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"President Bush had business ties with Enron and its predecessor companies, and first met Kenneth Lay, its chairman, sometime in the late 1980s, according to public records and interviews. Previously, the president had not mentioned his business dealings with Enron and had said that he got to know Lay after he was elected governor of Texas in 1994. On Tuesday, White House communications director Dan Bartlett told the Tribune that Bush's relationship with Lay probably started when Bush was in Washington in 1987 and 1988, working on his father's presidential campaign. It could have started earlier, he said. "He does not recall specifics" of the first time he met Lay, Bartlett said. 'He met him through his father and through his father's political activity.'" --Chicago Tribune, 03.06.02.


"About three weeks ago, I received a tip. The attorney general was fed up with having his picture taken during events in the Great Hall in front of semi-nude statues. [One statue has a breast exposed, the other has a cloth over his loins.] He had ordered massive draperies to conceal the offending figures. But initially not only could the story not be confirmed — it was strongly denied....According to my original tipster, [a November photo of the Attorney-General with one of the nude statues in the background] was the final straw for Ashcroft, and he ordered that the statues henceforth be draped.

"Public affairs people however denied any such thing. They stoutly maintained that the attorney general had never complained and that no draperies had been ordered....The draperies have in fact been ordered....[and] installed last week at a cost of just over $8,000.*

"And it turns out that they were indeed ordered by someone in the attorney general's office, who delivered the request to the Justice Management Division and asserted it was the attorney general's desire. I'm told she was the only person in the attorney general's office who knew about it. She's his advance person, and she said it was done for "aesthetic purposes" — she just thought it would look better when staging events in the Great Hall. --Beverley Lumpkin, ABC News, 01.25.02

*Public Affairs "noted that former spokeswoman Mindy Tucker always hated the statues; Mindy told me Thursday it was her view that half the women in the department were offended by them and the other half considered them art. [Mindy Tucker was a secondary press spokesperson for Governor Bush and was given the post of spokeswoman for Justice when Bush came to Washington. In that position she made some controversial announcements to the press on free speech matters, and has since been replaced and moved to a similar position for the Republican National Committee. --Politex].


Bush's visit to West Virginia last week included a chat with Bob Kiss, Democratic speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates....Kiss told Bush that if he wasn't doing anything the next morning, he could come by for [his infant twins'] 3 a.m. feeding. Kiss said Bush joked, "I've been to war. I've raised twins. If I had a choice, I'd rather go to war." --CNN, 01.27.02

Bush was a member of the Texas Air National Guards between May 1968 and October 1973 and never left the country in relation to his duties. He was discharged 8 months before his six year term expired. "During his fifth year as a guardsman, Bush's records show no sign he appeared for duty." (Boston Globe, 05.23.00) According to a 06.18.02 story in the Sunday Times (UK),"Documents obtained by The Sunday Times [UK] reveal that in August 1972, as a 26-year-old subaltern in the Air National Guard, Bush was grounded for failing to "accomplish" an annual medical that would have indicated whether he was taking drugs...." The Boston Globe story on Bush's military service adds, Bush "refused for months last year [1999] to say whether he had ever used illegal drugs. Subsequently, however, Bush amended his stance, saying that he had not done so since 1974." According to the Boston Globe, "In his final 18 months of military service in 1972 and 1973, Bush did not fly at all." --Politex, 01.28.02MORE Here and Here


"Wasn't that the best?" said a laughing Ann Richards this week, when I asked her reaction to President Bush's effort to hide behind her skirt when questioned about Enron. "It was so silly. Why didn't he just say Ken Lay was a strong supporter and gave him a half-million dollars and is a good friend, and he's really sorry Ken's in these terrible circumstances?"

Good question. As the world knows now, George W. Bush told two lies when first asked about his ties to the top guy in what may prove the largest corporate flimflam in history. The president said (1) that he only "got to know" Mr. Lay in 1994, when in fact their relationship goes back at least to 1992; and (2) that Mr. Lay "was a supporter" of Governor Richards, when in fact Mr. Lay told TV's "Frontline" last year that he "did support" Mr. Bush over Ms. Richards in their Texas race.

This is the president who promised to usher America into "a new era of personal responsibility"?

What makes the dissembling so strange is that there is no evidence of any administration illegality in the Enron affair. And yet each day brings a new half-truth or seeming cover-up. Appearing on CNN last Saturday, Lawrence Lindsey, the top Bush economic adviser and a former Enron consultant, seconded the president's effort to pin Ken Lay on Ann Richards, but somehow forgot to say what would become public four days later — that he had overseen an administration study of the impact of Enron's travails in October. Earlier, Mary Matalin had visited the Imus show to defend her boss, Dick Cheney, but instead of vowing to open the books on the secret meetings between Enron and the vice president's clandestine energy task force, she asserted that Enron got "not one thing" from the administration's energy plan (actually it got plenty) and tried desperately to dismiss the entire ruckus as lacking an intern's "blue dress."

