Bush Denies Reaching Out to Dad

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, December 5, 2006; 12:56 PM

Even as Washington's punditocracy relishes the storyline of the elder-statesman father riding to the hapless son's rescue, President Bush insisted yesterday that he doesn't talk shop with his dad -- and certainly doesn't ask for his advice.

Bush's first one-on-one interview since his brutal rebuff at the hands of the voters on Nov. 7 was a tame affair, thanks to Fox News anchor Brit Hume. Here's the transcript and the video.

But when Hume brought up the issue of his father's influence, Bush responded with a forced grin, a clenched fist and a somewhat petulant response: "I'm the commander in chief," he said.

And Bush's explanation for why he doesn't talk policy with his dad simply doesn't hold water.

"You know, I love my dad," Bush said. "But he understands what I know, that the level of information I have relative to the level of information most other people have, including himself, is significant."

Oh, please. That's obviously not the real reason.

So here are two more-likely possibilities: Either Bush does talk to his dad and doesn't want people to know; or he truly has no interest in what his dad thinks.

The latter still strikes me as the most likely. Bush, after all, remains the son whose actions can be seen in large part as a reaction to his father -- rather than an homage.

As Bush biographer Bill Sammon wrote in 2004: "President Bush is resolved not to repeat what he thinks were the two fundamental blunders of his father's one-term presidency: abandoning Iraq and failing to vanquish the Democrats.

"In one of several exclusive interviews with the Washington Times, Mr. Bush said his father had 'cut and run early' from Iraq in 1991."

But now, with the younger Bush looking so reckless by comparison, the elder Bush -- according to Bob Woodward-- is "in agony, anguished, tormented by the war in Iraq and its aftermath."

The last time Bush spoke publicly about his father was just before the election. As Reuters reported, Bush "gently admonished his father for saying he hates to think what life will be like for his son if the Democrats win control of Congress in the Nov. 7 election.

CONTINUED     1                 >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company