conservative in the fight." he spoke about it in austin. >> thank you, brian. [applause] [applause] >> first he said i didn't need an introduction. then he gave me a hell of an introduction. thanks for those very kind words. i want to first of all thank the methodist church. methodism has a way of being broad minded. i appreciate it. i think it's the beginning of the book festival. when the book festival started 15 years ago, i remember it well. laura bush was very nervous about kicking off the new enterprise. we had endured months of planning and discussion and careful foundation and building.
she was a little nervous about how it would come up. and i remember the party at the governors mansion the night before with kinky friedman who went around handing everybody a tar pick with an invitation to call him if he wanted to know more about guitar. only he could get away with a lousy pick-up line like that. i only enjoyed the first five years of the book festival. [inaudible comment] >> i can't do a darn thing with the volume. maybe i have to like this. >> but i remember wandering up and down the streets. it took me two months. i never grew up thinking i'd go
to work at the white house, and i certainly never thought i'd grow up to write a book about the person. when i worked, and the time came for me to leave, at this point three people know i'm leaveing with him, me, and my wife. he said i hope you write a book. i was a little taken back. we were having a very fancy white house lunch. and i was having the peanut butter and honey and whole wheat toast. he has to pay for his meals. i have to pay for mine. you be very careful about what you order. he said i wanted to write a book. he said be truth, admit what we did wrong, and be frank. i tried to do that. i've never written a book. this is my first. maybe the last. it was a great experience. the more you write and the more
you own it, the more you get drawn from the big arc of the story down to chapters and episodes and pages and paragraphs and phrases. so at the end of the process, you have really honed this thing done, you've lost the arc. the big arc. the week before i was supposed to announce -- to launch the book, the last week of february of this year, i got a messenger at my door. it wasn't a fedex package. it was a messenger. i had to sign for it. inside is the first copy of the book that i'd ever seen with a note from my publisher, simon and schuster. before you go on "the today show" reread your book. i did that. read it all afternoon, read it through the evening.
finished it wednesday afternoon. i put it down. my first thought when i finished it was it's a darn good read. [laughter] >> my second thought was thank god for editors. anyway. i hope you enjoy it. i picked a couple of phrases, sections out of it here to read. i'm going to read about half an hour or less and answers questions until we get out of here. because it's texas, i thought i would read a section that probably doesn't mean much to anybody outside of texas. for those of us in austin, and those of us who are texas political aficionados, i enjoy when i wrote about bob bullock. that seems -- i like what i wrote. good, nobody else did. they didn't see bullock as we saw him. i write about this after bush has gotten elected. we go to a governor's conference when he immediately bonds with a lot of his fellow governors who
have gotten elected in 1994. people who will figure large in his future political life. but i say there's a relationship that's not as important as relationship with two very unpredictable texas political figures, namely bob bullock and pete laney. he would have to make allies out of bullock and laney before he could have success. a fixture since being elected in 1957 at 27, bullock knew more about texas governor than legislators, bureaucrats, and newspaper editors come -- combined. bullock had been in the middle of every big controversy in texas politics and a hell of a lot of small ones for almost 40 years by the time bush was elected. she's a man of big passion, big grudges, and big ambition. at times it seems what he loved
most was to hate and scrap. his political enemies had scars, missing appendages, or near death experiences to show for his run ins. his adversaries included the press. following hemorrhoid surgery, he sent a hated reporter who he claimed was the tissue. it was really canned oysters. he lost part of his right lung to cancer at 43, he had triple bypass at 65, and too many broken bones to enumerate. he was diagnosed as a manic-depressive, and a drunk in his later years. he wrote up going 60 miles per hour north out of austin after trying to sleep off a bender in the wrong car. he sobered up at 52. he was married five times to four women. once he demanded that a maid leave to pick up a jar of sage and drive the spice over to
bullock's house. he was juggling two thanksgiving dinners, one with his third and current, and one with his second. he finally settled down with the love of his life, jan. i saw a senior aide break into a cold sweat when their beepers went off. he had a fascination with weapons, rifles, shut -- shotguns, and pistols, which were lying around when his enemies were around. he said drunks carried guns because they always thought someone was after him. he didn't like republican, especialfully texas. his sympathies were popular, rural, and slightly less than center. more importantly, he understood power, how to get it, use it,
and deny it. he demanded aides give him reports on who was sleeping with whom around the capitol. information like that could come in handy sometime. as bush said at bullock's funeral, everybody has a favorite bob bullock story. the problem is you can't tell most of them in public. yet people spoke with pride of having worked for him. and boasted the once employed by bullock, you always work for the rest of your days. no matter how many times you fired you and no matter where you got your paycheck. he inspired that kind of standard. he had one standard. good for texas. as long as that person could help him achieve that goal. but for all of bullock's brashness, he was both intrigued and intimidated by big whigs. bush the son of the governor fit
