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The Bush Tapes

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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:

NY Times:
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.”

ABC News:
Feb. 20, 2005 — The friend of the Bush family who secretly recorded nine hours of conversations with George W. Bush says he never intended for the tapes to become public but felt he had a duty to accurately represent a man who he believed would one day become president.

Doug Wead, the author of the new book “The Raising of a President,” surreptitiously recorded his conversations with Bush beginning in 1998, when Bush was governor of Texas and considering a run for president.

The candid conversations suggested Bush’s strategies to deal with questions about whether he used drugs, to reconcile his born-again Christian faith with a tolerance toward gays, and other issues.

Wead, who has written extensively about other first families, including the Kennedys and the Roosevelts, believed Bush would become a “pivotal figure in history.”

“I had a choice to either write propaganda about the Bushes or write accurately and fairly based on what I knew,” said Wead in an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America.”

This is, of course, a developing story. One thing is certain, Doug Wead is no friend of the Presidents.

Note to other political figures. If Mr. Wead seems to be paying undue attention to you, you might want to check him to see if he’s wearing a wire.

David Flanagan

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About David

  • sfzendog

    This whole affair smacks of Karl Rove. How convenient that the President was taped trying to set a moral example to kids. How convenient that it’s marijuana under discussion and not cocaine. How convenient that it’s an aide to W’s father who released the tapes “accidentally.” What man with intimate access to the president would ruin it by playing a tape that the President did not want played? How much could he possibly make on a book about President’s childhood. The President said he was “disappointed” in the release of the tapes. The whole thing feels extremely stage managed and makes the President look great. I’m suspicious.

  • Max Vo9llmer

    For George Bush, the “truth” is whatever favors his political ambitions. The man is devoid of character and integrity.

  • NZN

    Is Doug Wead the same one that is also an Amway rep and major speaker in their system?

  • Geoff Landesberg

    Is it ironic or just humorous that these tapes are released by a guy named Wead (“weed”, of course, being slang for marijuana)?

    Besides, who really cares. Hypocrisy & politics have always gone together like peanut butter & jelly. (I wonder what George chose as a cure for “the munchies”?

    … my 1st blog entry, ever, anywhere. couldn’t resist.

  • Genoa Bliven

    One more step in the on going trivialization of “news” for a public incapable of critical reasoning. When there are so many more important facts to be published, such tapes are a pathetic substitute. One day the mainstream news media will realize that the obvious truth is a better story than obvious manipulation – then perhaps they will succeed in a way, which is worthy of the word.

  • Eric Olsen

    congrats Geoff! you have crossed over to the other side

  • Mitch Vance

    I just heard excerpts from the tapes. These tapes are phony. Nothing from the Bush camp has any credibility. If they are studied for any reason, it should be another example of misinformation.

  • Eric Olsen

    how do you mean “phony” Mitch, and where did you hear them?

  • What man with intimate access to the president would ruin it by playing a tape that the President did not want played?

    That would be the same man that bilked millions out of millions by starting the pyramid scam otherwise known as AMWAY.

    (I wonder what George chose as a cure for “the munchies”?

    The same thing Clinton used! Whats the point?

    These tapes are phony.

    And your proof of this, other than harboring an extreme case of “anti-Bush” virus?

  • Ooh, big news, Bush inhaled. Like we didn’t already know this. For that matter aren’t we all pretty sure he did some coke in his earlier days as well? Not shocking revelations.

    Waht will be interesting is whether Wead is brough up on charges on this. If I recall my Texas law correctly the statute of limitations runs not from the time of the taping, but from the time the tapes are made public, and of course taping someone without their permission is a crime in Texas and under federal law.

    If it’s a Rove stunt expect no prosecution. IIf it’s not, look for the Texas AG to file charges next week.


  • Geoff,

    I also extend my congrats and very good call on the irony of the name “Wead.” It’s exactly what I was thinking too. 🙂


  • RJ


    Geoff, welcome to the Blogosphere! 🙂

  • < <>>

    So GWB was a stoner (well I was too),as if we didn’t already know that from his comments whenever the subject was broached…”I don’t want to discuss that any more” (Gee I wonder why), but did he ever discuss it?

    What I find most hypocritical: he lived in Texas, made famous for sending people down the river for many years for pot…..

    So tell us George, how was the nose candy?

  • I believe he liked the nose candy too much, so he had to start mainlining Jesus to get over it.


  • So, this man has a book. It’s not shocking that a former friend of President Bush’s would write a book; it’s the idea that he taped Bush and is now “revealing” all. umm hmm.. Question is, is the book worth my money? is it substantive? or just fluff?

