Fmr. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill was on 60 Minutes tonight, along with the author of a new book which pieces together numerous interviews with high-level administration officials. Here are some of the most interesting things:

While Bush had campaigned on not doing any interventionist nation-building, at the first National Security Meeting (just after they got into office) they discussed invading Iraq and two days later they discussed the post-Saddam regime, including who wants oil contracts and where oil might be. (They showed pictures of documents establishing this.)

Bush is routinely unengaged and bored in meetings and doesn’t ask questions. One of the few times Bush was interested was when they were trying to get him to rubber-stamp a second tax cut:

BUSH: Haven’t we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut’s gonna do it again. Didn’t we already, why are we doing it again?
ADVISER: Well Mr. President, the upper class, they’re the entrepreneurs.
BUSH: Well, shouldn’t we be giving money to the middle, won’t people be able to say, “You did it once, and then you did it twice, and what was it good for?”
KARL ROVE: Stick to principle. Stick to principle. Don’t waver.

(The show didn’t present exact quotes, but apparently the author of the book has a transcript of the meeting.)

To avoid this kind of thing, the President doesn’t read newspapers and rarely sees the outside world — instead he only talks to an insular group of advisers who all stay on-message with him.

The book is The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill, by Ron Suskind and comes out Tuesday.

Update: The author has put some of the files up on the Web under a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication.

posted January 11, 2004 07:01 PM (Politics) (10 comments) #


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They didn’t say he makes up names to pass the time. ONeil was said to think he made up the names as a way to bully people. They also din’t say Bush doesn’t read the newspaper. Do you make this stuff up for fun or are deliberately you trying to miselead.

posted by Mark Brandes at January 11, 2004 07:22 PM #


posted by Aaron Swartz at January 11, 2004 07:27 PM #

This confirms what I suspected. Bush is Karl Rove’s puppet.

I can’t believe his approval rating is that high. I’m sure this won’t change anything - people will still vote for him.

posted by Mike Cohen at January 11, 2004 08:21 PM #

GWB is the main player on the world stage. But hey….you chumps are pretty good at this whole “blogging” thing. Jeez.

posted by dorkSpotter at January 11, 2004 11:44 PM #

GWB is only there because of his family’s money, power and influence.

The saddest thing about the last election is that it was between representatives of the two most influential political famlies in the States.

So much for the whole “Anyone can be president” myth.


posted by David Hamilton at January 13, 2004 10:50 AM #

My God! Who is this David Hamilton guy..? Hey “Dave” welcome to the human condition. Money, power, influence of family….???? Wow, that’s only as old as what…..recorded human history. I’ll bet you’re still mad about Ben n Jerry not providing free ice cream to the entire world, huh….? Man….where do these people come from..?

posted by dorkSpotter at January 13, 2004 05:53 PM #

GWB is one of a number of people directly responsible for an illegal war. he and cheney and the lot, all those responsible for this illegal war, deserve to be tried in a court of law for thier crimes. the burder of proof needs to be on them to substantiate thier statements…evidence not forthcoming they should be sent to prison and do hard time. willfull deception of the legislative branch and the american public should be a capitol offence, in my book this is the highest treason. i say this as a former soldier in the us army and a lover of what this country stands for. the worste punishments need to be reserved for the wortse crimes, there are non higher than this.

posted by /\/\ at January 14, 2004 02:05 AM #

BTW, GWB as a major world player is similar to typifying kermit the frog as having his own brain. he is clearly a function of his handlers, as long as he is not allowed to adlib he is able to stick to the script. in the words of my 70 year old grandfather, boosh is the worst president…and most dangerous…he has ever seen in his entire life. the most powerful person in the current administration is dick cheney. BTW when is the last time you saw his (cheney’s) picture in the news? bush does what he’s told, to claim otherwise implies one’s residence in a hole for the last 4 years. (as in head lodged in sand so deep the shoulders are no longer visible) …and yes, mr. hamilton, unfortunately that dream has only existed in elementary school for at least the last 200 years

posted by /\/\ at January 14, 2004 02:28 AM #

The world should concentrate on peace and diplomacy.

In times of War, No one wins and the innocent die.

posted by PaaP at January 14, 2004 09:48 PM #

We must remember that the people are the employer and elected representatives are the employees.

Simply stated, they work for us.

A good representative will remove him or herself when he or she is doing their country more harm than good.

America is a great country and each of us must continue to work hard to keep America great by striving to improve in areas where we discover we are deficient.

It is nice to know that our 50+ States are living sided by side without going to war with each other.

Perhaps the Middle East could learn to the same without changing their way of living. Don’t you agree?


posted by PaaP at March 6, 2004 09:39 PM #

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Aaron Swartz (