that category. he made a point to meet with him. both men were a little uptight. bush thought he was meeting with a crazy man, and bullock assumed bush was another one of those country club republicans he detested. bullock appreciated bush's authenticity, and he realized bush shared more values than he thought. after the bullock asked to help raise, and hang back. the lieutenant governor said he was impressed. bush knew his stuff. tell him to call me back, bullock instructed. out of the blue, he grew whiskful. he said he seems like the kind
of guy if something happened to you, you'd be comfortable him raising your children. then talking about how they come together. bullock tested bush early on when he game governor. bush was a new man on the block. bullock wanted to take his measure. he tested him a lot. they had a weekend and a weekly breakfast where bullock, laney, and bush would meet in the speakers quarters or the governors mansion. after the first visit to the governors mansion, they insisted they not do it there. the food was too healthy. during the weekly breakfast, bullock announced he was blocking an initiative. he said govern on then, i'm just going to have to f you. with that bush got up, walked over to bullock, hugged him, and made like he was going to kiss him full on the lips. bush said if you are going to f me, you got to at least kiss me first.
[laughter] >> it is the only occasion -- and i've known bush since he was 26 and i was 22. it's the only occasion that i'm aware of bush used the f word. taken back, he lost composure and fled the room. lady roared with laughter. it was one the last times he felt he needed to take it to the governor. all right. the chapter on the supreme court decision is one of the best chapters. a legal expose. and bold as all get out. but it ends as you may recall, on a night when the supreme court announced it's decision at 10 a.m. the day -- couple of days before donny evans said in the supreme court as the judges heard the case of bush be gore.
i was staying in virginia. i was in my pajamas and trying to read when most of the america arrived. the television news said the supreme court was about to announce the decision of bush versus gore. in the moment, time suspended itself. i had to tv turned on to nbc. where legal affairs experts pete williams and dan abrams were delivers confuseed reports on the decision. seven members of the united states supreme court chief justice rehnquist and kennedy, o'connor, scalia, soother and briar. these seven justices also
objected to the florida court decision to add hundreds of votes to the tally. it was held unconstitutional by seven of the supreme court's nine justices. only stephens and ginsburg descended. it also said it was finished by giving gentle guidance. the election must end. florida's law must be obeyed. george w. bush was going to be the 34 president of the united states. i dialed governor bush at the mansion in austin. he answered in his pajamas and he was in bed reading as i had been. i told him congratulations mr. president. his television was off. he hadn't yet heard the news. he turned on his television. which was set to cnn. to hear correspondence reading the decision starting with the defense on the back page, not the majority opinion.
he had no idea who was going on. the president elect was listening to both cnn and me. i continued to insist it was good news. he wasn't convinced even after he switched to nbc. after several minutes he said i'm calling baker and hung up. it wasn't the moment that i'd envisioned for election day with bush in front of the capitol with tens of thousands of cheering supporters. inside i was staring in my pa pa pajamas, having been hung up by the man that was president. it had ended in victory. the emotion and excitement rushed through me. i was overwhelmed with relief. i was going it take this in for a moment, or without the participation of the new
president elect. then i was going to call my wife and son. bush's presidency started out to be domestic. on the bright september morning that changed. i'm the guy that walked over to him and said mr. president, the plane has flown into the world trade center. we don't know jet, prop, private, or commercial. i was with him on 9/11. i spent most of the day in the cabin on air force one with him. i road to the airport in limousine. and i write about it extensively. rather than read all of that, i want to talk about the return to washington. right from the beginning, the president said i was to go to washington. secret service and the defense department said mr. president, we can't guarantee the airspace. finally, he said, i'm coming back. do the best you can. i'm going to speak from the nation in my oval office and sleep in my bed tonight. it was a jocular way of ending
it. i had heard the phrase before, but i didn't know what it was. we didn't have clear information. even at 3:00, he thought there was seven had had been hijacked. planes had been scrambled to shoot down the first one, which was approaching philadelphia. there was a plane on the runway in yellow knife in the yukon territory. this is at 3:00 in the afternoon. so there's a lot of confusion. this is late in the day. this is about 5 -- just after 5:00, 5:30. even in the day's fog, there were moments of intense clarity. as we passed from fighter protection from air bases in the midwest into the airspace around washington, f16 fighters took the position on the wing tips of air force one. they were so close, you could almost make out the pilot's faces. i broke out my camera and took some photos. then it dawned on me.
