The Bush Files

A sampling of the day’s best independent news, views, and resources on US politics, keeping an eye on the Bush Administration. Updated each weekday.

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June 16, 2001

Aide says she leaked “Debategate” tape — Dallas Morning News
Bush campaign worker Juanita Lozano has pleaded guilty to mail fraud and perjury in connection with the leaking of debate-rehearsal videotape to the Gore campaign last fall. Some observers say the Bush camp sent the tape in an effort to frame the Gore campaign for stealing secrets. Lozano’s plea may figure in a deal to limit her sentence in the case.

Jeffords’ wife miffed? — New York Post
Jim Jeffords’s wife unsuccessfully tried to persuade him to stay in the Republican party, and now she’s leaving the Senator’s side to return to Vermont alone. Mr. Jeffords said his wife’s departure had nothing to do with his decision to become an independent, and that she had long-standing plans to return to their Vermont home.

Americans don’t like missile defense — Hotline Scoop
President Bush is touring Europe trying to convince allies to support his missile defense proposal, but he might want to work a little harder selling it to the folks at home. According to a new poll, 43 percent of respondents believe that a system of arms-control treaties will do more to protect the US from attack than Bush’s pet project; only 34 percent thought a national missile defense would be more effective protection.

June 15, 2001

Father knows best — Capitol Hill Blue
George H.W. Bush Sr. kept a low profile in the first few months of Dubya’s administration, but with foreign policy issues tripping Jr. up, Bush Sr. is getting more involved in advising his son. The presidential pop even sent a memo to George W. urging him to ease his stance on North Korea — just weeks before Dubya announced he was suddenly willing to reopen talks with Pyongyang.

Rove profited from Intel merger deal — Associated Press
White House political strategist Karl Rove owned more than $100,000 in Intel stock when he and Vice President Dick Cheney met in March with Intel executives and lobbyists who were pushing for federal approval of a merger between one of Intel’s suppliers and a Dutch company. The Bush Administration approved the merger two months later.

Liddy Dole for Senate? — Roll Call
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has reportedly approached erstwhile presidential aspirant Elizabeth Dole to consider running for Jesse Helms’ seat in 2002 if Helms chooses to step down. Dole was said to be “interested, but non-committal.”

June 14, 2001

Bush stands corrected on execution policy — Los Angeles Times
George W. Bush told European reporters earlier this week that “we should never execute someone who is retarded, and our court system protects the people who don’t understand the nature of the crime they committed nor the punishment they are about to receive.” But Bush appears to be confused about the law: Several states, including Texas, do allow executing the mentally retarded. White House aides have tried to clarify Bush’s statement by saying the president does, in fact, understand the law and has consistently taken the view that a jury must decide whether defendants understood the nature of their crimes.

Another GOP defection looming? — Providence Journal
Jim Jeffords beat him to it, but Rhode Island Republican Lincoln Chafee has been considering bolting the GOP for months. Chafee tells the Providence Journal that he hasn’t ruled out renouncing his party affiliation. He says he is “genuinely dismayed” at the direction of the White House and the Senate Republican leadership, and that he is “holding his breath” in hopes of moderating the rightist tone of his fellow Republicans.

A House seat for Ollie North? — Washington Times
Virginia Republicans are strategizing to carve out a Congressional district that would launch Oliver North into the House of Representatives. North, the retired lieutenant colonel who was at the center of the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, would take on incumbent Democrat Rick Boucher in an area that voted for North in his failed 1994 Senate race. The plan was reportedly hatched by Virginia Governor James S. Gilmore III, who also happens to head the Republican National Committee.

June 13, 2001

Advice for the accidental tourist — The Guardian (UK)
Bush arrived in Europe on his first official visit Tuesday, and seeing as how he hasn’t done a lot of overseas travel, let alone diplomacy, The Guardian (UK) has some helpful advice for the First Tourist, including:

Tuesday, 1 pm: State lunch with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia. Don’t ask what it is. Just eat it.”
Friday noon: Arrive Warsaw for meetings with President Kwasniewski and Prime Minister Buzek of Poland. Subjects to avoid: Polish jokes.
3pm: Rest.
4pm: Rest.
5:30pm: PlayStation time.
6pm: Rest. ”

How Fleischer keeps the press in line– National Public Radio
A Houston Chronicle reporter tells NPR’s On the Media about the phone call she got from White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, two hours after she asked a question about the First Twins’ alcohol citation in a White House briefing. “He immediately told me that he thought I was out of bounds in asking the question; that none of the other national press had gone there about the questioning of — you know — that the lives of the daughters and — he said it had been quote ‘noted in the building that I had asked the question.'” It seemed like “a bullying tactic,” the reporter adds: “I mean, he has a perfect right not to like the question and call me and talk to me about it. But to sort of say that we’re, we’re you know – keeping lists or things like that…”

June 12, 2001

Foreign Policy for Dummies — The Guardian (UK)
President Bush spent the weekend in a series of crash courses on US foreign policy, the Guardian reports. His handlers, led by the “ferociously intelligent” Condoleezza Rice, are trying to counter Bush’s reputation for cluelessness among European leaders as the President takes his global missile defense road show to the continent.

Germany will be a tough sell — The Christian Science Monitor
While Dick Cheney pushes for more nuclear power in the US, Germany is embarking on a plan to shut down all of its reactors within 25 years. Bush, who is trying to explain his unorthodox views on climate change to the Europeans, will have an especially hard time winning Berlin’s endorsement, notes the Monitor. “In this country, which views itself as a leader in the global debate on both climate change and nuclear energy, nuclear power is considered an outdated 20th-century technology. While Bush argues that greenhouse-gas reduction measures and economic growth are contradictory — and nuclear power is necessary to meet increased US energy demands — Germany is trying to prove the opposite.”


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