The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Morning Cheat Sheet

And Now, From the West Wing Peanut Gallery

President Bush offered reviews of recent Democratic and Republican presidential debates. (Reuters).

President Bush has vowed repeatedly not to play pundit in chief in the race to succeed him, but he couldn't resist weighing in a bit this week anyway, pushing back against Democratic candidates on trade and housing while even taking a shot at a Republican candidate who has been particularly harsh on him.

A day after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and several other Democratic candidates promised during an AFL-CIO-sponsored debate on MSNBC Tuesday night to "fix" the North American Free Trade Agreement, Bush slapped back, noting that it was "Bill Clinton who got it through the United States Congress" and asserting that it did not need repair. "NAFTA has worked," he told a group of reporters. "What are they suggesting we fix?"

Bush said he had not watched the debate but rejected Democrats' criticism that he had not done enough to enforce labor, environmental and health standards related to the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. "You know, I grew up in Texas," he said. "We used to go down to the border down there. It was like a third-world country in many ways. Today, it's a prosperous part of the world on both sides of the border." He added that "it's a lot easier to be environmentally conscious when you have revenues and money."

He likewise used the interview to reject proposals by Clinton and others for a federal bailout in response to the housing crisis caused by risky mortgage loans. Clinton this week proposed a $1 billion federal fund to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. "Somebody said, 'Should we be using taxpayer money to bail out lenders?' and the answer is, 'No, we shouldn?t be,'" Bush said. "The market will work." And he dismissed proposals by Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and other Democrats to let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy more mortgages to stem the crisis.

In a separate interview with Neil Cavuto of Fox News Channel, the president acknowledged that he has become the whipping boy of the campaign. "I'm an easy target, yes," he said. "But you can't win an election if the vision is, "I'm against somebody.' It's very important for candidates from both political parties to say what they're for. And I'm confident ... our candidate will win this election because I believe the candidate who will be the nominee will have articulated a plan to keep America safe and to keep America prosperous."

He brushed off Republican criticism in the most recent debate Sunday, when many of the candidates distanced themselves from him. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney declared that he was "not a carbon copy of President Bush" and former Arknasas governor Mike Huckabee said he would "absolutely not" share the president's vision for spreading democracy abroad.

"I didn't see any pile-on," Bush maintained. "I mean, there may be some candidates who probably won't be the nominee of the party, for example, using the immigration debate to make points. But I think on the big issues, keeping taxes low, Republican candidates understand it's the right policy." The mention of a candidate who won't win the nomination presumably refers to Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.), who has been among the most vocal critics of Bush among the Republican presidential candidates, particularly on immigration.

All that, of course, from the one person in Washington not running next year. Still, Bush insists he does not miss it. Asked about the early start to the presidential contest, he said flatly, "I'm just glad I'm not out there running."

-- Peter Baker

Posted at 8:16 AM ET on Aug 9, 2007  | Category:  Morning Cheat Sheet
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Bush is delusional. Congress has had hours of investigation, requesting info that Bush won't give them, then he accuses them of having no proof that his administration did anything wrong. Pass the kool-aid. Everything is going great! Did I mention that Bush is delusional?

Posted by: thebobbob | August 10, 2007 1:30 AM

The Washington Post forgot the definition of "news" years ago. It's a shame they refer to themselves as a "news"paper. The National Enquirer is more trustworthy.

Posted by: upyursliberal | August 10, 2007 12:43 AM

I'm no fan of the President, but the Post shows an unseemly bias when it selects a photo catching him in full grimace. It's bush-league to use such a silly picture with this story.

Posted by: jim | August 9, 2007 6:21 PM

There's something inherently wrong with claiming that Bush
"weighs in" on anything. The phraseology implies substance,
of which his mind can scarcely be blamed of having much.

Posted by: igorvitch33 | August 9, 2007 3:46 PM

There's something inherently wrong with claiming that Bush
"weighs in" on anything. The phraseology implies substance,
of which his mind can scarcely be blamed of having much.

Posted by: igorvitch33 | August 9, 2007 3:46 PM

A small correction: Bush does not take responsibility for Iraq but rather tries to take credit for the illusion of progress he is trying to portray as the reality.

Bush will never accept the blame, will never admit error, will never admit that the war is lost. Thousands more will die to protect this grotesque man's fragile ego.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | August 9, 2007 2:08 PM

I wonder how much of the Texas border he checked on both sides. I traveled not many years ago along 200 miles on the Mexican side and I have to say it was one of the scariest experiences I have had. Almost continual shanty towns with no services and made out of garbage, occasionally interspersed with real towns. These shanty towns are not the Tijuana maquilladoras for sure. Lest we forget he represents corporations not people, of course he thinks NAFTA is great. That's the genesis of all his insanity. Everything for corporations, nothing for people. His ilk will not wake up until corporations have destroyed the American way of life and most American workers are coolies who can't afford to support their greed. Count Billery among this ilk. If you want a job vote with your feet and move to China. If you want an antidote to this recipe check out a new book called Parity Democracy, how to level the world economic playing field. It is a Plato's Republic for an ideal democracy. It can be had at all the online book stores.

Posted by: e_wode | August 9, 2007 1:31 PM

Well, this is simply classical Bush:
Criticize everybody else, blame all of your failed policies on others, and continue to show an absolute disgust and disregard for the middle class American Republicans who elected him.

Huge numbers disagree with his immigration position, and huge numbers disagree with his mortgage bailout position. Just as huge numbers disagreed with his bankruptcy laws position.

And now comes the payoff -
His support for those revamped bankruptcy rules will now insure that many of those folks who were scammed into sub-prime mortgages by unscrupulous lenders will be milked dry, and wind up on the streets, with no medical, no money, and probably become an even bigger burden on their communities.

More moronic Bush policies that prove the lack of any kind of foresight or vision, or any kind of concern for common American citizens.

Posted by: cjfaiella | August 9, 2007 1:12 PM

That first comment is rediculous. When Bush is asked about Iraq he takes responsibility. I don't agree with him on everything but I know that he believes in what he's doing and takes responsibility for his own actions. That's more than I can say for most politicians or people in general.

Posted by: jgilesmml | August 9, 2007 12:43 PM

The President asks, about NAFTA,
"What are they suggesting we fix?"

he later, unknowingly, answers his own question
"there may be some candidates... using the immigration debate to make points"

Posted by: bsimon | August 9, 2007 11:48 AM

The White House has been parading their ho alot lately...and drip-boy was not on the Sunday shows this week...SnowJob weakening?
Weeks not Months!!!!

Posted by: kase | August 9, 2007 11:34 AM

One of the most annoying things Bush does (of which there must be thousands) is his inclination when criticised to shift the blame. When commenting on NAFTA, the first words out of his mouth were "Clinton did it". It shows how shiftless this guy is that he can't answer a single criticism without trying to spread the blame around.

Posted by: jheath53 | August 9, 2007 10:03 AM

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