  • Dave Mishiwiec

    To answer the question of legality of Wead’s actions he made sure to record the tapes in states that allow it according to the pres reports that I have read. If any tapes should exist that were made in states prohibiting secret recordings then this Wead dude is a dead man walking as he’ll be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law on that and anything else the Secret Service, FBI and CIA can dig up on this poor sap. I hope he makes a ton of money on that book as the conservative groups bankrolling the GOP’s agenda will do whatever it takes to crush this guy while making sure W looks like he did nothing other than come off like a poor, hapless sap who got taken advantage of.

  • BioPlague

    How sad that everyone is hen-pecking one little point out of nine hours of conversation. I doubt any of the people who’ve stated the tapes were embarassing, or that this will somehow hurt the President, have actually even heard the tapes or read the entire transcript. Shame on you sad, little conspiracy-mongers.

  • ken

    …I believe he liked the nose candy too much, so he had to start mainlining Jesus to get over it…

    Yep..One could just imagine him standing up in church one Sunday morning and saying: “I used to be all messed up on drugs and alcohol. Now I’m all messed up on the lord”

    (my appologizes to Cheech n Chong for a bit of plagiarism)

  • >>To answer the question of legality of Wead’s actions he made sure to record the tapes in states that allow it according to the pres reports that I have read. If any tapes should exist that were made in states prohibiting secret recordings then this Wead dude is a dead man walking as he’ll be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law on that and anything else the Secret Service, FBI and CIA can dig up on this poor sap.<< Such recordings are illegal in every state under the Federal Wiretap Law passed after the Nixon administration. Dave

  • Eric Olsen

    then how would he expect to get away with it?

  • >>then how would he expect to get away with it?<< Damned if I know. My first guess would be that he doesn't expect the be prosecuted, which suggests that there's nothing in the tapes that Bush would be all that offended by, or that he's betting that the negative publicity of a prosecution would be seen as more damaging by the administration than anything in the tapes - probably a pretty safe bet. If the worst the tapes have is Bush admitting to smoking dope - which isn't news to anyone - then there's not much controversy. Dave

  • Yes, Dave, but he suggested that (gasp!) John Ashcroft would make a good Supreme Court Justice! Of course, that was well before 9/11…

  • Well, that IS a frightening thought, but not one that Bush would be ashamed to admit, sadly.


  • Bonnie

    This is the same Doug Wead that was a minister and an Amway Diamond; not sure about his credibility…wouldn’t want him for a “friend” though.

  • Jim Labdon

    I think the LSD and coccaine use he acknowledges explains Bush’s imparied reasoning and perception skills. Who better than George Bush to warn us of WMDs and Mushroom clouds? It all seems clear to me now.

  • George

    OK, so he too smoked pot. That is a good thing.

    Smoke pot and become president! Proof that marijuana should be legalized. It certainly didn’t diminish his ability (nor Clinton’s) to become president. It also hasn’t hurt millions of other people that have smoked.

    What exactly IS he ashamed of? Nothing, he has no morals. He is so dishonest he can’t tell the American people the truth about anything. He is afraid of the truth. He should be ashamed of that.

    He is a hypocrite for promoting sending thousands of people to prison for drug use – when he used his privilege and elitism to stay out of jail. Due to being rich and white instead of poor and black.

    Bush is no friend of the American public.

    Impeach Bush! For war crimes – not smoking pot.

  • Brilliant, George. Let’s here about those war crimes in detail? Oh wait, there are none. Good job there, troll.

    To address the one thing in your post which wasn’t ludicrous – people change over time. Many people, like GWB outgrow their youthful indiscretions and develop new interests and motivations. It’s not at all uncommon for the drunks or the stoners to become the most vehemently anti-alcohol or anti-drug people around. Does this make their position in later life invalid? I don’t think it’s hypocritical, it just means they have learned from experience. I’d rather be told not to do drugs by a reformed drug user than by a self-righteous person who has never used drugs at all.


  • J Edgar Ashcroft

    Here’s a newsflash George:

    You set a far more dangerous example for children when you try to solve problems with violence.

  • Darrow

    War is not the answer. Or is this the lack of historical information that fogs the mind of W and allows him to ignore diplomatic means and continue to rattle the sabre. Of course he is guilty of war crimes. Just talk to the wounded survivors, soldiers and civilians alike. There were alternatives to war and he misled us. That’s a crime against the people and is a violation or our constitution. Bush is short changing our domestic programs that strengthen us and giving it to the war mongers who will never succeed. Impeach Bush.

  • George

    Dave: Wow, you got me. There sure are no details of war crimes. Not in my house and not on corporate television either. Good thing there is the internet. You should check it out.

    A simple “Bush war crimes” search will give quite a bit of reading material. Here are a few of links to start with.


    Edgar: Hello? What the heck are you reading in my message where I promote war?

