I was right! As soon as Bush said that he barely knew Jack Abramoff and couldn't remember having his picture taken with him, I knew he had a pet name for him! That's why I ran my HuffPo contest: Guess Bush's Nickname for Abramoff. Do we have a winner?
My brilliant deduction was elementary, dear Watsons. It was based on two simple rules. Rule #1 was, if anyone's committed a white-collar crime in certain parts of the country Bush probably knows him. And Rule #2 was that if Bush says he doesn't know somebody, he not only knows them but has a pet name for him.
And to quote Judy Miller: I was proved f!#@*(ing right! (Although she, of course, was spectacularly and scandalously wrong, but what's that get you these days except a book deal?)
Vanity Fair's new article on Abramoff (warning: PDF) documents the extensive contacts between Bush, Abramoff and their families. It also includes the following quote from Bush, who was joking around with his pal Abramoff about his weight lifting habit (gee, how'd he know that about someone he can barely recall?):
"What are you benching, buff guy?"
And there's your answer: It's "buff guy."
We had lots of fun entries in our contest (and lots that were just plain rude!) "Chief" was a reasonable guess, actually, as were "Trader Jack," "Snake Eyes," and "Jackpot." But all the contestants overlooked the President's fascination with sports, which has a vaguely Will-Ferrell-in-the-locker-room feel to it. (And Will Ferrell played a cheerleader, which was the Bush's athletic activity of choice! Hmmm ...)
Sadly, no contestant walked off with the prize. But at least we have an answer. Our intellectual curiosity has been sated.
Weightlifting? "Buff guy"? It's all very promising for Mr. Abramoff's future life - in prison.