Friday, April 08, 2005

41 And 42 Join 43 on Intel Brief

I don't know about you but I thought this little bit in the Times was pretty cool:

''According to a pool report filed by reporters aboard Air Force One, Mr. Bush asked his father and Mr. Clinton to join him on Wednesday morning during his intelligence briefing.''

I wonder what that must've been like for Papa Bush and Clinton. I'm sure they've gotten their fare share of intel briefings during their terms in office, but this is probably their first (if they've sat in on them before, it would be news to me) post 9/11 brief. It would be cool to know if they had anything to offer during the briefing.

Yeah, this is an extreme example of my political geekiness, but I just find this kinda stuff fascinating.


Well, thanks to Bill Sammon at the WashTimes, we have some idea of what those intel briefings were like with Bush 41 and Clinton. Plus, the White House released the transcript of that press pool. If you'll allow me to, I want to reprint a portion of the exchange between Bush and some of the reporters I found to be quintessential Bush...

Q What has it been like spending time with the former Presidents for three days? That's the longest time --

THE PRESIDENT: It's fun. Oh, it's great. You know, we share war stories, you know, a lot of talking, a lot of interesting experiences about different world leaders that we may all have met -- or all three of us met. Just different experiences that, you know, my dad might have had or President Clinton might have had.

There is a lot of interest, obviously, with former Presidents about, you know, policy, so I had them sit in on our policy briefings this morning with Condi and [National Security Advisor] Steve [Hadley] and the CIA fellow traveling with us -- not this morning, yesterday and the day before, on Air Force One. And then yesterday at the embassy I wanted to include them in. And, you know, we had a -- these CIA briefings a lot of time prompt policy discussions, you know, how is this process going, Steve -- and Condi, now that she's here, both of them were able to bring dad and President Clinton up to date on our strategy in dealing with a particular issue. It's interesting to get their points of view about their experiences in particular countries. It was fun. It was really a lot of fun. I was honored they came.

Q Are you worried about them spending so much time together, those two? (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you heard my Grid Iron speech. (Laughter.)

Listen, thank you all. Hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did. Absolutely fascinating.

By the way, I think when you discuss religion -- on doubt --there is no doubt in my mind there is a living God. And no doubt in my mind that the Lord, Christ, was sent by the Almighty. No doubt in my mind about that. When I'm talking about doubts, I'm talking about the doubts that an individual struggles with in his or her life. That's important for you to make sure you get that part of the dialogue correct, if you don't mind.

Q Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Got it? Everybody got it correct? All right.

Q Thank you.

Q What are your plans this weekend?

THE PRESIDENT: Like Stretch, I'm on the injured reserve list from running, so I'll be mountain biking. I think Cat McKinnon is going come up from Austin. Oh, yes. And I'll be fishing. I'll be finishing my book, "Peter the Great," by Robert K. Massey. Some of you old-timers have probably already read it, I'm just now -- have you read it?

Q Getting ready for the next Russia trip.

THE PRESIDENT: Have you read it?

Q No.

Q I like when you said "old-timer" and you looked at Steve -- (laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: He probably had read it -- and I wasn't going to look at Ann, of course, I'm too polite. (Laughter.)

We'll have briefings, Condi is coming to spend the night, Hadley will be spending a night there. We'll start briefing the Sharon visit Sunday night. And then we'll obviously greet the Prime Minister and then head off to Fort Hood on Tuesday morning, and work on that speech probably Monday evening.

Looking forward to getting back down there again. I may do a little cedar work, depends on how sleepy the crew is.

Q I'll be fishing, just down the Bosque River.


Q Yes. I'm sleeping at the Side Oats Ranch tonight.

THE PRESIDENT: Tell them "hi." Middle Fork has got some water in it.

Q They do.

THE PRESIDENT: The Middle Fork comes down to my place.

Q Does it come down to you from his, or goes the other way?

THE PRESIDENT: I think it comes down, doesn't it? Yes, I think he's west of me, so it's coming down toward Waco. The Middle Fork feeds into the Brazos.

Consider yourself lucky you get to go down to Texas.

Q I'm delighted.

THE PRESIDENT: You're not grousing about it, are you?

Q Oh, no, no, no. I'm sorry I missed Easter, I was at home for that.

THE PRESIDENT: It may be -- I hope, I haven't heard, but it may be that the wild flowers, are they out yet? They say there is going to be a spectacular blue bonnet season this year, I mean, spectacular.

Q Is that in honor of the Baylor women's basketball team?

THE PRESIDENT: I called, as a matter of fact, on the airplane flying to Rome, I called the coach, Kim Mulkey-Roberts. A fine person. I had met her before when she brought -- you all saw her, at least if you were on the pool, right, let's see -- anyway, she was with the Midway girls softball team when they came out, the national champs softball team. Her daughter is a player on it, and so she came out with the parents. But she was one excited lady. And she did a heck of a job.

Q Blew them out.

THE PRESIDENT: They've got a great team. I'm looking forward to welcoming them to the White House.

END 9:16 A.M. EDT


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