this was no ceremonial escort. no stage for the memorable picture. there had been fighters almost all day. most of the time out of sight. but as we neared washington, these f16s had been placed there for one purpose. to act as the last defense for air force one. if somebody or someone got through the other air defenses, it was their job to put themselves between that threat and the president. the realization was sobering. we touched down at andrews air force base at 6:30 and boarded marine one, the presidents helicopter for the white house. before september 11th, marine one would raise off to presidential height from which you can see much of d.c. it would then move to the washington monument, make a slight jog to the right and land on the south lawn of the white house. not this evening. marine one's pilots kept zigging
and zagging moving over the country side. dipping into valleys and climbing over the crest of hills before the potomac river. as we turned north, we can see smoke coming from the pentagon. the air shift was quiet. no one talked until the president broke the silence by pointing out the window and saying quietly, your looking at the face of the war in the 21st century. we landed on the south lawn at 6:55 p.m. you may remember the moments that followed 9/11. visit -- the emotional visit on the telephone with giuliani. and the visit to new york on friday. the iconic moment of the bush presidency which was an accident. i tell the story of the accident in the book. when the president flies in marine one, there are two or
three other identical helicopters that fly with them. they engage in an aerial ballet, slowing down or speeding up according to an elaborate chorography. the aim is to make it impossible to know which is the real marine one. it's a shell game operated by the street corner or corny, you lose track. i was in night hawk two. our flight path took us in and out from ground zero. we were nearly 40 miles south of the city when the odor of destruction first filled. though the trade center had come down three days earlier, the stench lingered. it went into new jersey behind it. staten island was on our left, and we circled around the north side before landing at the wall
street heliport at 3:50. little was said during the tour. the television footage had been sharp and clear. but it did not do justice to the enormity of the disaster. the destruction was mind boggling. how had anyone survived? at the landing zone, we piled in the suvs and went to view ground zero where it had collapsed. the remnants of tuesday's violence were hard to comprehend. i kept thinking the piles of debris and rubble and dust must have been what the aftermath looked like, only without radioactivity. a huge sheet which had fallen from the 77th floor jutted from the earth. it looked like zeus had smashed his trident, trying to split manhattan open. we talked down the cake and the
collapse. we drove along the street which was clogged with rescue workers and turned right. the president's suv came to a stop out of murray street. we tumbled out into the motion of noise. the president's arrival set the crowd off. standing on piles of debris, the huge iron workers, steel workers, and rescue workers were screaming usa, usa. the president made his way around a horseshoe of channing workers to shake hands and thank them. some congressman wanted to be in every photograph. representative nadler was particular, making the mistake of trying to push the secret service agent aside. the expert -- the agent peery his efforts to attach himself to the president's rib cage. he was seen the rescue workers up close. they were not shy.