Hard as it is to believe, it was only 10 days ago that Ari Fleischer declared, "I'm not aware of anybody in the White House who discussed Enron's financial situation." Now we're painfully aware that the only White House inhabitants who may not have discussed it are the president, Barney and Spot — or so we must believe until future investigators turn up a smoking pretzel. --Frank Rich


"After Sept. 11, says Laura Bush, divorce is down, weddings are up and ``families have come together.'' In fact, fewer folks are taking vows and more are splitting up, says the available data, and hounds are twice as likely as husbands to get wifely attention....``Divorce cases have been withdrawn at higher rates, and more people are buying engagement rings and planning weddings,'' the first lady told a group of New York women. Mrs. Bush was referring to a news report out of Houston that was retracted four days before her talk. In fact, the federal government hasn't tracked divorce and marriage on a monthly basis since 1995. The only information is on the county level." --AP, 01.16.02


Despite President's Denials, Enron & Lay Were Early Backers of Bush

Enron PAC & Executives Gave $146,500 to 1994 Gubernatorial Campaign

Austin--President George W. Bush revised history yesterday when he said that Enron CEO Ken Lay "was a supporter of Ann Richards in my [gubernatorial] run in 1994." While Richards reportedly received $12,500 from Enron sources in that campaign, Bush received far more Lay and Enron money.

In fact, in an interview with PBS’s "Frontline" taped on March 27, 2001, Lay said, “When Governor Bush, now President Bush, decided to run for the governor’s spot, [there was] a little difficult situation. I’d worked very closely with Ann Richards also, the four years she was governor. But I was very close to George W. and had a lot of respect for him, had watched him over the years, particularly with reference to dealing with his father when his father was in the White House and some of the things he did to work for his father, and so did support him.”

Mr. Lay and Enron's PAC were early donors to Bush’s 1994 race, contributing $30,000 to Bush's gubernatorial committee as early as November 1993. All told, Enron's PAC and executives contributed $146,500 to Bush's first gubernatorial war chest in 1993 and 1994.

"President Bush's explanation of his relationship to Enron is at best a half truth. He was in bed with Enron before he ever held a political office," said Craig McDonald, Director of Texans for Public Justice.

Total Enron Money To Bush’s 1994 Gubernatorial Campaign Committee:

Contributions from Ken and Linda Lay………. $47,500
Contributions from the Enron PAC ………….. $20,000
Contributions from Other Enron Executives …$79,000
Total…… $146,500

Total Enron Money to Bush’s 1998 gubernatorial campaign = $166,000.
Total Enron Money to Bush’s two Gubernatorial Campaigns = $312,500.

Source: Texans for Public Justice and the Texas Ethics Commission.

Texans for Public Justice is a non-partisan, non-profit policy & research organization that tracks money in Texas politics.

As Enrongate Closes In, Bush Misleads Reporters About Relationship With Lay

"The president said he first met Lay in 1994, when the businessman worked for Democratic Gov. Ann Richards." --AP, Jan. 10, 2002.

"In addition to being one of the single largest financial backers of George W. Bush's political career, Ken Lay can count himself among the president's closest friends. Letters written while Bush was governor of Texas and obtained by Mother Jones reveal that the Enron Corp. chairman regularly wrote Bush and called upon the governor for favors. Lay recommended appointments to state boards and asked Bush to meet with visiting dignitaries from countries with whom Enron was hoping to do business. In fact, the relationship between the men dates back to the first Bush administration, when George W. used his family name to promote Enron ventures in Argentina ("Don't Cry for Bush, Argentina")." --Mother Jones.

"A few weeks after the U.S. presidential election in 1988, [Argentina's Minister Of Public Works Rodolfo] Terragno received a phone call from a failed Texas oilman named George W. Bush, who happened to be the son of the president-elect. "He told me he had recently returned from a campaign tour with his father," the Argentine minister recalls. The purpose of the call was clear: to push Terragno to accept the bid from Enron." --Mother Jones.


Bush "said yesterday: "I saw an airplane hit the tower - the TV was obviously on - and I used to fly myself, and I said, 'There's one terrible pilot.' And I said, 'It must have been a horrible accident.'" Of the second strike, Mr Bush told the youngster [,third grader, Jordan,]: "I wasn't sure what to think at first."...The story that he was watching TV contradicts reports from correspondents at the time that he got the news in a phone call from his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice. It also adds further puzzles: why he was being made to wait; why he did not at least delay his entry into the classroom; and why is it obvious that an elementary school would have a TV set in the corridor?" --Guardian, 12.5.01

EXCERPT FROM TRANSCRIPT..."Well, Jordan, you're not going to believe what state I was in when I heard about the terrorist attack. I was in Florida. And my chief of staff, Andy Card -- actually I was in a classroom talking about a reading program that works. And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower -- the TV was obviously on, and I use to fly myself, and I said, "There's one terrible pilot." And I said, "It must have been a horrible accident." But I was whisked off there -- I didn't have much time to think about it, and I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my chief who was sitting over here walked in and said, "A second plane has hit the tower. America's under attack." --CNN, 12.04.01

"Mr. Bush was informed that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in a telephone conversation with Ms. Rice shortly before walking into a second-grade classroom at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla. White House officials said he knew only that it was a single aircraft and not necessarily a terrorist attack. The president did not appear preoccupied until a few moments later, around 9:05 a.m., when his chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., entered the room and whispered into the president's ear about the second plane attack. At that moment Mr. Bush's face became visibly tense and serious." --NYT, 9/12/01.

