Ron Fournier @ National Journal:
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer walked into the media cabin of Air Force One on May 24, 2002, and dropped identical envelopes in the laps of two reporters, myself and Steve Holland of Reuters. Inside each was a manila card – marked by a small presidential seal and, in a simple font, “THE PRESIDENT.”
Handwritten in the tight script of President George W. Bush, both notes said essentially the same thing: “Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country.”
What had we done? Not much, really. An hour earlier, at a rare outdoor news conference in Germany, Steve and I decided to abide by the U.S. media tradition of rising from our seats when the president entered our presence. The snickering German press corps remained seated. “What a contrast!” Bush wrote. “What class.”
I dug out Bush’s thank-you note this week while contemplating the opening of his presidential library Thursday, a milestone that most journalists will use to assess the 43rd president’s legacy. The record includes Bush’s responses to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – all worth exploring skeptically.
But I’m going to take a few paragraphs to discuss something that gets less attention from the White House press corps – the essential humanity and decency of our presidents.
Bush’s note, a simple gesture, spoke volumes about his respect for the office of the presidency. He did not thank us for respecting him. He knew it wasn’t about George W. Bush. He was touched instead by the small measure of respect we showed “for our country.”
The same sense of dignity compelled Bush to forbid his staff to wear blue jeans in the White House. Male aides were required to wear jackets and ties in the Oval Office.
He was a stickler for punctuality. Long-time adviser Karen Hughes asked him years ago why he was always early for appointments. “Late is rude,” Bush replied. He thought that if people were going to take the time to see him, he shouldn’t keep them waiting.
He remembered names of the spouses and children of his staff, and insisted that hard work at the White House not be an excuse to let family life suffer. One steamy summer day in 1999, then-Gov. George W. Bush called me with an exclusive interview and interrupted my first question. “What’s all that noise in the background, Fournier?” he asked.
“I’m at the pool with my kids, governor.”
Bush replied, “Then what the hell are you doing answering your phone?”
Damn good question, sir. We quickly ended the interview.
His record as commander-in-chief will be long debated, as it should be. But for this story, at least, let’s remember that Bush insisted upon meeting U.S. troops and their families in private and after his public events, so that he could give them undivided attention.
He told his staff, “I never want to look at my watch and say, ‘I’ve got to go.’ ”
He’s the nicest criminal I’ve seen! Lol!
Rewriting George Bush History By Jennifer Rubin
You mean like the current criminal in the White House that is not nice?
Take any current article on any number of things: Benghazi, Boston bombing, Fort Hood jihadist, attending a Planned Parenthood dinner while ignoring the people of West, the lies about Fast and Furious, et al, and put Bush’s name in the article instead of Obama’s. How differently do you think the press would be reacting to all those stories?
A good man to have a beer with, maybe.
My opinion is that Bush would have been vilified for any action he took, simply because he was a Republican (actually, any Repub in the Oval Office is demonized by a small faction of fame-driven children: the media). Pop Culture had already been so infused with scapegoating the Right for all of America’s problems, not to mention the new expectation that a President be a celebrity, not a leader.
Bush was a leader, a real person.
Obama is a pop star, a facade.
It merely shows the ignorance of the mob in continuing to pin their “daddy issues” on George W. Bush.
The Democratic Party is so broken, so compromised . . . I hope some responsible people step forward (Like my Governor, John Hickenlooper) to clean it up.
We need another President like Bush: unfazed by social fads and the exploited masses. He honored the seal of the President of the United States rather than making his own symbol . . . like Lenin, Hitler, well, you know the rest.
@retire05: Wow, you got all the Fox News talking points there! Good for you! Obama didn’t ignore warnings and let 911 happen then invade a country with no ties to the act and hill hundreds of thousands.
And oh, by the way, Bush started ‘fast and furious.’
But we all know, Bush was not the President. He was Cheney’s puppet and now he wallows in his self imposed exile because of it, making paintings of his feet in a bathtub and drinking til he passes out.
Well, since I rarely watch Fox, your record of shooting blanks remains intact.
Since I assume that you are talking about a vague PDB, you’re right. Obama just ignored a Islamic terrorist attack at Fort Hood. Oh, and he did not refuse an offer to kill bin Laden when the Saudis offered bin Laden up on a silver platter. That was another Democrat POTUS.
Nooooooooooo, Bush initiated another program that was also shut down when it was realized that the guns could not be tracked, using their homing systems, once they were placed in storage.
Congratulations, having you here to represent the left wing proves what low information voters you, and your ilk, really are.