President Bush mocked other prominent politicians behind their backs while in office, according to a new book by former speechwriter Matt Latimer.
Last month, the Washington Post reported that ex-Bushies were feeling a "growing nervousness" over what might be in their old colleague's tome. The October issue of GQ includes some eye-opening excerpts from the book.
Of Obama, Latimer writes that Bush came in to rehearse a speech fuming. The New York Daily News reported:
This is a dangerous world," he said for no apparent reason, "and this cat isn't remotely qualified to handle it. This guy has no clue, I promise you."
Bush thought Hillary would be the Democratic nominee. "'Wait till her fat keister is sitting at this desk,' he once said (except he didn't say 'keister')," Latimer wrote.
But Bush was perhaps most critical of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin:
"I'm trying to remember if I've met her before. I'm sure I must have." His eyes twinkled, then he asked, "What is she, the governor of Guam?" [...]
"This woman is being put into a position she is not even remotely prepared for," he said. "She hasn't spent one day on the national level. Neither has her family. Let's wait and see how she looks five days out." It was a rare dose of reality in a White House that liked to believe every decision was great, every Republican was a genius, and McCain was the hope of the world because, well, because he chose to be a member of our party.
A former aide to Palin and Bush disputed the account, saying the two were close.
"There is no air, no space between them," he told CNN. "Sarah Palin is a big fan of George Bush, and she has said publicly she was proud he was Commander-in-Chief when her son Track was in Iraq."
Latimer also writes that at one point, Bush appeared not to understand his own administration's proposal to deal with the economic crisis.
One of the president's staff members anxiously pulled a few of us aside. "The president is misunderstanding this proposal," he warned. "He has the wrong idea in his head. ... It wasn't that the president didn't understand what his administration wanted to do. It was that the treasury secretary didn't seem to know, changed his mind, had misled the president, or some combination of the three.