Bush denies report of supposed “endorsement” of Obama

posted at 12:55 pm on November 10, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Did George Bush tell a visiting delegation from the UK that he wouldn’t vote for John McCain and would have endorsed Barack Obama if asked?  The Financial Times says yes:

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 successor.

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.”

Endorse Obama? Cue dumbfounded look from British officials, followed by some awkward remarks about the Washington weather. Even Gordon Brown’s poker face gave way to a flash of astonishment.

George Bush calls the report “ridiculous and untrue“:

Former President George W. Bush is denying a report that he once said he would have endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 if the Democrat had asked.

“This is ridiculous and untrue,” Bush spokesman David Sherzer told POLITICO. “President Bush proudly supported John McCain in the election and voted for him.”

Bush’s new book Decision Points discusses his disappointment with McCain’s attempt to distance himself from the administration, but mainly because it put Bush in a position where it was impossible to help the Republican nominee:

Some of the anecdotes about McCain’s presidential campaign in Bush’s new book are not particularly flattering, but the former president at no point writes that he would have endorsed Obama.

“I understood he had to establish his independence,” Bush writes of McCain’s candidacy. “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.”

Alex Barker at the FT reported as fact that “Bush is far from kind to McCain,” even though in the very next sentence he writes that he has yet to see a copy of the book for himself.  He also manages to get the antagonism between the two men correct in his reference to the 2000 primary in South Carolina that got infamously nasty and personal.  But it wasn’t Bush that got angry with McCain — it was McCain who got angry with Bush, enough to play a little footsie with John Kerry in 2004 before endorsing and campaigning for Bush in his successful re-election campaign.  McCain also backed Bush on Iraq and especially the surge strategy in 2007 and 2008, which somehow undercuts the whole “enmity” spin on this anecdote as well.

Besides which, did Barker really expect people to believe that Bush got so angry about McCain’s attempts to distance himself from Bush on spending that he’d have endorsed a candidate that routinely demonized him on the campaign trail?  In fact, the entire Democratic Party made Bush and Dick Cheney their boogeymen for the entire campaign, a strategy that worked as well in 2008 as it failed miserably in 2010.

“Ridiculous” is the right word for it; “absurd” is perhaps a bit better.  Barker noted that the FT couldn’t  publish the anecdote at the time for “various reasons,” among which is that it’s laughable on its face.


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When you consider W’s popularity at the time, if he did tell the Brits that it was to help McCain!

cartooner on November 10, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Why shouldn’t he endorse Obama? There spending habits and domestic policies are eerily similar. And didn’t Bush’s lackey Coli Powell both endorse and vote for Obama.

Tommy_G on November 10, 2010 at 1:01 PM

And this means WHAT now?

GarandFan on November 10, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Lord – I remember hating that I was going have to pull the lever for John McQueed – ah – McCain.

I felt like the elder Bush being told to eat broccoli.

jake-the-goose on November 10, 2010 at 1:03 PM

slow news day for the FT?

cmsinaz on November 10, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Tommy_G on November 10, 2010 at 1:01 PM

I disagree with your assessment of Powell as a “lackey”. He’s an opportunistic POS and probably a racist, but not a lackey.

Extrafishy on November 10, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Bush………………GO AWAY.

YOU completely screwed the GOP in 2008 with your Presidency.

YOU jacked around in Afghanistan and Iraq and didn’t win either war after nearly 7 years (during your presidency). Those wars costs us what $2 trillion and how freaking long does it take the most powerful nation on earth to vanquish Goat and Camel herders? Please…..

YOU lied about Amnesty and tried to shove it down our throats.

YOU saddled us with another Federal Entitlement (Prescrip drugs).

YOU abandoned the Free Market in late 2008 to save your Treasury Secretary and his and your rich friends on Wall Street.

I could go on. You did some positive things but PLEASE just go away…..and take your whole RINO BUSH Family with you.

PappyD61 on November 10, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Bush probably did what the rest of us did, closed our eyes and pretended it said *John McClane*.

The Expert Knows

HAExpert on November 10, 2010 at 1:07 PM

The British liberal press is worse than the US liberal press, and the US liberal press is a freakshow of haters and propagandists.

jaime on November 10, 2010 at 1:09 PM

PappyD61 on November 10, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Take your meds man

Kini on November 10, 2010 at 1:09 PM

“I understood he had to establish his independence,” Bush writes of McCain’s candidacy. “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.”

there it is. McCain’s great strategy. Let’s accept democrat talking points and inherently accept their premises.

Bush couldn’t even defend himself because McCain was too scared to do so.