I was watching the major news channels right after the first plane struck the first tower at around 8:45. My recollection is that footage of that accident was not made available until sometime after the sceond tower was hit by the second plane. That's because any shot of the first plane hit would have been happenstance and probably recorded by an amateur, which turned out to be the case with the footage shown at around 10:00 on network TV. If that's correct, Bush's thought when he saw the footage, "There's one terrible pilot," would be stunningly inappropriate, since it could only have come after phone conversations with Rice at around 8:55 (first plane), after seeing the first tower on fire at around 9:00, and after getting Card's whispered message about the second plane crash at around 9:05. Given that scenario, Bush's viewing of the second plane hitting the second tower could only have taken place after his classroom visit, which ended before 9:15. At around 9:15 he addressed the nation. The only way Bush could have seen the first plane crash prior to seeing the second plan crash would have been to have seen it on a non-public Secret Service TV transmission, which he didn't say had happened, but then, where did the secret service immediately get the pictures and send them to Bush within ten minutes of the crash? None were available to the public until around 10:00, if memory serves, and those weren't reported to have been supplied by the government, but by an amateur. By 10:00 Bush was leaving Saarasota. Given the available facts, the most benign conclusion, then, is that Bush was not telling the truth when he told Jordan that he saw the first plane hit the first tower prior to his going into the classroom. He actually could have seen the tower on fire, heard the reporter say that a plane hit it, and concluded, "There's one terrible pilot," making his remark too typically inappropriate, but not stunningly so. This would be just one more example of Bush's problems with his use of language and facts, which we have beem calling to our readers' attention for quite some time. --Politex, 12.09.01


The entire public rationale for the tax cut was not merely wrong or reckless, but outright dishonest. When Bush took office, remember, most people wanted to pay off the national debt and spend money on things like education and prescription drugs far more than they wanted tax cuts. Bush was only able to make his tax cuts acceptable by convincing the public that he first planned to take care of popular priorities and only cut taxes with all the leftover money. So, last week a reporter asked Fleischer what, given projected deficits, Bush planned to do about his promise to enact a prescription drug benefit. He replied that "anything dealing with large spending increases, particularly creation of new entitlements, has to be done with an eye toward what is achievable." In other words, it turns out we can't afford a drug plan, so too bad. If Bush's you-can-have-it-all budgeting was merely a miscalculation, he could scale back the tax cut to make way for more debt reduction or spending. But the truth—which subsequent developments now expose—is that Bush always placed his tax cut ahead of debt reduction or the various government policies he endorsed as a "compassionate conservative." It wasn't just some giant miscalculation. It was a lie. --Jonathan Chait, 12/4/01


"In an Op-Ed article in The New York Times on Friday, Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel, defended the {Bush tribunals], saying they would be fair. Mr. Gonzales continued with an assertion that appeared to liken the commissions to courts-martial. "The American military justice system is the finest in the world," he wrote, "with longstanding traditions of forbidding command influence on proceedings, of providing zealous advocacy by competent defense counsel and of procedural fairness." Some critics say the administration appears to be fostering the confusion to blunt criticism of the tribunals. "The confusion benefits the administration," said Eric M. Freedman, a professor of constitutional law at Hofstra University School of Law in Hempstead, N.Y. "If the government can spread the impression that the tribunals are like the courts- martial, that would allay many fears." In the battle of perception, both sides have been making statements that may not be accurate. Critics have said tribunals will conduct "secret trials." Mr. Gonzalez wrote that the commissions "will be as open as possible," though the president's order permits closed proceedings. --NYT.


"Those who watched NBC's "Meet the Press" Nov. 18 heard national security adviser Condoleezza Rice say that President Bush has been "very supportive of the Nunn-Lugar program." She said, "The funding was not cut. . . . All the way back in the campaign, the president talked about perhaps even increasing funding for programs of this kind." Rice said Bush has asked for as "much money as is actually needed." Perhaps the usually well-informed security adviser was misinformed, but what she said was wrong. The administration's budget request cut the Department of Energy part of the Nunn-Lugar program from $872 million to $774 million and the Department of Defense portion by another $40 million. The "materials protection and accounting" program that safeguards and monitors Russian nuclear materials was cut $35 million; the program to subsidize research facilities for jobless Russian nuclear scientists and keep them from working for terrorists, another $10 million. Nor is it true, as Rice claimed, that no more money could usefully be spent. Veteran professional staff people in Congress and the administration tell me the Russians have never been more receptive to American help in locking up or disposing of these materials. On Sept. 26 the Russians agreed to give U.S. inspectors access to nuclear sites never before opened. The window is open, but money is short. The program for disposing of plutonium -- a basic ingredient of nuclear weapons -- is essentially bankrupt. Some in the Bush administration argue that current disposal methods -- burning it in nuclear power reactors or storing it in glassified form -- are too expensive. I cannot judge. But last week, 20 senators wrote Bush "strongly urging" him to give "full and adequate funding" to the plutonium disposal program. Among the signers were 10 Republicans, including the party's senior defense and budget spokesmen, Sens. John Warner and Pete Domenici. This is a stupid place to try to save money." --David Broder, 11/25/01