these men were working on adrenaline and passion. after three days, increasingly less frequent good news about survivorring, they were nearly spent. it's right, it was energizing for many of the people we met. it was deep and almost overwhelming anger and even hatred. i watched it from a short distance off. 20 religious leaders led by cardinal egan. they too had joined. most more weeping. i could not glance for more than an instance, i felt i succumb if i look too closely or long. there was a tug on my sleeve. there was nina, a white house women working the event. she pointed to the channing workers and said they wanted to hear from the president. no one had prepared remarks. she was right. nina later said she approached me because she made a similar
appeal to the advance team but was turned down. she thought i'd at least, quote, consider the idea, unquote. i asked her if there was a microphone available. she shook her head no. bull horn. she went off to grab one from some of the workers. i looked from a place the president could speak from. the suv and the motor cages had wide running boards. if you stood on one, he would not be seen by all of the rubble around us. right next to me was a giant wrecked fire truck. it's crumbled door read 76 engine. it's tired had blown out and it's body was crushing. three men were standing on top of it. the entire crowd could see the president if he jumped up and joined them. i looked up at the workers, as i did, one jumped off of the truck. i got the attention of the remaining two and asked them if
it was safe. the younger two replied it was, the older while from new york fire company 154 nodded in agreement. i was unconvinced. i asked them to look jump up and down. they looked at me and i repeated my request. they hesitantly jumped up and down. the truck look steady. i told the two men, stay there, somebody might need for help. i reached for a piece of paving block that jiggled. a policeman grabbed my wrist and stop me. there might be a body part underneath. i felt sick. i found andy carte had shared nina's suggestion. i pointed to the battered fire truck. he made a beeline to the president. he met me at the fire truck with
a bull horn. nina gave it to logan walters, the presidents aide. as i turned away, -- as she turned away i handed it up to the thin older rescue worker who was now the last man standing on the truck. his come -- companion had disappeared off of the truck and out of history. the retired 69-year-old firefighter named bob beckwitt. he looked down below him, saw the hand, grasped and pulled. in an instance, bush was sharing the top of the truck who suddenly realized he'd help up the president of the united states. he tried to crawl down. the president asked where are you going? he said he was getting down. bush said, no, you stay right here. the cheering from channing subsided. the president started to speak into the bull horn. with the national prayer service
that morning still fresh in his mind, he began by saying i want you all to know that america is on bended knee for the lives that were lost, for the workers, and for the families that mourn. this stands with new york city, new jersey, and connecticut. someone yelled go get them, george. someone else yelled, george, we can't hear you. others echoed. bush paused and responded in a voice fully magnified. i can hear you. the crowd went nuts. he knew what to do from there. the rest of the world hears you, he said. the people who knocks down these buildings will hear all of us soon. the crowd bumped into defy the better chance of the usa, usa. bush handed the bull horn off. he climbed down. in an iconic moment, he was very much alone with enormous responsibility.
the nation wanted reassurance. it wanted to know it had a leader who understand the mission america faced. no speech writers were involved. it was a moment that connected with the public. without assistance and in an instance, george w. bush gave voice to america's desires. i talk about us going home from there. that night i sat in my darkened study at home. i realized there was no noise from passengerrer -- passenger planes in our out of the house. all i could hear was the distance growl of the combat air patrol that now prowled high over the capitol. in coming months, it was to become a reminder of our changed lives. back in new york, an exhausted retired firefighter drove home
from ground zero to his long island home. bob beckwitt had the flag he had carried on the truck. bob didn't know if his wife barbara would believe he met the president of the united states. earlier, megan had called to say grandpa is on television. when barbara came in to see, there was bob on top of the crushed truck standing next to president bush who had one hand on bob's shoulder and the other holding a bull horn. as bob pulled up, in front of his modest new york home that night, neighbors streamed out of their homes. many buried lighted candles in rememory answer. as bob got out of the car, they asked, beck, did you know you
were on tv? bob nodded and went into his home. it was friday night, the next day, george w. bush was to convene his first war council. i've read long enough. i'd be happy to answer questions. if you read the book, i hope you enjoy it. [applause] [applause] >> if you don't read the book -- [applause] [applause] >> and if you don't read the book, it's available on audiotape. yeah? [inaudible comment] >> if y >> if you don't %[inaudible com] >> if you don't mind coming up to the microphone. we'll let you know when we're coming to the end of the time. karl will be other at the book signing tent starting at 2:15.
