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J.C. Watts: 'History's going to be kind to George W. Bush'

NEW ORLEANS -- There was a marked shift of tone inside the SRLC ballroom when former congressman J.C. Watts followed Liz Cheney.

While the former vice president's daughter went with hammer and tongs at Barack Obama, Watts hardly mentioned the president, sticking to positive talk about conservatives' values and cute anecdotes about his alma mater and his family. The closest he got to a hit on Obama was "my president asking France and Germany to defend herself." The biggest applause he got -- the biggest of this conference so far -- came when he defended Obama's predecessor.

"Some might think that George W. Bush had his shortcomings," said Watts, "but let me tell you something -- history's going to be kind to George W. Bush."

The praise for Bush inspired a standing ovation. Watts, who left Congress in 2003, was one of the rare Republicans who never criticized Bush, even in the nadir at the end of his presidency.

By David Weigel  |  April 8, 2010; 9:05 PM ET
Categories:  George W. Bush  
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