About the White House proposal to drill in Alaska in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, page 5-9 of the Bush-Cheney "National Energy Policy" at tells Americans that:
"Estimates indicate that no more than 2,000 acres will be DISTURBED if the 1002 Area of ANWR is developed...the developed area is estimated to be less than one-fifth the size of Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport."
In August, the House passed an energy bill (H.R. 4) allowing drilling in Area 1002, but limiting certain oil production activities to 2,000 acres. However, the 2,000 acre (non-contiguous) limit only applies to the area where "oil facilities" actually "touch" the ground. This is the kind of lie politicians tell all the time. It's factually correct, but totally misleading. It's like saying a bullet through your head will only "touch" 1% of your body, implying that the rest of your body will be just fine. As you can see by looking at the map and explanation of proposed activities on our Alaskan Drilling page, the proposed Bush-Cheney plan will render over 1,000 square miles of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pretty much useless for anything other than drilling and support activities, causing grave and permanent damage to the environment. --Politex, 11/21/01


"Hiding behind a bogus claim of expanding openness, Bush issued new rules that will greatly complicate the Presidential Records Act, a post-Watergate law intended to ensure the release of administration records 12 years after a president leaves office — in this case, those of the Reagan administration. Under the law, Reagan documents were due for public release this year. Instead, Bush chose to stack the deck against disclosure, abolishing rules the Reagan administration itself wrote and replacing them with new roadblocks....Both Bush and his staff pretend they're increasing access to the documents. In introducing the rules, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that under existing law and procedures a former president has the right to withhold any documents for any reason. "But thanks to the executive order more information will be forthcoming," he said. That's true only if you pretend that the 1978 law isn't already in effect, implemented through Reagan's executive order. --USA, 11/11/01


On ABC News this evening a report reminded us that Bush's Sec. of Health, Tommy Thompson, said two weeks ago that his department would be able to respond to any threat of bioterrorism. When challenged about his statement today in the face of the Anthrax crisis and the limited availablility of both anthrax vaccine and Cipro, he reiterated his statment with a stress on the word "respond": "Yes, I said we would be able to RESPOND." You're in a car that crashes at an intersection. Those who see you crash would be sure to RESPOND, but in what way and to what end? --Politex, 10/17/01


Bush lied. About the cost of his tax cut. About who benefits. About his budget. He lied when he claimed he could throw money at the military, fund a prescription drug benefit, pass his tax cut and still not touch the Social Security surplus. And he's lying now as his budget office cooks the books to mask the fact that he's already dipping into the Social Security surplus--without counting the full cost of his military fantasies, or a decent drug benefit, or the inevitable tax and spending adjustments yet to come. Democrats have every reason to rail about Bush's lies and to condemn his irresponsible tax cut--about a third of which will go to the wealthiest 1 percent (and for which, it should be noted, twelve Democratic senators voted)....Democrats should be indicting Bush for turning his back on working families by enforcing austerity in a time of need. They should be making the case for extending unemployment insurance, aiding poor mothers (the first to be laid off), making investments in housing, schools and mass transit that can help jump-start the economy. And they should be taking credit for the tax rebate that people are getting--that was a Democratic idea that wasn't even in the Bush plan. Instead, Democrats are whistling Calvin Coolidge and ceding the growth argument to Bush. Bush says his tax cuts are needed to help the economy revive; that's right--only he's lying about his tax cut. Most of it doesn't kick in for years and goes to the already rich. Those cuts should be reversed, particularly the ones in the estate tax, which is paid only by the wealthiest families. Now we have a dishonest debate: Bush lies.... --Robert L. Borosage, 9/7/01


"This was supposed to be the administration that was going to "restore honor and integrity to the White House." Two days after taking office, George W. gave his troops their marching orders on ethics: "I expect every member of this administration to stay well within the boundaries that define legal and ethical conduct," said W. "This means avoiding even the appearance of improper conduct."

"Maybe Cheney and Rove just weren't paying attention. That could, at least partly, account for Rove's penchant for attending meetings on issues involving companies in which he owned stock. He took part in multiple energy policy meetings while owning stock in energy companies such as Enron. And in March, he met at the White House with the chairman of Intel and a pair of lobbyists who were pushing for approval of a high-tech merger the White House endorsed shortly thereafter. Three months later, Rove sold his Intel stock for $110,000. But when congressional Democrats questioned whether Rove had violated federal conflict-of-interest laws, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales defended him by claiming that the meetings fell outside the scope of government ethics rules because they were of a "general" nature. And what Rove's defense really means, of course, is that there was "no controlling legal authority." So much for "avoiding even the appearance of improper conduct."

"The tasty tidbits go on and on, such as how [the White House task force on energy] included a Bush appointee whose wife was raking in $60,000 lobbying for electricity companies at the same time her hubby was helping craft the energy plan. And how the only time Cheney deviated from his refusal to reveal the names of those helping him shape the plan was when he met with representatives from solar, wind and geothermal power, and then proudly trotted them out to meet the press.We also learn that a section of the task force's final report dealing with global warming was lifted almost verbatim from a policy paper put out by an energy industry trade group. I say almost, because in one sentence, the industry group used the phrase "both for" while the task force went with "for both." A complete syntactical reversal -- now that's some independent thinking! The fresh air that W promised to bring to the White House has grown so foul's time for a refresher course on ethics and conflict-of-interest issues." --Arianna Huffington, 8/31/01


