On the Plane

'He's Got a Few Other Things to Do'

BUCHAREST, Romania -- So he's a busy guy. That's what President Bush's top advisers said when asked why he suddenly bolted from the last NATO summit meeting this evening.

Our colleague, Terry Hunt of the Associated Press, pigeonholed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and national security adviser Stephen Hadley after a briefing in the White House filing center here to ask about the president's departure before the end of a discussion on Afghanistan.

"The president stayed there all day long. He listened to everybody," Rice explained. "It is rare -- if you actually counted the number of heads of states that were up and down and gone most of the time, it's a lot. So, the president had been there all day. He now has to get ready to go . . . "

Hadley interjected: "And he didn't go in and out like of other people."

"And he didn't go in and out like a lot of people," Rice repeated. "He sat there and listened to everybody."

"You know," Hadley added, "he's got a few other things to do."

"He's got a -- yeah," Rice agreed. "And then tonight. So, it wasn't abrupt. And Bob Gates stayed to represent us."

After Bush went back to his hotel, he stayed there for 2-1/2 hours before emerging to head over to the official evening "cultural event" at the Athenaeum to be followed by a dinner with the other leaders at the nearby Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel.

-- Peter Baker

By Washington Post Editor |  April 3, 2008; 2:48 PM ET  | Trip:  Bush in Eastern Europe, April 2008
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Comments

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Peter needs to chill. I just read all his dispatches. He doesn't have a positive thing to say. Everything is wrong, bad, dark, broken, off schedule, out of sorts, off kilter, not working right. I can imagine no one wants to be around him or see him heading in their direction. I bet the newsroom is sorry to see the summit is over because it means gloomy Peter is headed back to town. His dog, if he has one, is probably getting ready to be kicked.

Posted by: MH | April 3, 2008 3:39 PM

uh, Peter, don't you mean "buttonholed," not "pigeonholed?"

Posted by: bill | April 3, 2008 3:51 PM

This is not a story. This is just bait for Bush hating liberals.

Posted by: Mike | April 3, 2008 3:53 PM

although i am sure that Hunt has pigeonholed a public official or two: "Rice, the incompetent Bush loyalist," or "Rice, the most powerful yet ineffectual black woman in history," etc.

Posted by: bill | April 3, 2008 3:55 PM

hey mike... it ain't just liberals who rightly hate bush... it's a whooooooooooooooooole lotta folks. bush's current approval rating - 28%. PATHETIC! worst president ever - nuff said.

Posted by: pete | April 3, 2008 4:25 PM

Worst
President
Ever

Posted by: TeddySanFran | April 3, 2008 4:30 PM

Last year of 8 for Bush - dead in the water!
Last year of 8 for Putin - Mr. Muscle pushes his agenda!

The Americans have no credible leader until 2009!!

Americans need to question their transition of power procedures! Otherwise, this embarassment will become cyclical, as a minimum!


P Quinn
Toronto

Posted by: Patrick Quinn | April 3, 2008 4:38 PM

He had to poop.

Posted by: lewis | April 3, 2008 7:07 PM

He might as well leave, events unfolded so far indicate he had a marginal influence on anything. And I think I am being generous with that assessment. He should've stayed home because he has no credibility left anywhere. At least here at home we will put up with him. For the next 8 months at any rate.

Posted by: tydicea | April 3, 2008 8:23 PM

He might as well leave, events unfolded so far indicate he had a marginal influence on anything. And I think I am being generous with that assessment. He should've stayed home because he has no credibility left anywhere. At least here at home we will put up with him. For the next 8 months at any rate.

Posted by: tydicea | April 3, 2008 8:23 PM

Since the 28%'ers love to kiss W's ass so much, it's time for them to move to the front ... Have a good time, losers, I'm afraid we haven't had the need to validate the Worst.President.Ever for a long time.

Posted by: 666 | April 3, 2008 9:03 PM

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