The nation’s first Homeland Security secretary is airing some dirty laundry from the Bush administration: He says he was pushed to raise the terror alert level on the eve of the 2004 presidential election.
Tales from the Trail
How would you spend the dog days of summer, if you were a former vice president? If you were Dick Cheney, you would be ensconced in your new office above the garage in McLean, Virginia (just down the road from the CIA!), writing your memoir of the administration of George W. Bush. But would you tell all?
from Left field:
It's one thing they can agree on... baseball.
Major League Baseball is bringing all five living U.S. presidents together at next week's 80th All-Star Game.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - If you worried U.S. President Barack Obama might not handle diplomacy with the energy-rich Saudi rulers as deftly as Texas oilman George W. Bush, fear no longer.
No sooner had Obama landed in Riyadh for a day of meetings with King Abdullah than he was sporting a big gold medal around his neck — the King Abdul Aziz Order of Merit.
It’s the country’s highest honor — named for the founder of the modern Saudi state.
Bush, too, was awarded one on his first visit to the kingdom. It just took the former president seven years — till January 2008 — to visit Saudi Arabia.
Obama managed to get his in under five months, at only his second meeting with the king.
During the first meeting — in London — the U.S. leader famously greeted the Saudi monarch with something that looked suspiciously like a bow but was hard to tell exactly because a guy was standing in the way.
Protocol-wise, heads of state do not generally bow by way of greeting. But then Michelle Obama was busy patting Queen Elizabeth on the back, so protocol was kind of out the window anyway.
There were other signs on Wednesday that the U.S. and Saudi leaders were getting along well.
The White House says Obama has been consulting with Abdullah regularly by phone about the speech to the Islamic world that he will give from Cairo on Thursday.
Their meeting at King Abdullah’s sprawling farm outside Riyadh was scheduled to go for about two hours. Instead it lasted about three.
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If you want to know if there’s a difference between working for President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush, ask the man who’s worked for both: Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gates faced that question on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina – So much for those adoring crowds.
President Barack Obama, who is used to screaming masses and loud applause from his 2008 campaign events, got a more tepid response on Friday from a hall of Marines and sailors who listened to his announcement on pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.