White House

Two more desert Bush’s sinking ship

President Bush is losing two more key aides as his presidency winds toward its end, with his chief speechwriter and lobbyist both announcing Friday that they are leaving.

Speechwriter William McGurn will be succeeded by his deputy, Marc Thiessen, a one-time speechwriter for former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Legislative affairs director Candida Wolff will be succeeded by Dan Meyer, who joined the White House lobbying team last March. He has extensive experience as a staff member in the House and Senate.

Makasey to Congress: ‘No dice!’

Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused Friday to give Congress details of the government’s investigation into interrogations of terror suspects that were videotaped and destroyed by the CIA. He said doing so could raise questions about whether the inquiry is vulnerable to political pressure.

In letters to leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees that oversee the Justice Department, Mukasey also said there is no need right now to appoint a special prosecutor to lead the investigation. The preliminary inquiry currently is being handled by the Justice Department and the CIA’s inspector general.

Bush threatens to veto torture ban

The House approved an intelligence bill Thursday that would prohibit the CIA from using waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh interrogation methods.

The 222-199 vote sent the measure to the Senate, which still must act before it can go to President Bush. The White House has threatened a veto.

Another children’s health care veto

President Bush vetoed legislation Wednesday that would have expanded government-provided health insurance for children, his second slap-down of a bipartisan effort in Congress to dramatically increase funding for the popular program.

It was Bush’s seventh veto in seven years — all but one coming since Democrats took control of Congress in January. Wednesday was the deadline for Bush to act or let the bill become law. The president also vetoed an earlier, similar bill expanding the health insurance program.

Bush vetoed the bill in private.

Military families oppose Bush’s war

Military families, long a source of support for wartime Presidents, have had it with George W. Bush’s illegal and immoral war in Iraq and want their husbands, wives, sons and daughters brought home before any more die in vain.

A new poll by The Los Angeles Times shows nearly sixty percent of military families don’t support Bush’s war, believe invading Iraq was a mistake, and want the conflict ended now.

Opposition to the war among families of military personnel is only slightly less than the overwhelming public anger towards Bush’s war, the poll found.

Our incredible President

President Bush has now firmly established his credentials as an incredible world leader.

But this is no occasion for celebration. Because in an age of Islamic terrorism and nuclear uncertainty, when the world needs to trust the words of the leader of the planet’s only superpower, President Bush has demonstrated that his words are indeed incredible. As in: not credible. Or as Merriam-Webster Online defines it: “implausible, inconceivable, unbelievable, unconvincing” and “too … improbable to be believed.”

Big PR battle over a war

President Bush and congressional Democrats are locked in a struggle over Iraq spending, with neither side budging and each calculating that their argument will be the one to resonate with voters.

For both sides, this rhetorical tug-of-war has become a question of leadership on national security issues and who is more committed to the troops.

“It’s unconscionable to deny funds to our troops in harm’s way because some in Congress want to force a self-defeating policy, especially when we’re seeing the benefits of success,” Bush said in a Rose Garden speech on Monday.

Bush and the ‘bully pulpit’

If nothing else comes of it, the Annapolis initiative for Middle East peace has dramatically demonstrated that even a politically wounded president of the United States still has huge influence in world affairs.

5,000 troops coming home

Around 5,000 American troops will head home later this month as part of a withdrawal plan announced by President George W. Bush, US military spokesman Rear Admiral Gregory Smith said Saturday.

“Current conditions allow for a withdrawal of the first unit, the Grey Wolf Brigade, starting on November 27th,” Smith told reporters at a press conference in Baghdad.

The brigade will not be replaced, he said, adding the drawdown is an indication of “overall improved security within Iraq as well as the improved capabilities of the Iraqi security forces.”

Royalties trump loyalties

White House press secretaries, who speak for the president and appear before the nation on his behalf, have traditionally kept their secrets while their bosses are in office.

That unwritten rule has faded in the face of big advances for political tell-all books.