Former aides: Cheney did not pull Bush’s strings

Two former top aides of President George W. Bush dimiss claims that Vice President Dick Cheney was the "power behind the throne" or the puppetmaster who controlled the Presidency, saying the claims are "myth" or just plain "hooey."

In interviews with The Washington Post, former White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley try to redefine the public perception of Bush’s eight years in office.

They say "the decider" really made the decisions although they admit there was a period in the Bush Presidency when others made decisions for him.

Bolten and Hadley both worked for Bush’s father, former President George H.W. Bush, but were not considered part of the "Texas mafia" who came to Washington with the younger Bush. Yet both became trusted insiders of the current President.


Reports Michael Abramowitz of The Washington Post:

Last week, in lengthy interviews in the spacious chief of staff’s office in the West Wing, Bolten and Hadley reflected on their White House years and painted an affectionate portrait of the president. As two of the top officials who have had to defend controversial administration policies for the duration of the Bush presidency, they voiced frustration over their inability to improve Bush’s popularity and to counter the administration’s image of arrogance. But in a wide-ranging conversation lasting more than two hours, the two men also rebutted what they consider common misconceptions of the George W. Bush era, such as the president’s alleged insulation from bad news and the view that Vice President Cheney wielded unbridled behind-the-scenes power.

"One of the mythologies," Hadley said, "is that it was the vice president that somehow was pulling the strings on foreign policy in the first term and made it very ideologically driven and that somehow in the second term, the vice president’s influence is in decline and, therefore, somehow the real Bush has come forward, and we have a more pragmatic foreign policy."

"That’s just hooey — it’s just hooey," the ever-polite Hadley concluded, with the strongest language he would muster for print. (Bolten chuckled and suggested earthier epithets, such as "bunk.")

But at the same time, Bolten said that one of his goals when he took over as chief of staff in the spring of 2006 was to put Bush back at the center of decision-making. From both officials’ perspective, the administration got into trouble when aides tried to make big decisions without involving the president.

"He’s a good decision-maker," Bolten said. "If it’s important enough to be a presidential issue, we ought to expose the president to more information and more views, and we ought to let him decide."



  1. colocritic

    And we are just supposed to believe these two lackeys? It’s just another lie from the white house cabal that tries, but can’t succeed, in painting this president as anything but what we already know and believe. He may be the “decider” in his and their minds but too many authors that have access to the information concerning this administration have already informed us of the truth. Lies and lies, spin and spin all to no avail!

    He is still going to go down in history as one of the worst presidents we’ve had the misfortune to be stuck with. History will not be kind no matter how much spin they try to put on any information now.


  2. adb8917

    Doesn’t hurt to remember that while these lackeys are burnishing what’sisname’s image, they’re also working on theirs, too. Back in the day we’d have called them ‘unindicted co-conspirators.’

    This country probably needs its own own truth and reconciliation commission, just to audit the books and itemize their depredations. That we’ve allowed virtually every aspect of our government to be outsourced to politically favored vendors is a great shame.

    I’m for smoking out the criminals, sending them to jail, and making damned certain that the interests they represented are permanently debarred from doing further business with the US Government.


  3. Elmo

    I reckon it all depends on how you define “pulling the strings”. If they’re asserting that Bush didn’t just turn to Cheney and say “Gee Golly! I don’t know. What do you think Dick?” then I don’t have a problem. If they’re trying to get us to believe that Cheney didn’t get his way on matters like invading Iraq, they’re just not credible.

  4. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Wow! Cool new look to the ‘Blue’.

    Stevie Hadley and Bolto, quintessential, B-Krapmasters, at it again with more B-Krap…Big Dick Cheney must be worried, why else would these little Twinkie Logic minions be out on the circut spewing out their hydrogenated jizz. I would love to drop kick these two fools and take their eviscerated tail bones and hang them on my rear view mirror of my car.

    Sir Obama of Camelot will not try to bring Cheney to Justice or the Shrub. As much as I’m glad that Obama won over John McNuggets, it has to be remembered Obama voted to give retro-active immunity to the telecoms citing it as a ‘compromise’.

    I held my nose when I voted for Obama because of this so I will always give him a chance, but based of some of his previous actions and chronic Spineless actions of the D-Crappers I expect very little improvement.