Rush was right, McCain’s entire campaign was him building up to his concession speech.

joeindc44 on November 10, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Bush also denied on Limbaugh’s show yesterday having ever said that the choice of Palin was a disaster.

ddrintn on November 10, 2010 at 1:10 PM

I will always respect Bush…he lost his way 2nd term, but I will always believe that he was the leader needed after 9/11. Not someone like Mom Jeans like we have now.

search4truth on November 10, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Take your meds man

Kini on November 10, 2010 at 1:09 PM

:-)

PappyD61 on November 10, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Financial Times. A British liberal magazine. Who cares what they say? They also blast the Cameron govt as well. Not happy with anyone

ConservativePartyNow on November 10, 2010 at 1:16 PM

Bush is great for the publishing busines

TheBigOldDog on November 10, 2010 at 1:17 PM

At first they put coins on Bush’s eyes.
Then they put words in Bush’s mouth.

Bush is history, he’s a legacy, there’s no place left for him to reach higher political heights.

Learn from the past, and guide towards the future. The media is corrupt and outright lies. There’s no trust in the media.

Know your enemy

Kini on November 10, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Extrafishy on November 10, 2010 at 1:05 PM

I stand corrected. By the way, is an opportunist worse than a lackey?

Tommy_G on November 10, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Maybe the British media don’t understand sarcasm?

tommer74 on November 10, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Bush also denied on Limbaugh’s show yesterday having ever said that the choice of Palin was a disaster.

ddrintn on November 10, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Like Sarah tells the media…

“Stop making things up.”

ornery_independent on November 10, 2010 at 1:28 PM

I would imagine the lies Bush has told in his life could not come close to the lies bho tells in a month! I miss President Bush!
L

letget on November 10, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Less Bush……more “COOKIEGATE“!!

Does the media have a brain at all anymore?

http://news.yahoo.com/video/politics-15749652/palin-protests-nanny-state-with-cookies-22954763#video=22959597

PappyD61 on November 10, 2010 at 1:36 PM

And all these squabbles should now be blamed to Sarah Palin by the Bush camp and the RINO establishment combined?

How pathetic!

TheAlamos on November 10, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Who is it that is so brazenly lying now? Is it the LSM making all this up or is it the anonymous sources making this all up or what? So many lies being told now and it is just so sickening!

CCRWM on November 10, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Even Michelle Malkin is not cutting W much slack.

But as bad as Bush was with the economy, Obama is just about doubling down. This has got to change because we can’t afford it.

Congress should move to first get rid of Bush’s Medicare prescription drug expansion. Obama has already said he thought it was too expensive. Let him veto that. That would show the GOP is serious about cutting spending and Obamacare can be next in order (and massive entitlement expansion we cannot afford). You do those two changes and you can then work to resolve the problems with social security and medicare.

As far as discretionary spending (including defense), which is at about $1.8 trillion for 2010, how about a 5% cut accross the board, including salaries of all federal employees. President and Congress included. That is doable (are you telling me any agency or defense could not cut 5%) and would send a very clear signal. That would save $900 billion dollars. Too crazy? How about a 2.5% cut? That would save $450 billion.

Mr. Joe on November 10, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Learn from the past, and guide towards the future. The media is corrupt and outright lies. There’s no trust in the media.

Know your enemy

Kini on November 10, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Well said.

For the people with selective memories, Bush is still a squish. For the media, he’s still a monster. For those who are reasoned and farsighted, he’s a man who did his best under constant criticism, and he showed great strength during national crisis. But he was never flawless nor did he govern without error. Whatever his missteps, he cared about America’s future, and years from now, his presidency will be remembered as quite sterling compared to what we’ve experienced since.

anXdem on November 10, 2010 at 1:47 PM

And this means WHAT now?

GarandFan on November 10, 2010 at 1:03 PM

It means we have to take the focus off the midterms, the economy, and inflation.

John Deaux on November 10, 2010 at 1:54 PM

I could hear him saying this, just to be funny

“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.”