Bush Lied About The Effect Of His Tax Cuts On The Economy During The Campaign, And He's Lying Now... "Dishonesty in the pursuit of tax cuts is no vice. That, in the end, will be the only way to defend George W. Bush's deceptions. Let's remember the way the debate ran during the spring. Back in May, The New Republic's cover showed a picture of Mr. Bush, with the headline "He's Lying." Inside were two articles about the tax cut. One, by Jonathan Chait, showed that -- contrary to administration claims -- the tax cut would mainly go to the richest few percent of the population. The other was an excerpt from my own book "Fuzzy Math," refuting the administration's claims that it could cut taxes, increase military spending, provide prescription drug coverage and still avoid dipping into the Social Security surplus. The New Republic cover caused much tut-tutting; the magazine's editors were accused of hyperbole, of rabble-rousing. But the headline was a simple statement of fact. Mr. Bush was lying. It was obvious from the start that the administration's numbers didn't add up. And in case you were wondering, the administration is still lying. I could explain at length how the Office of Management and Budget has cooked the books so that it can still claim a surplus outside of Social Security over the next two years. But here's an easy way to see that the numbers are bogus: O.M.B. claims that the budget will show a surplus of $1 billion this year, and another $1 billion next year. Ask yourself how likely it is that revenues and outlays in a $2 trillion budget would line up that exactly. Then ask yourself how likely it is that they would line up that exactly two years in a row. The O.M.B. numbers are the result of desperate backing and filling -- shift some revenue from this year to next year, then move some of it back, then change accounting rules that have been in place for 65 years, then bump up the estimate of economic growth -- all so that the administration can pretend that it is keeping its promise." --Paul Krugman, 8/28/01


Though President Bush campaigned for election by promising the military "help was on the way" after what he called years of neglect, his administration is now finalizing proposals this week for making big cuts in the armed forces.... The Pentagon has been laying the groundwork for these changes by saying it is essential to cut forces if the United States is going to realistically meet overseas commitments. But as the services themselves fight the proposed cuts, bitter opposition is anticipated on Capitol Hill, even from the president's own party. "They did take the president as a campaigner at his word that 'help is on the way' and to find out that help is now on the wane is not a good thing for them," said Daniel Goure, senior fellow at the Lexington Institute. The cuts are needed to pay for the administration's proposed missile defense system....Though Bush came into office promising to help restore the military, economic reality has overtaken campaign rhetoric." --ABC, 8/21/01


"The Great Stem Cell Compromise. "This is way beyond politics," said George W. Bush while pondering his verdict. What's more, he told the nation, he had found a solution to please everyone. His plan will at once "lead to breakthrough therapies and cures" and do so "without crossing a fundamental moral line." In fact, everything Mr. Bush said is false. His decision was completely about politics. It will slow the progress to breakthrough therapies and cures. It did force the pro-life movement he ostensibly endorses to cross a fundamental moral line. And yet the politics were so brilliantly handled — and exquisitely timed, for the August dog days — that few vacationing Americans bothered to examine the fine print, which didn't arrive until the final seconds of an 11- minute speech. Few have noticed, at least not yet, that the only certain beneficiary of this compromise is George W. Bush. --Frank Rich, 8/18/01


"Recently Mr. Bush was asked about the decision of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce output by a million barrels a day. That's about as much as the Department of Energy's estimate of peak daily production if we drill in the Alaskan tundra — a peak that won't come until the middle of the next decade. And OPEC cut production in order to keep oil prices high despite slumping world demand, which would seem to be against U.S. interests. Yet Mr. Bush was remarkably sympathetic to OPEC's cause; it seems that he feels the oil exporters' pain. "It's very important for there to be stability in a marketplace. I've read some comments from the OPEC ministers who said this was just a matter to make sure the market remains stable and predictable," he declared. Just in case you wonder whether this was really an endorsement of price-fixing, or whether Mr. Bush was just being polite, his spokesman, Ari Fleischer, left no doubt: "The president thinks it's important to have stability, and stability can come in the form of low prices, stability can come in the form of moderate prices." This is the same man who boasted during last year's campaign that he would force OPEC to "open the spigot." Did OPEC take Mr. Bush's remarks as a green light for further cuts? According to one oil analyst interviewed by Reuters, Mr. Bush's apparent expression of support for their efforts to keep prices high "excited a lot of OPEC ministers." Funny, isn't it? When California complains about high electricity prices, it gets a lecture about how you can't defy the laws of supply and demand. But when foreign producers collude to prevent prices from falling in the face of an oil glut, the administration not only signals its approval but endorses the old, discredited theory that cartels are in consumers' interest." --Paul Krugman, 8/4/01


"DURING the final presidential debate last fall, Al Gore accused George W. Bush of opposing a patients' bill of rights. "Actually, Mr. Vice President, it's not true," Mr. Bush instantly replied. "I do support a national patients' bill of rights. As a matter of fact, I brought Republicans and Democrats together to do just that in the state of Texas, to get a patients' bill of rights through. It requires a different kind of leadership style to do it, though." Texas, he added, was "one of the first states that said you can sue an H.M.O. for denying you proper coverage." ...Mr. Bush in 1995 vetoed the first version of the patients' rights bill that the Legislature sent him....two years later he let the section of the bill granting the right to sue go into effect without his signature." --NYT, 7/29/01


"The past few days have featured an extreme version of the [Bush] equivocation strategy. At the weekend summit of industrialized nations in Genoa, Italy, President Bush gave his fellow leaders the impression that he would come up with a global-warming proposal by October, in time for the next international meeting on the issue. But administration officials have since accused the Canadian and French leaders of making up the October target out of "thin air," and have even quibbled about whether U.S. ideas on the subject will amount to a 'proposal.'" --WP Ed, 7/26/01