  • Being accused of war crimes by a pack of loons on the net who are pushing a political agenda doesn’t make the war crimes real. Do you have no critical filtering capacity?


  • Wait, let me be more specific, because your claims of war crimes are particularly laughable:

    >>http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4999734/< < This is an absurdly speculative article which among other things points out clearly why and how President Bush has avoided doing anything which might result in an actual War Crimes accusation of any merit. The entire Geneva Convention argument is absurd and no one who has any idea what he's talking about would take it seriously. >>http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A20986-2004Dec22.html< < This is a virtually contentless editorial, totally speculative, and mostly about Abu Ghraib in which Bush and other administration leaders are not implicated in any way. It's got a couple of references to unsubstantiated second hand rumors about things that have gone on at Guantanimo. There's nothing here. >>http://deoxy.org/wc/warcrim2.htm<< This is the funnies one. This is a link to an accusation of war crimes filed with the ICC by a bunch of ultraleftist nutcases and representatives of totalitarian regimes around the world and it doesn't even name George W. Bush, it names his FATHER. Do you not even READ the things you link to? Furthermore, it was never acted on by the ICC, nor were any actual trials held. This is just total specious garbage. Better luck next time. Dave

  • Darrow


    It would not be laughable for you if you were the detainee who had been tortured without recourse to a lawyer and no charges made against you. Don’t laugh at the messenger or be cynical. There are war crimes or are you in denial. Check out votetoimpeach.org

  • Please pay attention, Darrow. I didn’t say that the mistreatment of prisoners was laughable, I said that his links were laughable as evidence of war crimes, which they are.

    If you want to make a serious accusation, come up with some credible evidence. Yes, there have been some problems with treatment of prisoners. Yes, there are procedural questions which need to be resolved about Guantanamo. But there’s no reasonable evidence to support any kind of War Crimes charge under the Geneva Convention or otherwise. The Geneva Convention is very clear, you know. It doesn’t even apply to non-uniformed combatants who are engaged in fifth-column activities like terrorism or assassination, which describes almost all of the Guantanamo detainees.

    BTW, your link to votetoimpeach.org is even more ludicrous than the ones George posted. Have you READ their supposed articles of impeachment? They’re a joke or at best a lunatic fantasy. They were drafted by Ramsey Clark who is a radical left activist and known to be unhinged. Let me just point you to article 6 which attempts to claim that the president should be impeached because he violated the UN charter which it cites as “the Supreme Law of the Land”. Clark should be disbarred for trying to pass off such a fraud. The supreme law of the land in the US is the Constitution and it’s what Bush is answerable to, not the UN. The UN charter is meaningless in an impeachment proceeding and any qualified lawyer should know that. Article 17 is even more ridiculous. It claims it’s an impeachable offense not to sign on to international treaties promoting ‘peace’ and that he’s impeachable because he let the ABM treaty expire. Come on – time to get out of fantasy land.

    How can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you advocate arrant idiocy like this. If you don’t like Bush, why not do something constructive to stop him instead of climbing aboard the loony wagon and shouting ‘yeeha’.


  • kyle raglin

    I’m really disappointed with the fact that Wead (gotta love that name) didn’t make this public a year or two ago. I didn’t vote for GW because of a mulititude of other reasons, but I’d bet money we wouldn’t be living under his rule today, if the tapes were released a while back.

  • The thing that bothers me, as someone who is a candidate for office, is the seemingly automatic assumption that if the office holder gets behind positions you disagree with, then the office holder must certainly be dishonest and lack integrity.

    That’s a sobering thought. I know that some of my positions are unpopular, but I believe in them, and I run for office to try to convince people with reason, and to win the vote. I can see my future, especially if I win, where I am labeled dishonest and lacking integrity. I won’t like it a bit. Who would?

    Don’t those who throw these epithets around so easily have any concern that maybe their actions keep good honest people of integrity *away* from running from office?

  • kuros

    In my second-to-last communication I talked about a male ”escort service” operating in DC for the edification of the very senior Beltway people. I have, locked up in my office safe, copies of the credit card receipts with names, card numbers and signatures of: two Supreme Court and one Appellate Court judges {Have you heard about the two judges who tried each other?} eight Senators, five Congressmen, two former and one current White House aides, a number of very prominent DC lawyers, several senior members of the RNC, four general officers and one Admiral, three of whom are still on active duty , five local newspapermen, eight ministers, high level employees of: State Department, Commerce Department, Justice Department, HEW Department, DC police department, NSA, DIA, and most especially, a number of pundits from Georgetown University and a nice collection of CIA people. The proprietor of this stud farm was one Todd Blodgett and there was a front-page story on one of his male whore establishments in the Washington Times. Blodgett was a Reagan White House aide, was fired from both the WH and later, the RNC, for aggressive homosexual behavior and then tossed out of the University Club in DC.