WoosterOh on November 10, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Listen up, folks. I will tolerate no W. bashing. Or I will brand you a TROLL! :)

Lanceman on November 10, 2010 at 2:37 PM

For the people with selective memories, Bush is still a squish. For the media, he’s still a monster. For those who are reasoned and farsighted, he’s a man who did his best under constant criticism, and he showed great strength during national crisis. But he was never flawless nor did he govern without error. Whatever his missteps, he cared about America’s future, and years from now, his presidency will be remembered as quite sterling compared to what we’ve experienced since.

anXdem on November 10, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Amen! President Bush was not perfect, but I sure do miss him. He is a good, honorable and humble man. He gave us John Roberts and Samuel Alito. For that, I will be forever grateful. He was far better than his opponents would have been, and if he had lost his bids for the presidency, we would have a majority liberal Supreme Court now. Can you imagine the damage Obama could have done with a liberal court behind him? Good Lord, he has done enough damage as is. I can’t imagine what it would be like if there were NO checks and balances. I pray for the health of our justices until we have another republican president.

squeek71 on November 10, 2010 at 2:38 PM

What? You mean unnamed sources are unreliable? Seriously?!

stvnscott on November 10, 2010 at 2:43 PM

FT political coverage is as reliable as the NYT. Their economics coverage is usually good, though.

I am so tired of hearing CRAP about SC in 2000. It was NOTHING like the legend perpetrated by McCain and the media. Here is the true story:

ONE upstate fundamentalist preacher, his wife, and his daughter-in-law spent ONE day making their “push poll” phone calls insinuating McCain’s adopted child was the product of an interracial affair. They made no more than 200 calls altogether, and forwarded an email with the claim to a few dozen people.

The ONLY connection to the GOP – the preacher had no history in politics – was the email was FWD:FWD:FWD: until it got to a minor state employee who was also a minor state GOP player, and he forwarded it along. There was never any connection to the Bush campaign, and Bush condemned it as soon as he heard about it. Which no one would have, because of the small scope, if McCain’s people hadn’t tried to use it against Bush.

What really infuriated McCain was that in the debate just before the primary, Bush challenged him about the “negative campaigning” charge and McCain could not produce a single bit of evidence against Bush, and vehemently denied his campaign had done anything of the sort.

At which point Bush pulled a flier out of his pocket, paid for by the McCain campaign and distributed in Wal-Mart parking lots in the upstate the previous weekend, which was a nasty hit piece on Bush. McCain was exposed as a liar and lost the primary badly.

But neither he nor the legacy media wants to remember that. They still try to falsely smear Bush with lies disproven ten years ago.

The idea Bush would have endorsed Obama, who opposed the Iraq War and blamed everything up to and including teenage acne on Bush, is STUPID, as is anyone who believes it for a second.

Adjoran on November 10, 2010 at 3:15 PM

Bush’s new book Decision Points discusses his disappointment with McCain’s attempt to distance himself from the administration, but mainly because it put Bush in a position where it was impossible to help the Republican nominee:

McCain spent so much time running from Bush that he stood for almost nothing. This in effect let Obama demagogue endlessly about Bush and paint everything that Bush ever did as the cause of the nation’s problems. Which then made it ridiculously easy to run against McCain as Bush.

If McCain had been smart and a principled conservative, he would have stood up and defended Bush at least on his “best” policies. By running from Bush, he basically ran from Obama’s accusations. It’s no wonder he lost. The only thing that saved him from a humiliating defeat was Palin.

tom on November 10, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Here’s the source of the confusion: Bush was invoking Psalm 109:8

Psalm 109:8

In slow-moving traffic, the car in front had an Obama bumper sticker on it. It read: “Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8″.

Psalm 109:8 “Let his days be few and brief; and let others step forward to replace him.”
.
At last – I can voice a Biblical prayer for our president!
Look it up – it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray.
.

Now Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN ????

Sweet_Thang on November 10, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Say, didn’t Obama voters think Bush was evil incarnate? Bush should have totally endorsed Obama, forcing them to switch to McCain! ;)

Spitfire9 on November 10, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Honestly, this stuff of coming up with anonymously sourced anecdotes about people is getting ridiculous. Not just Bush, it happens to other people too. Look at all the socalled anonymous sources who liked to repeat things Palin supposedly said.

It is hearsay. Nothing more than that. I think it is an attempt to stir up controversy and interest.

Terrye on November 10, 2010 at 4:29 PM

The only reason this has any traction is because McCain is a conniving snake.

Bush would not say that he’d endorse Obama though, Obama is anti-America.

scotash on November 10, 2010 at 5:49 PM

President Bush had his missteps but…As a retired military officer, I think GWB was the quintessential Commander in Chief…He was courageous, daring, and supported his troops 150%. He defended this nation as no other since Lincoln. As well, his Presidency was shaped by the dotcom bubble bursting which “evaporated” ten trillion in wealth nearly overnight, 9-11, Katrina, and global warming hyseria…Those were very difficult years and I thank god that we had him as our President..

Nozzle on November 10, 2010 at 7:24 PM