Today several news sources, including the New York Times and ABC News broke the story regarding what they are calling "the Bush Tapes." Where did these tapes come from? Doug Wead, a so-called "friend" of the President, secretly taped conversations with him over the span of about two years.
Here are a few excerpts from those articles:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 - As George W. Bush was first moving onto the national political stage, he often turned for advice to an old friend who secretly taped some of their private conversations, creating a rare record of the future president as a politician and a personality.
In the last several weeks, that friend, Doug Wead, an author and former aide to Mr. Bush's father, disclosed the tapes' existence to a reporter and played about a dozen of them.
Variously earnest, confident or prickly in those conversations, Mr. Bush weighs the political risks and benefits of his religious faith, discusses campaign strategy and comments on rivals. John McCain "will wear thin," he predicted. John Ashcroft, he confided, would be a "very good Supreme Court pick" or a "fabulous" vice president. And in exchanges about his handling of questions from the news media about his past, Mr. Bush appears to have acknowledged trying marijuana.
Mr. Wead said he recorded the conversations because he viewed Mr. Bush as a historic figure, but he said he knew that the president might regard his actions as a betrayal. As the author of a new book about presidential childhoods, Mr. Wead could benefit from any publicity, but he said that was not a motive in disclosing the tapes.
The White House did not dispute the authenticity of the tapes or respond to their contents. Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, said, "The governor was having casual conversations with someone he believed was his friend." Asked about drug use, Mr. Duffy said, "That has been asked and answered so many times there is nothing more to add."