if you are interested in having your book signed, please make your way over there. please. thank you. >> thank you, karl, for joining us this afternoon. appreciate you being here and being a part of the festival. looking at politics at the 50,000 foot level, taking democrats, republican, libertarians, green party, take all of that stuff out of this for a second. when i look at politics, and i look at something like football, i see a lot of similarities. yourself being a consultant for the republican party and republican candidates, almost like the offensive line coach for, you know, pick your favorite football team. i've heard some psychologist and analysts look consultants. there's a certain phrase of winning. whether it's football, sports, or politics. looking at that myself, i see there's a lot of similarities between sports and politics. do you agree that there's an addiction to winning in your
process, it drives you to be more success than most others? again, whether it's democratic, republican, independent, same thing. is that something that you have within you that has driven your success? has it been a good thing for you? if so. >> i ended up writing in my book a little bit about my early life. i didn't anticipate writing chapters one, two, or three in my book. i had written the book, largely, my editor called me. i had an editor named priscilla. she's wonderful. she was the managing news editor for "time." she's good. she called me up in january last year and said you can't show up in 1993 helping bush run for president. -- or run for governor. you need to, you know, tell people where you game from and how you came to be involved in politics. i'm not good at this.
this was not good news for me. i've read the four biographies. here are the ugly things that people have said about you and your family. this is the one chance to set the record straight. say something for your parents and to do so in a way that will help people understand a little bit more about who you are. and so i write about it. look, i cannot remember a time when i wasn't interested in history or government. i can remember a time when i wasn't really focused on winning. but i can sort of remember when i stopped -- when i started worrying about winning and didn't like losing. realized i didn't like losing. i write about it in my book. let's see here, wherefore it is. >> this is just getting in the head of karl rove. trying to drive. >> i'm going to let you get in there. despite the fact that i start -- my book starts with this line. have you heard the joke about the norwegian farmer who loved his wife so much he almost told
her? i'm norwegian. let's see here. hold on a second here. well, i can't find it in here. let me tell you what it was. my first campaign it was for nixon. i scored a nixon bumper sticker in 1960. i don't know where or how. i don't know how i ended up being a nixon supporter. the west is more congenial to conservatism. washington is really remote in who you are. it's not measured by your pedigree, but it's measured by who you were as an individual. and personal responsibility and merit and your word matters. so i was for nixon. i don't know why. i got a bumper sticker. i did the most important thing that i could do to help elect richard nixon. i slapped that bumper sticker on my wire basket and rode up and down the street.
the more i rode up and down, they would see his name and be impressed. until the little catholic girl at three years and was for kennedy, pulled me off of my bicycle, and wailed the heck out of me. gave me a bloody nose. i realized i hate losing almost as much as i love winning. anymore. there it is. >> thank you. [laughter] >> thank you for sharing your experience with the book with 9/11. you know, it happened when i was younger. it was a big moment for everybody. my question is, i've heard you -- i've heard people call you a war criminal and say that, you know, the administration has committed crimes against humanity for the war. and i just wonder that's a beating to take. it's a community, it's a country, it's a person.
is there anything, you know, reflecting back. had you known that we were going to be in war for nine years? or is there anything that you would have done differently? you know, the war? >> yeah, i believe that what we did on the big things was right knows what we knew at the time. if we had known he did not have an active wmd, there would not have been a consensus for war. that's not what we thought we knew. yeah, we made mistakes. war is ugly. war is unpredictable. i'm the guy who for a better part of six years, had to as a member of the president and senior staff go to hundreds of meetings with family who lost a loved one in afghanistan or iraq. i write about that in my book. it was the toughest part of the job. toughest part from the president of united states by his order with a resolution of congress and a resolution of the united states. on his order. people went into arms way and died. that's got to be the most
terrible burden any commander and chief has to shoulder. i believe we did the right things. did we make mistakes? yeah. in july, -- on july 15th, 2003, ted kennedy gave a speech in which he said bush lied about the presence of wmd in iraq. later that day, tom daschle says bush lied about wmd. then john kerry and john edwards the next day repeated the charge. one in committee hearing, and one of them in the speech, kerry. at the end of the day, it was repeated by the intelligence committee. every one had said bush had lied about the presence. however, every one of the five people looked at the same body of intelligence, and every one the five, kennedy, daschle, kerry, edwards, and harmon had
themselves said that saddam had wmd. even kennedy, who was one the five that voted against the war. we must use diplomacy, not force. there were others who joined in. there was a letter that we received in december of 2003, signed by -- excuse me, 2004, signed by senator bob graham, chairman of the senate intelligence committee. a bipartisan letter that said saddam has wmd. why are you taking so long? a year later, bob graham was calling for bush's impeachment. now when this attach, and it was an attach. you don't have five big dogs in the democratic party make that kind of an attack in two days time without there being pull thought, some smart guy came up with let's corrode people's confidence in bush in order to defeat him in the polls in 2004.