"Washington is awash these days with avowals of concern for children, especially on the Republican side. Whatever the issue, it's really about the kids they say. President Bush referred to children 11 times in a single speech-on tax cuts no less. In a speech on federal money for churches-excuse us, "faith-based initiatives"-the count was up to 35 (not counting "kids" and the like). "The values of our children must be a priority of our nation," Bush said in a budget speech in March. But exactly what values was the President referring to? He gave the impression it was the traditional ones of hard work, abstemiousness and the rest. But look more closely at the administration, and a different meaning emerges. Whenever an issue pits kids against corporate agendas and big money in Bush's Washington, it is the kids who lose. And that means pretty much all the time. Corporate leaders in the U.S. are bent on reducing children to free-floating appetites for stuff, and the new crowd in Washington is cheering them on-often because it's the same people. Speechifying about "values" notwithstanding, no previous administration has so embodied the aggressive commercialism that has parents feeling under siege. If the administration really was serious about standing up for kids, it would go at this commercialism like a shark at blood. It is a direct assault on everything Republicans claim to hold dear. It subverts both the sanctity of the home and the authority of parents; and it turns the entire culture into a nemesis for parents rather than a support for them. Corporations approach kids not as potential moral beings, but as bundles of inchoate desire whose inclinations to self gratification are to be stoked and magnified-the amorality of the Sixties in corporate drag. But since the perps wear suits, the administration calls it the American Way. --Boulder Weekly, 7/15/01


"Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser, was the Salvation Army's first White House contact in its effort to win approval of a regulation allowing religious charities to practice anti-gay workplace bias, administration officials said yesterday. The revelation contrasts sharply with the administration's initial insistence that senior officials were not involved with the charity's request, which was hastily rejected Tuesday evening after a news account about the proposed regulation. An internal Salvation Army document obtained by The Washington Post said the White House had made a "firm commitment" to issue a regulation protecting religious charities from state and city efforts to prevent discrimination against gays in hiring and providing benefits. To secure this commitment, the charity proposed spending nearly $1 million on lobbyists and strategists, and those it retained included a key player in the Bush presidential campaign and one of the campaign's top fundraisers. The White House has denied that it promised the charity anything. But a White House official involved in the matter said yesterday that there was "an implied quid pro quo." This official said that Don E. Eberly, the deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, had given the Salvation Army "an implicit understanding" that the administration would seriously consider the change....

"A White House official close to the matter...said, "Rove was intimately involved in courting the Salvation Army." A second administration official close to the matter confirmed that account. Both officials said Rove knew all about the regulatory request. "Literally nothing occurs around here without his blessing," the first official said. "He's the air traffic controller. He says, 'Here's your problem. Here's your answer.' " Officials involved in the decision to drop consideration of the regulation said it was reached at about 4 p.m. Tuesday after a strong consensus was reached among the half dozen or so officials who were reviewing the request. Bush had traveled to New York that day. The issue and the way to handle the public relations crisis were hotly debated in meetings and calls to Air Force One as Bush traveled back from New York. As the White House worked to calm the furor over the Salvation Army flap, the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday approved a component of Bush's faith-based plan, a proposal to allow those who don't itemize their taxes to deduct charitable contributions. The committee scaled back the plan to just $6.3 billion over 10 years from the $84 billion Bush proposed. The White House nevertheless hailed the passage by the committee as a major victory. "This legislation will stimulate more charitable giving and support faith-based and community organizations in their efforts to help those in need," Bush said in a statment. --WP, 7/12/01


"George W. Bush ran for president pledging not just a change in policies but a change in the way those policies are made. There was no mistaking whom Bush had in mind when he denounced decision-making by poll and promised an end to the "permanent campaign." Five months into his administration comes a surprise: Bush's White House at times bears a striking resemblance to Bill Clinton's. The signature of Clinton's White House -- and a key to his survival during impeachment and a host of other crises -- was the way policy and politics were routinely interwoven in his decision-making process. Clinton's top political and policy aides met weekly to pore over polling and to plot strategy. Senior Bush aides acknowledge they convene weekly to do precisely the same thing." --WP, 6/26/01


"Bush, playing an active role in targeting vulnerable Democratic senators in next year's election, aimed his latest criticisms toward Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Calling for greater authority to set U.S. trade policy during a speech Wednesday to the Business Roundtable, [Bush] said: "There are some who want to put codicils on the trade protection authority for one reason -- they don't like free trade. They're protectionists and they're isolationists." The remarks came as Baucus was chairing hearings in which several senators questioned the wisdom of granting Bush "fast track" authority to negotiate trade deals. Baucus spokesman Michael Siegel said Friday that the senator "just couldn't figure out what was meant by [Bush's] comments." Baucus has a "progressive" record on trade policy, including calls for normalized trade with Cuba, Siegel said. "Certainly the Senate is not isolationist or protectionist," he said. --WP, 6/25/01


"The European Commission's anti-trust chief has ordered politicians to quit meddling in his affairs, following criticism by chiefs including US president George Bush of his probe into the General Electric/Honeywell merger. EU competition commissioner Mario Monti has condemned as "entirely out of place" comments over the tough line he has said to have taken over the $42bn deal, between two of America's biggest companies.... "This is a matter of law and economics, not politics," he said...." I deplore attempts to misinform the public and to trigger political intervention."... Last week Mr Bush said he was "concerned that the Europeans have rejected" the merger....Mr Bush's office on Monday appeared to be attempting to calm US/EC tension, denying that the president had sought to interfere with Mr Monti's anti-trust procedures. "[Mr Bush] reiterated the American position, which [was that] the American government already cleared the merger so, of course, the president said that," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. --BBC, 6?20/01


"'Something will happen when I'm president,' Bush told a Jewish lobbying group a year ago. 'As soon as I take office I will begin the process of moving the U.S. ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital.' The Bush campaign in October slammed Vice President Al Gore for backsliding on the move."

