In an altogether “no-duh” post about Karen Hughes, lil’ Tucker has this to say about George W. Bush:
In 1998, I went to a breakfast in Los Angeles where the governor of Texas was speaking. I’d woken up that morning barely aware of George W. Bush. I left the meal impressed by him. Over the next year I wrote several stories about Bush, including a magazine profile that took months to complete. I flew back and forth to Austin, talked to Bush’s friends, family and classmates, took his staff out to dinner. I had several long interviews with Bush himself. Long before the Republican primaries, I became convinced Bush was headed to the White House. At the podium, he was a mediocre speaker, but he was brilliant — Clinton-level good — with individuals. I have never before or since seen a man work a room more effectively. Bush seemed to have great judgment about people.
Here’s Bush being “Clinton-level good” in an interview with…Tucker Carlson:
From: “Devil May Care” by Tucker Carlson, Talk Magazine, September 1999, p. 106
“Bush’s brand of forthright tough-guy populism can be appealing, and it has played well in Texas. Yet occasionally there are flashes of meanness visible beneath it.
While driving back from the speech later that day, Bush mentions Karla Faye Tucker, a double murderer who was executed in Texas last year. In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. ‘Did you meet with any of them?’ I ask.
Bush whips around and stares at me. ‘No, I didn’t meet with any of them,’ he snaps, as though I’ve just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. ‘I didn’t meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like ‘What would you say to Governor Bush?’ ‘What was her answer?’ I wonder.
‘Please,’ Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, ‘don’t kill me.’
I must look shocked — ridiculing the pleas of a condemned prisoner who has since been executed seems odd and cruel, even for someone as militantly anticrime as Bush — because he immediately stops smirking.
‘It’s tough stuff,’ Bush says, suddenly somber, ‘but my job is to enforce the law.’ As it turns out, the Larry King-Karla Faye Tucker exchange Bush recounted never took place, at least not on television. During her interview with King, however, Tucker did imply that Bush was succumbing to election-year pressure from pro-death penalty voters. Apparently Bush never forgot it. He has a long memory for slights.”