White House

Bush’s billion bilking wars

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost at least $190 billion in 2008, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, making it the most expensive year in the conflicts since they were launched by President George W. Bush.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Congress to approve the funding after Bush this month beat back demands from Democrats for a quick end to the Iraq war and said the U.S. presence there would go on after he leaves office in 2009.

Bush’s selective amnesia

President Bush is banking on Americans’ short memories and the fact that most of them, having real lives, are not terribly engrossed in the congressional budget process.

That explains his brazenness in denouncing this Democratic-run Congress for failing to pass all or even most of the 12 funding bills for the government by the Sept. 30 deadline.

The Democrats complain that Bush, who couldn’t be prodded into vetoing anything when the Republicans were running Congress, is now threatening to veto 10 of these bills if they are passed.

Rice stalled probe of Blackwater

A leading Democratic lawmaker on Tuesday accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of interfering in congressional inquiries into corruption in Iraq’s government and the activities of U.S. security firm Blackwater.

Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman said State Department officials had told the Oversight and Government Reform Committee he chairs they could not provide details of corruption in Iraq’s government unless the information was treated as a “state secret” and not revealed to the public.

Cheney tried to provoke Iran-Israel war

US Vice President Richard Cheney has considered provoking an exchange of military strikes between Iran and Israel in order to give the United States a pretext to attack Iran, Newsweek magazine reported in its Monday issue.

But the weekly said the steady departure of neoconservatives from the administration over the past two years had helped tilt the balance away from war.

One official who pushed a particularly hawkish line on Iran was David Wurmser, who had served since 2003 as Cheney’s Middle East adviser, the report said.

Bush evades Blackwater issue

President Bush on Thursday refused to criticize a U.S. security company in Iraq accused in a shooting that left 11 civilians dead, saying investigators need to determine if the guards violated rules governing their operations.

Bush said he expected Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki would raise the shooting by agents of Blackwater USA when they meet next week at the U.N. General Assembly.

Bush claims he’s an ‘asset’ to GOP

President George W. Bush insisted on Thursday he will be a “strong asset” for Republicans battling for election in 2008, despite shaky opinion poll ratings born of a tumultuous presidency.

Bush, who has 16 months left in his second term, laid out a battle-plan for 2008 Republican candidates, based on a robust ‘war on terror’ policy, support for Iraq and low taxes.

“Strong asset,” Bush said emphatically, when asked at a White House news conference whether he would be an asset or liability for Republicans in presidential and congressional elections next year.

Bush’s new Attorney General

Sen. Charles Schumer, the liberal Democrat from New York, raised the hackles and suspicions of Republican conservatives when he spoke warmly of Michael Mukasey, President Bush’s choice to be U.S. attorney general, and said the former judge had the potential to be “a consensus nominee.”

Piling on

If you are president of the United States, there must be many days when you wish you had stayed in bed. That has to be occurring more frequently for George W. Bush as his tenure in office draws slowly — perhaps all too so for him — to an end.

Bush taps Mukasey for AG

Former federal judge Michael Mukasey, a tough-on-terrorism jurist with an independent streak, was tapped by President Bush on Monday to take over as attorney general and lead a Justice Department accused of being too close to White House politics.

Bush set to nominate Musakey for AG

President George W. Bush has settled on retired federal judge Michael Mukasey as his choice to replace outgoing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, people familiar with the selection process said on Sunday.

The nomination of Mukasey, considered a law-and-order conservative and authority on national security issues, was expected on Monday, according to the sources, who asked not to be named.