yet every one of them knew it was a lie. inside the white house, we had discussions about what to do about it. don't get down and wrestle with the pig. you'll get muddy. let's move forward. let's look forward. people said, you know, let's -- you know, we're tire of the that issue. let people come to their own conclusions. my mistake was this, i had a relationship with the president of the united states where i could have walked into the oval office and said with all due respect, it is wrong. this is a dagger aimed at the heart of your presidency. unless you confront it, unless we confront it from the top of the administration to the bottom, it will eat away at the people's confidence, and you may get defeated, which he wasn't, or people's confidence in you as a leader is going to be eroded. when this thing started out, over half of the americans believed it three years later. it was a mistake. do i look back now and say i
wish we'd known other things? look, intelligence get it is wrong both ways, i would remind you. they got it wrong about saddam. he didn't have active weapons. he was siphoning tens of millions out of the oil for food to keep the engineers and scientists and technicians to reinstitute his chemical and biological programs literally within a matter of days. and to restart his nuclear program when he lost interest. he told his fbi, the west will lose interest. i was waiting for that time. we found half of -- you know, 500,000 tons of uranium yellow cake. you don't have that unless you have to create a weapon. we found literally tens of thousands of artillery shells and missile systems with chemical material. i think -- we're there. third idea is approaching baghdad. we got the third id in mop suits. those are biological,
anti-chemical weapons suits in a hot desert approaching baghdad. we're picking up open traffic, when do we get permissions to employ the weapons? there was so dysfunctional. nobody was willing to walk in and say, you know what, these things are about ready to go unusable. somebody was afraid of losing their head. he somehow knew he didn't have them and thought he had them. it was the dysfunctional regime. his mindset was clear. we know have two reporters. k and d that say that saddam's interest was going to rebuild the programs as soon as the west lost as soon as the united nations failed to say you have to live up to the terms of the surrender agreement. he was ready to reconstitute programs. we got it wrong. they also got it belong -- got
it wrong in libia. these people are serious. they have taken out the tab ban in a country with 25 million. they looked like they were going to do something about iraq. i got three or four million people in libia. they can roll over us tomorrow. i better cut the deal that i can. he had the weird relationships that allowed him to sort of beginning negotiation to give them of. when he coughed up, we found the following. they underestimated the danger of his programs. they were fully weaponnized and usable. we didn't know that. his nuclear program was far closer to the creation than anybody in the west thought. intelligence gets it's wrong in both sides of the equation. which is a real problem for policymakers in the united states today. we cannot go around blindly in the world with intelligence that gets it wrong both ways. >> weren't we trying to get osama bin laden? how did it shift to saddam
hussein? >> we could not let the threat in the middle east. he had defeated in the first war, and was supposed to live up to the terms of the agreement, he was open supporter of terrorists, funded hezbollah and hamas. he was an active opponent of our interest, and represented a threat that we could not longer tolerate. didn't mean we gave up looking for osama bin laden. that's one the great myths. look at the memory memory memor, where does al qaeda go? elsewhere. this is one the problems that you face when you face a -- not a nation state which you have a capitol protecting a territory. it's when you face terrorism, they are capable of going elsewhere. they went back to pakistan and yemen in the horn of africa.
it'd be nice and easy to invade pakistan. there's been a general sense of the region of the war that we are in. who wants to engage in the invasion of an ally. we got to use all of the tools available to let us degrade. not just get osama bin laden, but to degrade the affiliates who's going to be a struggle similar to the cold war. from 1945 until 1989 or 1991. you pick the end date. the west had to confront an enemy. we face a similar long term threat from a different kind of enemy when we face al qaeda and transnational extremism. [inaudible question] >> one last question. for those of you in line, karl will be in the book signing booth. there will be another session in here as well.
