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Old 01-09-2004, 05:32 PM   #1
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Paul O'Neill & His Bushie Tell-All...

O'Neill Calls Bush a Disengaged President
AP
2 hours, 57 minutes ago

By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON - Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, pushed out of the administration for not being a team player, says President Bush was so disengaged during Cabinet meetings that he was like a "blind man in a roomful of deaf people."

O'Neill, who has kept silent about the circumstances surrounding his ouster from the Cabinet 13 months ago, is now ready to give his side of the story with a tell-all book that paints Bush as a disengaged president who didn't encourage debate either at Cabinet meetings or in one-on-one meetings with his Cabinet secretaries.

To promote the book which will be out Tuesday, O'Neill was appearing Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes" in an interview with correspondent Lesley Stahl.

In an excerpt released by CBS, O'Neill said that a lack of real dialogue characterized the Cabinet meetings he attended during the first two years of the administration and gave O'Neill the feeling that Bush "was like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people."

O'Neill said that the atmosphere was similar during the one-on-one meetings he held with Bush.

Speaking of his first meeting with the president, O'Neill said, "I went in with a long list of things to talk about and, I thought, to engage (Bush) on. ... I was surprised it turned out me talking and the president just listening. It was mostly a monologue."

O'Neill is described as the principal source for the new book, "The Price of Loyalty," being published by Simon and Schuster, and written by Ron Suskind, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

In addition to interviews with O'Neill, Suskind drew on 19,000 documents O'Neill provided, according to CBS, which said Suskind also interviewed dozens of Bush insiders to flesh out his account of the administration's first two years.

Asked about O'Neill's comment about a disengaged president, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Friday, "I think it's well known the way the president approaches governing and setting priorities. The president is someone that leads and acts decisively on our biggest priorities and that is exactly what he'll continue to do."

Asked about the administration's opinion of the upcoming book, McClellan said, "I don't do book reviews."

O'Neill, the former head of aluminum giant Alcoa, did not immediately respond to phone messages from The AP left at his office in Pittsburgh. But in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, O'Neill said he hoped his inflammatory comments did not overshadow the substantive issues he discusses in the book.

"If the 'red meat,' taken out of context, is all that people get out of this book, it will be a huge disappointment to me," he said. "Ideally, this book will cause people to stop and think about the current state of our political process and raise our expectations for what is possible."

O'Neill gained a reputation during his two years in the Bush Cabinet for frequently shooting from the lip with incendiary comments that shook up financial markets and antagonized Wall Street. O'Neill said he was just trying to discuss complicated public policy issues in greater depth than the television sound bites so often used by the typical Washington politicians.

O'Neill was fired in December 2002 when Bush shook up his economic team in search of better salesmen for a new round of tax cuts the president hoped would stimulate a sluggish economy.

O'Neill had publicly questioned the need for another round of tax cuts in light of the growing budget deficits. He was replaced by John Snow, former head of CSX Corp., who became a staunch advocate for new tax cuts, which Bush signed into law in May.

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So now we can see what Bush is really like in office.

Melon
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Old 01-09-2004, 06:07 PM   #2
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I bet you trust all "tell-all" books....
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Old 01-09-2004, 08:29 PM   #3
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I think that Paul O'Neill might be a bit more trustworthy....maybe.

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Old 01-10-2004, 10:01 AM   #4
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especially tell-all books about a guy who fired the author...
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Old 01-10-2004, 05:39 PM   #5
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bush fired o'neill cause he was too frank. he was honest. GWB is an SOB
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Old 01-11-2004, 12:11 AM   #6
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Old 01-11-2004, 03:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Suskind also described a White House meeting in which he said Bush seemed to waver about going forward with a second round of tax cuts.

"Haven't we already given money to rich people... Shouldn't we be giving money to the middle?" Suskind says Bush asked, according to what CBS called a "nearly verbatim" transcript of an economic team meeting Suskind said he obtained from someone at the meeting.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/...ush/index.html

I don't think that a purely negative book would humanize Bush in this light, though.

