Tales from the Trail

Bush memoir coming with huge first printing

We’re one month and a day away from the launch of George W. Bush’s presidential memoir “Decision Points.”

The former president’s book, which goes on sale on Nov. 9, will  have a huge first printing of 1.5 million copies, Crown Publishers said in a statement on Thursday.bush_cover

Bush writes about crucial points in his life and presidency including his decision to run for the highest office in the country; 9/11; the decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq; his response to Hurricane Katrina; and his relationship with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, Crown said.

But there’s so much more than just a  book  (and book tour) coming next month. The publishers are simultaneously rolling out the whole kit and caboodle — across multiple platforms — with the hardcover version, an e-book edition, a Deluxe e-book edition and an audiobook (from RandomHouse), read by the author himself.

Somewhat gaffe-prone during his presidency, Bush has had plenty of time to practice joining Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter in another exclusive club — presidents who’ve recorded audiobooks. And maybe another group — presidents who’ve won Grammy Awards.

Obama to call Bush ahead of Iraq speech

Just a friendly chat between two commanders in chief over a 7-1/2 year Iraq war…

President Barack Obama plans to call former President George W. Bush and discuss Iraq where he is ending combat operations that his  predecessor began. OBAMA/

Whether or not Obama will mention Bush in his primetime Oval Office television address at 8 p.m. Tuesday is unclear. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the ex-president will be among the people Obama calls before giving the speech.

Laura Bush says every president faces unfair criticism

Former first lady Laura Bush says every president is unfairly criticized and it comes from both friends and foes.

She spoke to ABC’s “Good Morning America” from the Gulf Coast, where she is on a visit for the fifth anniversary of  Hurricane Katrina. USA/LAURABUSHHer husband, former President George W. Bush and his administration were sharply criticized for slow federal response to the disaster.

“The differences are huge now, five years later. Each time I came there was a little bit of improvement, but really now I think after five years things are starting to look great,” she said.

Clinton: do you really need all those SUVs?

Emma Ashburn covered Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in which she  defended international health spending at a time of domestic belt-tightening.

“At a time when American unemployment is recorded as slightly less than 10 percent, and we know structural unemployment is worse, and we’re asking hard-working, maybe unemployed Americans, to keep paying their taxes, some of that money will go to fund our development and diplomacy efforts worldwide.”

“I have to be able to look them in the eye and tell them they’re getting their money’s worth,” Clinton said. USA/

Peter Peterson says Republicans and business need to step up

Peter Peterson knows a little something about Republicans, Wall Street, and American business. He’s a former Commerce Secretary under Republican President Richard Nixon, a former New York Federal Reserve chairman and a former chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers.

And what he sees right now is that Republicans and business are not stepping up to the plate.

BUSH/“One of the things that troubles me about the position of the Republicans is they’ve also been the party of  ‘yes,’ not just the party of  ’no’,” he said in an interview with Reuters Insider TV.

Bush says “tired of politics”

Former U.S. President George W. Bush said in Dallas on Thursday that he was weary of politics but hoped his institute would play a role in public policy debates. HAITI/
“The truth of the matter is, I am tired of politics,” Bush, back to his Texas energy roots, told a conference on natural gas sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute and Southern Methodist University’s Cox Maguire Energy Institute.    

But he said he and his wife Laura were “not just interested in retiring” to the family ranch in Crawford, Texas.    

“We want to be active participants in the debate that affects America. We wanted to have a policy center … out of which will come action plans,” Bush said.
The institute is the policy arm of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, which is being built in Dallas.

No. 43 slips under the radar in DC

Ole 43, otherwise known as former President George W. Bush, was in Washington today to address hundreds of people who worked for him over the years.

USA-BUSH/The whole thing was closed press and so we don’t have a complete read-out of the proceedings but suffice to say that Bush steered clear of the current volatile political climate in Washington.

This has been a consistent position of Bush. While he might chafe privately at some of the blame tossed his way by President Barack Obama, he doesn’t talk about it publicly. Having seen how tough the job is being president, he reckons Obama doesn’t need one more critic telling him how to do it.

Obama plants a piece of New Jersey on White House lawn

Kind of a quiet day at the White House today. Hey, why not plant a tree?

OBAMA/President Obama was on hand for a commemorative tree planting on the White House front lawn.

There’s always a good tale behind these things and here’s this one: Benjamin Harrison planted a Scarlet Oak tree in the same spot in 1889. There it stood through good times and bad, triumph and tragedy, rain and shine, and, well, you get the idea.

Then it rotted straight through and tumped over in a 2007 rainstorm. George W. Bush planted a Scarlet Oak in the same spot as a replacement in 2008, but it didn’t take hold.

White House waffles on Guantanamo Bay closing deadline

President Barack Obama is finding out what his predecessor experienced — closing Guantanamo Bay is easier said than done.

As early as May 2006, former President George W. Bush said he wanted to close the prison for terrorism suspects in Cuba that was constructed during his administration after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. GUANTANAMO/ACTIVITIES

But the Bush administration found it was not easy getting other countries to accept some of the prisoners and faced a dilemma of what to do with other prisoners who could not be released.

Do-over on missile defense — reading between the lines

President Barack Obama’s new missile defense plan is an exercise in reading between the lines.

Does it signal a diminished threat from Iran if he is scrapping the Bush-era system that was to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic? Obama’s plan would use missile interceptors based on ships.

Former President George W. Bush would rattle off Iran and threats in the same sentence so often that sometimes it seemed all roads to fear led to Tehran. He wanted the missile shield as protection. IRAN-MILITARY/PARADE