    Information that has been kept very quiet at the highest levels would indicate that George W. Bush was heavily involved with gay groups while at Yale, had a significant affair with another man while at HBS, was a “very close friend” of a black drag queen and, according to three different inside sources, is no more a Pentecostal Christian than Saddam Hussein.

    The sex material about our pure, God-intoxicated President, comes from one arrest report and several “counseling” reports now sequestered (by order of Karl Rove) at Yale (Bush’s records there have been sealed) There is the temptation to run with this but there at least has to be something factual here. The Republicans are trying to plant obvious lies on everyone in the hopes that others like the nutty Rather will take them up and make Bush look like a wonderful but persecuted man. According to one report, made long before Bush was Governor of Texas, he could not have any kind of sex with women unless at least half drunk and was a practicing advocate of physical abuse. He likes to beat people, according to this. But not be beaten in return. Some of this is not only difficult to believe but downright repulsive.”


  • And the conspiracy nuts come out!

    And did he have sex with men in front of the giant owl idol at the Bohemian grove too?


  • Eric Olsen

    in the saged words of Was Not Was: “woodwork squeaks and out come the freaks”

  • Dennis

    “Such recordings are illegal in every state under the Federal Wiretap Law passed after the Nixon administration.


    Have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, Dave. In Texas, all that’s required to legally record a telephone conversation is the consent of one (not both) of the parties involved.

    So far as the content of the tapes, Bush once again reveals that he considers telling the truth an option to be used rarely, if ever. By his peculiar moral standards, to mislead people is different from lying. If lies must be told, that’s what ‘the help’ is for, and he bears no responsibility to set the record straight.

    He’d better hope St. Peter agrees with this argument.


  • Anonymous Coward

    time to start the “suicide watch” for Doug Wead.

    more than a few Bush biographers have been kil…er, um…committed suicide. I predict that Doug Wead will be erased by the W Administration and it will be labeled a suicide. I’m sure this will happen before the end of his 2nd term. When it happens I’ll be back here to remind everyone that the Anonymous Coward was, is right.

  • I think it’s enough to remember that the Anonymous Coward is an Anonymous Coward.

    Odd how the most vehemently outspoken critics of the Bush Administration are not dead or even close to it.

    I’d be curious to see a couple of examples of Bush critics who have died ‘mysterious’ Vince Foster style deaths.

    I won’t hold my breath while I wait for your response.


  • Conspiracy crapola like the above is another reason people protective of their good name are hesitant to run for public office.

  • does anybody really believe Rove & co. didn’t approve the release of these tapes beforehand? after the threats to anyone not playing the good, loyal soldier in this admin, are you seriously believing that they didn’t bless this entire thing?

    once again, reporters/journalists simply lapping and slurping uncritically from the hands that continue to slap them from the right and stroke them from the left.

    From Psst to Oops: Secret Taper of Bush Says History Can Wait By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK 2/24/05

    In Secretly Taped Conversations, Glimpses of the Future President By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK 2/20/05

  • Ayman

    Delusional –
    1 a : the act of deluding : the state of being deluded b : an abnormal mental state characterized by the occurrence of psychotic delusions.


    When I read this cr@p that’s all I can think.

  • bhw

    The thing that bothers me, as someone who is a candidate for office, is the seemingly automatic assumption that if the office holder gets behind positions you disagree with, then the office holder must certainly be dishonest and lack integrity.

    I would think you, as a candidate for office, would be more bothered by the realization that your private conversations might be secretly taped by people you trust and then “accidentally” released to the media.

    Kinda creepy that there’s literally no integrity left in the political process, even among/between allies.

  • Sue Davis

    I’m no fan of Bush, but I heard an excerpt and it sounds NOTHING like Bush – the voice is completely different. Sounds like a fraud to me.

  • Actually, as a candidate, you assume that you are bugged all the time, so you should only say the things you really don’t mind coming out. But you are right in that you should expect that from the opposition rather than those you count as your friends.

    Truly, there is a discipline required of being a candidate, and being ‘on’ all the time is part of the game, especially as you seek higher offices.

  • HW Saxton

    I’ve heard an excerpt from this tape (on
    Letterman’s show 2/23/05)and it really
    does sounds like GWB to my ears. Sounds
    a bit buzzed even, actually.

    I can’t help but feel for the guy as a
    human being. Being betrayed by someone
    that is supposedly a confidant hurts &
    I can’t see it being any different for
    George. As much as I dislike the current
    administration and their policies (both
    foreign & domestic)I dislike snitches of
    all stripes even worse.