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Old 01-11-2004, 09:06 AM   #8
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O'Neill: Iraq Planning Came Before 9/11

If this is true, it's a bit disturbing.
If it's not true, it's still a bit disturbing.
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Old 01-11-2004, 09:25 AM   #9
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It is true....What I find disturbing is that people are making a big deal about it. Many books have detailed accounts that there were those in the administration that had wanted to deal with Iraq before 9/11. This has been documented before in other books. Other books have documented that President Bush was NOT in favor of such actions. 9/11 changed the lens through which foreign policy was viewed in that region.
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Old 01-11-2004, 11:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
It is true....What I find disturbing is that people are making a big deal about it. Many books have detailed accounts that there were those in the administration that had wanted to deal with Iraq before 9/11. This has been documented before in other books. Other books have documented that President Bush was NOT in favor of such actions. 9/11 changed the lens through which foreign policy was viewed in that region.
You are correct. In regards to the last two sentences, his administration, in terms of foreign policy, has been a tug-of-war between the hawkish "Project for the New American Century" (PNAC) (which includes Cheney and Rumsfeld, among several prominent presidential advisors, like Wolfowitz) and moderates like Colin Powell. The more diplomatic and peaceful approach, advocated by Powell, was in control until 9/11, when PNAC gained ideological control. PNAC has made it no secret at all that they have wanted to take out Saddam in Iraq; they made that clear in 1998.

I think that's why Bush's "sense of urgency" about the war always seemed like a facade; just looking for some legalistic excuse to take care of something they've had plans to do for years.

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Old 01-11-2004, 12:20 PM   #11
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Interesting I was reading this on a site I discovered earlier:

"From the very beginning, there was a conviction that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," O'Neill said in the "60 Minutes" interview scheduled to air Sunday. "For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap."

The former treasury secretary and other White House insiders gave Suskind documents that in the first three months of 2001 revealed the Bush administration was examining military options for removing Saddam Hussein, CBS said.

"There are memos," Suskind told CBS. "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq."'

Another Pentagon document entitled "Foreign suitors for Iraqi Oil Field Contracts" talks about contractors from 40 countries and which ones have interest in Iraq, Suskind said.

O'Neill was also quoted in the book as saying the president was determined to find a reason to go to war and he was surprised nobody on the National Security Council questioned why Iraq should be invaded.

"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it," said O'Neill. "The president saying 'Go find me a way to do this."'

We already know that Sandy Berger gave Condi Rice several briefings on the threat of Al Qaeda and the need to roll back terrorism in January 2001, which Rice virtually ignored. We also know from Rudman himself that the Rudman/Hart Commission report on the terrorism threat to our national security was given to the White House in February 2001 but was then given to Dick Cheney to “study” and ignored.

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Old 01-11-2004, 02:57 PM   #12
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Jeez,

Lets remember that when Bush entered office Saddam was in complete Violation of the 1991 Gulf War Ceacefire requiring him to Verifiably disarm of all WMD.

I would be very concerned if the President was NOT planning a military option to insure the disarmament of Saddam prior to 9/11.

But if you find Saddam's complete Violation of 17 UN resolutions and total failure to verifiably disarm nothing to be concerned about, even in light of what he had done in the past and his threats to global energy supply, then I case one would be troubled by any attempts to invade Iraq.

Cheney and Rumsfeld were not the ones that directed this, it was all Powell. There would have never been a second inspections regime or , another resolution authorizing the use of military force if Iraq failed to comply, if it was not for Powell.

Cheney and Rumsfeld had no plans for more inspections or more UN resolutions authorizing the use of military force.

Powell did and Powell was the one who made the case to the international community of why war was necessary.
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Old 01-11-2004, 07:46 PM   #13
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After watching 60 minutes and hearing that Bush refered to O'Neill's visit to Africa with Bono as having "quite a cult following" really pisses me off. Bush met with Bono also and say's he giving 15 Billion dollar's for Africa. Which he really has no intention of fullfilling, of course. The man talk's out of both sides of his mouth that makes him two faced and I am really afraid he's going to buy his way back in.
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Old 01-12-2004, 11:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by sue4u2
After watching 60 minutes and hearing that Bush refered to O'Neill's visit to Africa with Bono as having "quite a cult following" really pisses me off.
Is he just trying to get our votes? Or is he just using a word which perhaps he shouldn't have used, a la "crusade" right after 9/11? It's not good politics at any rate.
Perhaps we should ask?
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Old 01-12-2004, 12:20 PM   #15
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