January 28th, 2008
04:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: With Bush before the State of the Union

This is the final pre-State of the Union reporters' lunch in the Bush White House.

This is the final pre-State of the Union reporters' lunch in the Bush White House.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's an annual State of the Union Day tradition: the president invites the TV network anchors and Sunday talk show hosts for lunch at the White House. The ground rules are that we can say we went to the luncheon, but the session is for our background only - meaning largely off the record. Still, it's a good way for us to pierce - at least a little - President Bush's thinking.

He comes across as determined to squeeze in as much as he can during this final year in office. It reminded me of what I used to hear from President Clinton when he had a year left. (He used to have similar background sessions with reporters.) They love being president and want to savor every minute.

President Bush does not come across as overly nostalgic - though he no doubt has to feel that way. It would be only natural. There is way too much unfinished business, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Iran; the Israeli-Palestinian peace deal which he believes is within reach; and the enormous domestic issues on his plate, including the economy. He is laying it all out in his State of the Union address. He professes not to be overly concerned about his legacy. That will be left to historians.

For those of you who are interested, we had lunch upstairs in the White House residence - in the Yellow Oval Office, as it is called. Vice President Cheney also attended. On the menu: mushroom and ricotta ravioli, seared salmon, white asparagus and mini tomato salad, and warm gingerbread cake with praline ice cream. It was delicious. The wine (which I didn't drink because I had to get right back to work) was a 2004 Peter Michael Chardonnay "Ma Belle-Fille."

I spent seven years covering Bill Clinton when he was President, as CNN's Senior White House correspondent. And I have attended several of these luncheons with President Bush. For a reporter, I must say, it is always fascinating getting a chance to see these leaders up close.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: President Bush • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (174 Responses)
  1. Christopher, Madison, WI

    J,tx January 28, 2008 5:38 pm ET

    Hey C, what are you on. Walk outside and look around. I work for a developer, and we are building more now than ever before. It is a buyers market. I'm sorry you are not successfull and live with your parents. You have your own hell whole, that is your problem, I don't care. Please help me. Typicall democrate………

    Wow live in the real world much? Foreclosures are up 75% state to state. I can tell you're from the country of Texas...you can't spell. Do all the people in your country speak and spell as badly as your cheer leader, drunken coke head leader?

    January 29, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. M.S.

    Democrats, if you really want to win in November, you had better try to get along.

    How in the world will you ever smooth out things with such hurt feelings?

    Think about it. You are turning away a lot of people who won't go out to vote for a person they think is a race-baiter.

    January 29, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. Debbie

    McCain is to much of a hot head to hold the highest office, and he supports amnesty for the illegal aliens that are flooding across our border.

    January 29, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  4. melanie ashford

    president Bush is human like the rest of us. i choose to pray for him and let God handle the rest

    January 29, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Diane

    I cannot understand HOW Hillary got the Michigan delegates so fast? Is she pulling another one of her dirty political games???? None of the other candidates had their names on the ballots. Did old Hillary run all by her dirty self and then collected the delegates? SOMETHING IS VERY STRANGE, AND THE NEWS MEDIA IS NOT COMMENTING ON THIS, ONLY SHOWING clinton with so many Michigan delegates.

    Come on, folks. TELL THE TRUTH about dirty politics, and stop giving Hillary so much air time.

    January 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. dianne

    You are reporting that no one has advertised in this state, that is wrong. Obama has had several ads on TV in the Orlando area. The only Democratic candidate that has defied the DNC .

    January 29, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. Bill Frog

    Hi Wolf, I'm an English person, permanently resident in Spain, with views which range from far right, conservative,middle of the road, democratic, and occasional brushes with loony left, depending on the issue and the arguament, so, I have as much as possible, no bias. No doubt in 15 minutes (I'M going in a moment) you will be explaining the importence of Senator Kennady's endorsement of Mr Obama, perhaps you ought to question whether a man who campaigns SO heavily on not being part of the "Establishment crowd" should be so quick to cuddle up when it suits, almost the same as courting lobbyists don't you think ? and not for the first time. By the way, you really are the best team ! * ! got to go you are about to go live,
    reards Bill

    January 29, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. Frank Newton

    Mr. Blitzer:

    I do not doubt that your team is made of hard working people. Also that you have for yourself too many hours on the screen! (of course you get the money) but it would be better for all of us to see other faces and hear other voices. It could cost more to CNN but that would be better TV.

    Besides, I am not sure that you can proclaim yourself as the best anchor, because I have seen you every day for a long long time, and you are definitely biased. You can hide your political preference and when you conduct a debate that is more than clear.

    No benefit of doubt whatsoever with you Wolf, you are a Clinton's fan –to say the least, and you are not even able to dissimulate that.

    I'm sorry for you, but as a professional you are failing.

    We the people deserve respect and objectivity. We don't get if from you and some other of your colleagues. We don't get from CNN at all!

    January 29, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. Skippy

    Wolf! You are my favorite news anchor on television! YOU RULE!!!!!!!!!!

    WOLF FOR PRES!!!!!!!

    January 29, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. jim geminiano

    Mr. Blitzer, will you please ask Sen. Obama in the coming Democratic Party Presidential Debate , that in spirit of Unity which he strongly advocates, will he oppose the seating of the delegates in the democratic convention of Florida and MIchigan states that voted heavily for Sen. Clinton .? Remember Florida and Michigan are crucial states in the general election , and you do not want to alienate the the democrats in both states Will you put your self interest ahead of the democratic party' interest ?

    January 30, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Blake

    Kudos to you Wolf. That must have been an interesting luncheon to say the least. See my Politics blog at blakesopinion.blogspot.com

    January 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. samberaholly

    Wolf why is it all about Obama. I got a question for you about Obama when he snub Hillary Monday night and heard his statement on National television and his commits. Look at the photos and photos docent lie his body reaction of the event who telling the truth the photos or Obama. Do I won't to vote for a person the is running for the President Of United States that can't admit he was wrong and lied to the American people and same on Senator Mccaskill for she know the truth.

