White House

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.

Bush leaving nation drowning in red ink

President George W. Bush’s administration acknowledged Monday that it would leave behind a massive budget deficit but could not say whether it would exceed one trillion dollars.

"The size of the budget deficit, whatever the number is, I can’t predict whether it’s going to be a trillion or something less than that," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto.

Fratto said it would be a "very significant number."

Bush defends auto industry bailout

President George W. Bush on Saturday said offering government loans to U.S. automakers was the only option left to prevent the industry from collapsing after alternatives were ruled out or failed.

Bush on Friday announced the government would provide $17.4 billion in emergency loans to financially strapped General Motors and Chrysler LLC to prevent them from failing. Ford decided it did not immediately need similar loans.

Bush approves auto industry bailout loans

Citing danger to the national economy, President Bush approved an emergency bailout of the U.S. auto industry Friday, offering $17.4 billion in rescue loans in exchange for tough concessions from the deeply troubled carmakers and their workers.

The government will have the option of becoming a stockholder in the companies, much as it has with major banks, in effect partially nationalizing the industry.

Gates orders plans to close Gitmo prison

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered aides to draw up plans for closing the "war on terror" prison at Guantanamo, a declared priority for President-elect Barack Obama, a spokesman said Thursday.

Gates wanted to be ready in case Obama decides to take action on Guantanamo soon after assuming office next month, said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.

Bush will brief Obama on ‘contingencies’

President George W. Bush’s administration will brief president-elect Barack Obama and his team on several contingency plans in case an international crisis breaks after his inauguration, The New York Times reported on its website late Tuesday.

The plans were recommended by the commission that investigated the September 11, 2001 attacks, the daily said.