't Surprise Historian:
Bush is 'trying to show he's not coming out of a racist tradition,' political author says....
"For the last 40 years, pop culture has become much more important in politics," said Julian Zelizer, a professor
of history and public affairs at Princeton University and a leading figure in the field of American political history."[It's become about] how a president fits into pop culture and his relationship to some stars, whose political
activism has increased over the past 40 years. ... I do think the lines between celebrity culture and political
culture have thinned."...
Zelizer — author of books about the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush — said Bush's
revelation that West's remark hurt his feelings is a remarkable moment in the confluence of West Wing and pop culture.
"That it elicited the kind of emotion that nothing else does, even criticism about torture ... part of it is a
celebrity attacking him, but it's also a bigger issue that bothers [Bush]. This idea that he's trying to show he's
not coming out of a racist tradition and distinguish himself, that shows a broader frustration about how he's
perceived," Zelizer said...
But when they clash with pop-culture figures, Zelizer said, it's a testament to the power of both players."It's not beneath the president" to beef with a star, he said. Whereas in the past presidents might not have
bothered to respond to such slights, or would have ignored them, some modern Oval Office residents have weighed
in, even when they're not the subject of the dis....
"The reality is, like it or not, that celebrities have lots of influence in contemporary life," he said."In theory, it might be beneath them [to respond to stars' attacks] because there are other things they
should be worried about, but presidents will take it personally. It will get to them, maybe more by being attacked
by Kanye West than a member of Congress because of the reality of the world we live in." -
- Julian Zelizer: 5 myths about George W. Bush:
September 11. Katrina. Iraq. These events will be forever linked with the presidency of George W. Bush. Now, with
the release of his memoir,"Decision Points," the former president has the chance to defend his record and
explain his actions. But as historians and the public alike look back on the Bush White House, will we be able to
move past the persistent myths that endure about those tumultuous eight years?...
1. George W. Bush was an uninformed Texas cowboy....
2. Compassionate conservatism was just a campaign slogan....
3. Bush committed America to nation-building projects in Iraq and Afghanistan....
4. Dick Cheney ran the Bush White House....
5. Bush left conservatism in ruins.
- Shrub Studies:
Next week, Crown Publishers will issue President George W. Bush's memoir Decision Points, covering what the former
president calls"eight of the most consequential years in American history," which seems like a fair description.
They were plenty consequential. To judge from the promotional video, Bush will plumb the depths of his insight that
it is the role of a president to be"the decider." Again, it's hard to argue with his point -- though you have to
wonder if he shouldn’t let his accumulated wisdom ripen and mellow for a while before serving it.
Princeton University Press has already beat him into print with The Presidency of George W. Bush: A First Historical
Assessment, edited by Julian E. Zelizer, who is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton. The other
10 contributors are professors of history, international relations, law, and political science, and they cover the
expected bases -- the"War on Terror," the invasion of Iraq, social and economic policy, religion and race. It is a
scholarly book, which means that it is bound to make everybody mad. People on the left get angry at remembering the
Bush years, while those on the right grow indignant that anyone still wants to talk about them. So the notion that
they were consequential is perhaps not totally uncontroversial after all.
The contributors make three points about the Bush administration's place in the history of American conservatism
that it may be timely to sum up, just now.... -
Inside Higher Ed, 11-3-10