thank you. >> good afternoon. i'm david. we both share interest in history and government. my question is looking back, politics. the whig part was destroyed by slavery before the civil war. the republicans replaced them. might now both parties has been complicit in government spending and spending and spending. what are the chances of one or both of the parties being replaced by something like the tea party or some other organization? >> slim to none. because the parties -- major parties declines and disappears if no political party responses to the challenge. i believe the republicans will respond. the people's concerns about spending and taxes and so forth. let me get one point out here, i don't deny that some republicans, particularly when it comes to the issue of earmarks are complicit in bad behavioral. in fact, it was conservatives, ironically enough, who told other conservatives the way you
get elected is by getting an earmark. it was one the worst things we had to defend in the white house. it was not with a democrat, it was with a democrat. we were pushing back. not only the earmarks written into legislation. to me a more pernicious practice is the so-called report language. at least if there's an earmark and a piece of legislation, members had congress had voted for it. most earmarks aren't contained in the piece. after the bill is written, they would say report. it's published. it listed out the series of earmarks that they want the agencies to spend. nobody has voted for it. nobody's name is attached. nobody can bare responsibility. it's a nameless staff report. yet, if you are in the agency, you watch that language carefully. you make sure you keep on the good side by executing those. we went against them all the time.
i'm having a meeting with the republican member of the house in the white house mess of all places. which is a very small place. and we're talking about earmarks. we'd been pressing back on some earmarks he was for. he was angry. by the end of our discussion in the white house mess, surrounded by people, every single chair taken on a nice, you know, morning where everybody is enjoying the white house mess, this member of congress is screaming at me about white house interference with congressional earmarks. now, i'm not saying -- [laughter] >> but i do want to get this. one of my favorite pages is page 414. people get wrong what bush's record is on spending. i want to read you in closing one paragraph. it will not have the rhythm as some of the paragraphs, but it's packed with punch. if you've seen my white board on fox, you know i love numbers. actually two. then there was the continuing struggle over spending.
bush's victories including never have to veto one in the first six because congress stayed within the boundaries he said. because he never vetoed the budget, he was criticized a big spender. that criticism is wrong. nonsecurity discretionary spending by 16%. remember, this is clinton, a democrat with a republican house and senate, they pass the budget that increases spending, discretionary, nonsecurity, discretionary spending 16% in one year. bush cut that to 6.2% in the first budget, 5.5 in his second, 4.3 in his third, 2.2 in his fourth, and below inflation on average for a second term as republicans generally backed it bush's domestic request. only a handful of democrats backed the 2001 bush budget, and one -- one democrat did in 2003, otherwise, democrats refused to support the budget. just as a matter of -- just as
an example, the last discretionary, the next to last discretionary domestic spending of bush is $391. his final one, fy '09, you do the math, $2 billion on a $391 billion base. you do the math. the size of government relative to inflation is not growing. we are declining. we're under inflation. so in real terms, the dollar amount is declining and because the country is growing, per capita continues to climb. but all of that good work, and it was hard work to do. as i say, we had one democrat in 2003 vote for the budget. we had a handful in 2001. otherwise not a single democrat would vote for the bush budget. all of our hard work to reduce the domestic nonsecurity spending was washed away by congressional republicans. they insisted on earmarks that
>> good afternoon. good afternoon. we're going to begin our panel with ingrid betancourt. even silence has an end, is the title of her book, my six years of captivity in the colombian junk l. .. and it's really a delight to have the opportunity to have a conversation with you about it. i wonder if you could start with telling us about that fateful
day in february, 22nd, 2002. >> okay. thank you. i would like first to thank you all for being with us this evening. and, well, it was a saturday eight years ago. and i was in a presidential campaign. i had to go to a village which was the place where the peace talks with the farc and the government have been held. this trip was planned many weeks before, but two days before that trip, the peace talks abruptly ended. there was a crisis. and the peace talks just came to an end. and well, i had to, you know, figure out if i was going to go. and the mayor who was a person
from my party called me and asked me not to cancel the trip. because for them it was important. they were very concerned that -- with the end of the peace talks the population could be threatened by terrorists that could take revenge on them. well, he insisted and i decided to go with the condition that the security scheme would be confirmed. so that a morning this was confirmed, i had an armored car where we were going to land and then from that point on and we had to take the road. that same day the president of colombia at the time decided to go at the same time to the same place.