White House

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.

Obama to meet with lawmakers, former Presidents

President-elect Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders to discuss his economic stimulus plan and other legislative issues soon after his arrival in Washington in the coming days.

Obama and his family planned to fly to Washington on Sunday after their holiday vacation in Hawaii and a stopover in Chicago.

The president-elect was to meet with congressional leaders Monday, according to a senior Democratic congressional aide. Obama will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then join with them in a meeting with GOP leaders, said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to discuss the plans.

Bush sticks with support for Israel

By insisting that Hamas go first in any cease-fire with Israel, the Bush administration is sticking to its support for the Jewish state’s right of self-defense while stopping short of encouraging an Israeli ground assault aimed at fully reoccupying the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Bush to Abbas: Let’s talk about Gaza

President George W. Bush and his top advisers conducted an urgent round of telephone diplomacy Tuesday to help end the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas, but insisted that if any new cease-fire is to work, it must be honored by the Islamic militant group.

Obama to Senate: Just say ‘no’

President-elect Barack Obama says he supports the decision by Senate Democrats to deny his vacated Senate seat to an appointee of embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. On Tuesday, Blagojevich appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris. He would be the nation’s only black senator.

Democratic leaders in the Senate are rejecting the appointment, arguing that because of accusations that Blagojevich tried to sell the seat to the highest bidder, any appointment by him would be tainted.

Ex-aides: Bush never recovered from Katrina

Hurricane Katrina not only pulverized the Gulf Coast in 2005, it knocked the bully pulpit out from under President George W. Bush, according to two former advisers who spoke candidly about the political impact of the government’s poor handling of the natural disaster.

Bush backs Israel’s attacks in Gaza

The White House, calling Monday for a lasting cease-fire in the Mideast, backed Israel’s deadly air attacks on the Gaza Strip and said the Islamic militant group ruling there had shown its "true colors as a terrorist organization." After Hamas, which controls Gaza, fired mortars and rockets deep into Israeli territory, Israel retaliated Saturday with a fierce bombing campaign — the deadliest against Palestinians in decades. The airstrikes, which have killed more than 360 people and wounded some 1,400 others, have enraged the Arab world.

Obama treads lightly on Gaza

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team is choosing its words carefully in dealing with Israel’s assault on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The deaths of hundreds of Palestinians in Israel’s deadly air assault on the militant Islamic group will further complicate Obama’s challenge to achieve a Middle East peace — something that eluded both the Bush and Clinton administrations.

David Axelrod, senior adviser to Obama, said the president-elect would honor the "important bond" between the United States and Israel.

Laura & Condi: Dubya wasn’t a failure

The two most influential women in President George W. Bush’s White House — first lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — are strongly defending the president’s legacy against critics who are calling his administration one of the worst in history.

"I know it’s not, and so I don’t really feel like I need to respond to people that view it that way," Mrs. Bush said in an interview that aired Sunday. "I think history will judge and we’ll see later."

Rice took a similar view in a separate interview, saying that claims that the Bush administration has been one of the worst ever are "ridiculous."

"I think generations pretty soon are going to start to thank this president for what he’s done. This generation will," Rice said.

Bush reverses one of his pardons

The pardons President George W. Bush granted this week couldn’t have been better Christmas gifts if Santa himself had delivered them.

But a Brooklyn, N.Y., man, Isaac Robert Toussie, received the legal equivalent of a lump of coal.

Toussie, convicted of making false statements to the Housing and Urban Development Department and of mail fraud, was among 19 people pardoned Tuesday.