--Al Kamen's June 13 "In the Loop" column in the Washington Post.

"Pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 7(a) of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-45) (the 'Act'), I hereby determine that it is necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States to suspend for a period of six months the limitations set forth in sections 3(b) and 7(b) of the Act."

--June 11 presidential memorandum delaying the congressionally mandated relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Timothy Noah, 6/19/01


CLINTON'S NIGHT DEPOSIT..."As the Bush administration has moved ambitiously during its first months to reshape the government according to its conservative values, the president and his aides have explained their decision to reopen dozens of federal rules by saying they were deluged by President Bill Clinton with controversial, last-minute regulations. "The night deposit" is how Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. refers to Clinton's final regulatory work, spanning drinking water and medical records, workers' safety and national parks. "Actions like this, undertaken at the very end of an administration, carry . . . the risk that they were ill-considered or ill-intentioned or both," Daniels said. An examination of the rules that the new administration has begun to rethink -- and, in some instances, recast -- suggests that Clinton did complete a large number of regulations near the end of his second term. But there is little evidence any of them were new ideas that sprang up in the weeks and months before the White House changed hands. In fact, virtually all the regulations finished by federal agencies shortly before Clinton left office had been developed over years, according to government documents, outside policy analysts, and officials of the Bush and Clinton administrations. Some had been delayed by lawsuits or because Republican-led Congresses of the mid- to late-1990s had explicitly forbidden federal agencies to work on them. Moreover, the regulations completed during Clinton's final weeks in office were in step with a brisk pace of regulatory work throughout his two terms -- and with a longstanding practice in which presidents of both political parties have issued many regulations just before they departed." --Washington Post, 6/9/01


"As OPEC meets, it has become apparent that President Bush is breaking his campaign pledge to "jawbone OPEC," to increase production. Last year Bush said OPEC was the "main reason," for high gas prices, but this year, as gas price have reached $2 a gallon in some regions, his Administration is rejecting "begging or publicly bashing to get more oil," with a "gentler approach" to OPEC. --Grand Old Petroleum, 6/6/01



"NOT LONG after George W. Bush was sworn in as president, many were aghast to read in newspapers and hear on television that in the final days of the Clinton administration, employees had trashed the White House. Democrats were embarrassed, and Republicans, stroking their wallets, gloated that they knew all along the Clintons were hillbillies. The story began as a gossip item in The Washington Post that the letter ''W,'' Bush's middle initial, had been removed from keyboards, and within days it had mushroomed to a scandal reported prominently on TV and the front page of the Post. The details were startling: Walls had been desecrated with obscene graffiti, file cabinets glued shut, telephone wires cut, presidential seals steamed off doors and pornography left on fax machines. So extensive was the damage that a communications worker was said to have been reduced to tears and a national magazine hinted that the White House was spending $10,000 a day to repair phone systems damaged by departing Democrats. Talk-show hosts from the nutty right, like Jay Severin in Boston and his audience of dumb and dumbest, all congratulated themselves on having been proved right that the Clintons were trailer-park trash.

"And what of the Globe? At a time when Bush aides were privately promoting the story, Anne E. Kornblut of the Globe's Washington Bureau was filing stories that were skeptical. For example, at a briefing Jan. 25, Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer deceptively encouraged reporters' suspicions while refusing to confirm or deny reports of damage. The next day, in a 620-word account, Kornblut wrote: ''No public evidence exists that Clinton and Gore staff members vandalized the White House or Old Executive Office Building.'' For that statement, she was denounced by some for political bias and for not reporting in greater detail what one reader said was further evidence that under Clinton, America had seen the greatest moral decay since the founding of the nation. ''Kornblut either knows the truth and she wrote a blatantly dishonest, biased story,'' wrote Lee Vincent of Groton, Conn., ''or she is incompetent or inexcusably clueless about a widely known set of facts.'' Now, three months later, buried in the national briefs column in the Globe a few days ago was an AP story four sentences long that said an investigation by the General Accounting Office found no evidence of vandalism, no evidence of wires slashed, no evidence of equipment damaged, and no evidence or anything to match the allegations.

