Former President George W. Bush has been making the rounds this past week, talking up his newly-released memoir, "Decision Points," which is all about how Kanye West hurt his feelings that one time, apparently.
But Bush hasn't just been talking about the past with the media. Chris Stirewalt reports that he recently spent some time in "a closed-door speech to alumni of his administrations," which found him in a "freewheeling and reflective mood." There, he offered, Stirewalt writes, "a more frank version of the interviews Bush has been doing as part of the book tour."
On stage with former chiefs of staff Josh Bolten and Andy Card, Bush promised the alumni of his two administrations something they couldn't get on talk shows or even in the book.
"I didn't put everything in the book," Bush told the crowd. "Nobody reads a doorstop."
Here's one of the more noteworthy highlights:
Bush expressed regret for having used the phrase "bring 'em on" talking about America's adversaries in the War on Terror. Bush made a joke that using the now infamous phrase was at least better than saying the U.S. would "kick their asses."
As it turns out, President Bush could have been even more frank with his administration's insiders. Here's how the Sydney Morning Herald recalls a September 2007 meeting with Australian Prime Minister John Howard:
Mr Howard also announced increased defence co-operation, which includes more joint training exercises in Australia and enhanced co-operation on humanitarian disaster relief. He said the US could base supplies and equipment in Australia ready for immediate use in the region.
Iraq and Afghanistan dominated discussions. Mr Bush later thanked Australian military personnel at a lunch at Garden Island.
He believes success is being achieved in Iraq and told the Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, upon arrival on Tuesday night that "we're kicking ass".
And while not everything made it into "Decision Points," here's a scene that did make it into Michael Isikoff and David Corn's "Hubris":
At that day's daily press briefing, Thomas had peppered Fleischer with questions about Iraq. Referring to stories in the media about secret plans for military action, she asked, "What is the president's rationale for invading Iraq?" What made Saddam different from other dictators and worth an invasion? Fleischer bantered with Thomas and pointed out that "regime change" in Iraq had been the official policy of the U.S. government since President Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. Thomas shot back: Did the law mandate that the United States overthrow the Iraqi government by force? Bush, Fleischer said, "believes that the people of Iraq, as well as the region, will be more peaceful, better off without Saddam Hussein." Thomas retorted, "That's not a reason" to go to war. "Well, Helen," Fleischer replied, "if you were the president, you could have vetoed the law." The reporters chuckled, and Fleischer called on another journalist.
As Fleischer recounted this exchange for the president, Bush's mood changed, according to Levine. He grew grim and determined-steely. Out of nowhere, he unleashed a string of expletives.
"Did you tell her I don't like motherfuckers who gas their own people?" the president snapped.
"Did you tell her I don't like assholes who lie to the world?"
"Did you tell her I'm going to kick his sorry motherfucking ass all over the Mideast?"
But hey, for what it's worth, I think "Bring 'em on," was a much more stupid thing to say!
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