"Knowing how difficult it is to write against the current and risk the wrath of readers, not to mention the censure of editors, I called Kornblut to congratulate her for having covered the story with temperance and, above all, for having gotten it right. 'Just basic reporting,' she said. 'What made me suspicious was the fact that the White House wouldn't give specific examples and wouldn't say, on the record, that this happened here or that happened there. I made phone calls to people who told me it just wasn't true. Also, there were no pictures, and they never seemed to be able to say on the record, in public or at a press conference, here is what happened.'" --Boston Globe,5/28/01


The General Services Administration has found that the White House vandalism flap earlier this year was a flop. The agency concluded that departing members of the Clinton administration had not trashed the place during the presidential transition, as unidentified aides to President Bush and other critics had insisted. Responding to a request from Rep. Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican, who asked for an investigation, the GSA found that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. "The condition of the real property was consistent with what we would expect to encounter when tenants vacate office space after an extended occupancy," according to a GSA statement. No wholesale slashing of cords to computers, copiers and telephones, no evidence of lewd graffiti or pornographic images. GSA didn't bother to nail down reports of pranks, which were more puckish than destructive. Among those pranks was the apparent removal, by aides to former President Bill Clinton, of the "w" key from some computer keyboards and the placing of official-looking signs on doors, saying things like "Office of Strategery," after a popular "Saturday Night Live" spoof on Bush. But the vandal scandal, tales of torn up offices and items stolen from the presidential jet, was the hottest story in town during the early days of the Bush administration until White House furniture and last-minute pardons pushed it off the front page. "I think it was this calculated effort to plant a damaging story," said Alex S. Jones, director of the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. "There was a sort of fertile ground for believing anything bad." Typical was Tony Snow, a syndicated columnist and former presidential speech writer for President Bush's father, who wrote that the White House "was a wreck." He also said that Air Force One, after taking Clinton and some aides to New York following the inauguration, "looked as if it had been stripped by a skilled band of thieves -- or perhaps wrecked by a trailer park twister." He went on to list all manner of missing items, including silverware, porcelain dishes with the presidential seal and even candy. "It makes one feel grateful that the seats and carpets are bolted down," Snow fumed. Except none of it happened. An official at Andrews Air Force Base, which maintains the presidential jets, told The Kansas City Star at the height of the controversy that nothing was missing. Bush himself acknowledged the same a few days later. And now GSA has made it official. --Kansas City Star, 5/17/01


"During testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, Theodore B. Olson, President Bush's nominee to become solicitor general, sought to dissociate himself from the "Arkansas Project," the effort by the conservative magazine American Spectator to uncover scandals linked to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton," the Washington Post reports. Olson told the committee that he belatedly became aware of the undertaking, but that he was not involved in the project's origin or management. But "former Spectator staff writer David Brock has told the Judiciary Committee that Olson was directly involved in the Arkansas Project." Brock said that he told Olson that a piece about Vince Foster was unsubstantiated, and that Olson told him "while he didn't place any stock in the piece, it was worth publishing because the role of the Spectator was to write Clinton scandal stories in hopes of 'shaking scandals loose.' " The Post piece is a follow-up to a piece Jake Tapper wrote in Salon. MSNBC,5/10/01


"W promised the world a "humble" [foreign policy], leading by example. It was, surprise, a lie. There is nothing humble about declaring that we don't give a damn about global warming, and that we are, in fact, going to boost our use of fossil fuels and to hell with the rest of the world. There is nothing humble about declaring the right to waste energy to be a central tenet of the "'Murican way of life." Like everything else about W, the "humility" was a ruse, and the "leadership" is a joke. Americans were supposed to feel confident that an experienced hand like Colin Powell was at the wheel at the State Department. From day one, Bush and Cheney have belittled Powell, contradicted him in front of the world, and left him swinging in the wind to be battered like a big Pinata by every foreign minister he deals with: "America will work to see the Rio protocols and the Kyoto Agreement changed so they can be adopted." WHAP! "Uh, no we won't Colin." "America will continue to seek dialogue with North Korea." WHAP! 'Nope, sorry big fella.'" --BuzzFlash, 5/11/01


"Wrapping up a meeting with the emir of Bahrain today, President Bush said conservation would be part of the national energy policy Vice President Dick Cheney will propose next week. "We'll have a strong conservation statement," Bush said. But White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was adamant today when asked whether the president would ask Americans to stop using so much energy. "That's a big 'no,'" Fleischer said. "The president believes that it's an American way of life, that it should be the goal of policy-makers to protect the American way of life. The American way of life is a blessed one." The president, he said, considers Americans' heavy use of energy a "reflection of the strength of our economy, of the way of life that the American people have come to enjoy." --ABC, 5/7/01


"Q: Admiral, how [are] the Chinese reading those memos from the secretary as far as the military-to-military relations with China? Is this kind of a warning to the Chinese from the U.S. that you better behave in the future?

"Quigley: No, I wouldn't interpret it that way at all. What you've got is a misinterpretation of the secretary's intentions yesterday by a member of the OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] staff, and it simply misinterpreted the secretary's intentions and his guidance. So this was an honest misinterpretation, nothing more, nothing less.

"Q: But how did it come to the secretary's attention that his guidance had been misinterpreted?

"Quigley: Reporters started calling yesterday afternoon. Somebody had gotten a hold of the original memo. And we started taking queries here on the news desk from reporters, and then that brought it to our attention, and we started working it here internally and --

"Q: But it was not complaints from the White House or the State Department?

"Quigley: No, not at all. Not at all. "

--May 3 Defense Department press briefing concerning a Pentagon directive banning all military-to-military contacts between the U.S. and China. The policy was hastily altered to require such contacts be approved on a case-by-case basis.

"White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday that after seeing the reports about the suspension of military relations, White House officials he would not identify had called the Pentagon and said: 'This seems inconsistent with what we know the secretary's policy is. Can you look into this?'"

--"Calls Led To Pentagon Reversal" by Mike Allen in the May 4 Washington Post.


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