    January 30, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Mike McKibben

    All things being equal, I would like one question asked of the remaining Republican candidates: If you got a PIB that stated, "Bin Laden wants to fly air planes into gov and or other buildings", would you act, or read "My Pet Goat"?

    January 30, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. Virginia San Francisco, California

    I don't want to hear about Nobama.
    Yea, let us count the months, days, etc. when an inexperience president leaves office.
    Do we want to hear Nobama since he is another inexperience person running for the office of president? Perhaps Nobama will chose Senator Ted Kennedy to be VP as he has the experience....40 years. Top that Senator Clinton?

    January 31, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  15. Alan Boyer


    Bill Clinton benefited from a tremendous "relationship" with the African American community for years, earning the title of America's first black president. With his recent tactics targeting Senator Obama, it would be interesting to ask his "running mate," Hillary, how he can avoid appearing to be another "white" man willing to do anything to serve his own purpose at the expense of the African American community.

    January 31, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Craig

    CNN is a sickening biased news propaganda machine. Look CNN, no one wants the warmonger for president (McCain of course) Your polls are phoney and you have no credibility.

    January 31, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Craig

    CNN is a biased propaganda manchine for the war mongering McCain.
    Look , we don't want the American Stalin(MCcain) Your credibility is shot.

    January 31, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Michael

    Wolf –

    I have to tell you that I have watched CNN and been a HUGE fan of yours for many years now. But the reporting that you are doing, along with contributors Jack Cafferty and Gloria Borgia, have in mind resorted to tabloid journalism. Let me make clear first and foremost, I am an Independent. All I see is momentum building media coverage by CNN of Barak Obama and negative and often times insulting and derogatory coverage of Hillary Clinton most especially by Jack and Gloria. I am personally offended that CNN would allow these two individuals to express what is clearly their distain for the Senator and worse, the fact that you allow that behavior in the Situation Room. I would never in a million years thought that CNN would have gone down this road. After over 12 years, I have officially tuned out CNN and started looking for a more unbiased news outlet. I find that really sad that the one news network that I considered the most reputable, has officially decided that ratings and going along with MUCH less reputable news stations namely FOX, is more important then reporting at an unbiased level. I know this sounds like I am ranting, but I have to tell you that I dont what makes me angrier. The fact that I can no longer in good conscious watch CNN, or the fact that "the most trusted name in news" has resorted to tabloid journalism in the hopes of higher ratings. Guess they are one in the same.

    Regretfully yours,


    January 31, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Siobhan Ogilvie

    Hey Wolfe – since it seems only you, Anderson and Jeff Toobin are the only ones Not trying to sway the vote one way or the other I wanted to let you know during your broadcast after thw NY Times ad at about 5:50pm – CNN just ran their own ad for the debate tonight – simply saying "Obama – the Democratic Decate CNN tonight 8 Eastern" Not a word about Hillary in the ad – just Obama and just Obama's photo, No photo of Hillary either. This is getting more and more disturbing. I am really starting to believe the network is against Hillary because she is a female and I am personally taking offense. Do Something! I'm not asking for favor for either candidate - just equal positive and equal negative treatment so the voters can fairly make up their mind.

    January 31, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  20. Vivian Middleton

    Mr.Blitzer, I would like for you to ask the candidates why they are talking about Health Care in the future? I am on Medical Disability, yet I had to wait two years to get Medical Coverage. I want to know how the Medicare Disability Program can withhold medical coverage for someone who is disabled? Medical Disability speaks for itself. If you are deemed medically disabled, then it only stands to reason that you will be seeing doctors, Hospitalizations, Medications,etc. I think they need to start at their own door step first. My disability began in 2005, yet I had to wait to have a very necessary surgery for 2yrs, because they didn't deem it a Medical Emergency. They meaning non-medical people.
    Vivian Middleton

    February 1, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  21. Jules

    I have to agree I am very dissapointed with the MEDIA. All of you seem to be giving Senator Obama a free ride in all this. And to tell the truth it's very dissapointing, especially for someone my age that is studying politics and journalism. I have to say that I strongly admire Senator Obama, but I don't see what the big fuzz is all about and I honestly think my genaration is naive and we are not looking at the real issues that impact our lives...Yes, you can inspire all day but in the end words don't translate into actions. So, I believe you have to look at the record and I strongly BELIEVE that Senator Clinton is the best candidate overall and she truly has been an agent of change. And when it comes to CNN moderators and "political analysts" its just biased...I think I could do a better job than the Biased "professionals" CNN seems to have put on the air. For example, look at Bill Schneider–He is a disgrace. I have always looked upon him for neutral and unbiased journalism, but when it comes to reporting on the 2008 presidency he should simply be removed from reporting this specific issue–it is easy to see where his alliance lies and its definetely not in neutrality.

    And to you Wolfe, Thanks for the great job that you do but please urge the bosses and the journalists at CNN to do better and more neutral reporting!!!

    Best regards,


    February 1, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Michael

    It figures you wouldn't post my last comment! What happened to freedom of speech? I can only imagine the countless others that have been silenced by CNN. What a sad time it is when the media stoops that low. I guess I shouldn't expect anything less!

    February 3, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. Philip

    Moderation of the comments huh. And you all say that you provide a venue for voice. Where did we all go wrong?

    February 6, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. cecimorr

    Why are people so stuck on hating McCain, so much sour grapes, be positive. Would they rather have a Democrat for president. Romney will not get the nomination no matter what he does. The American people are speaking with their votes. McCain will get the presidency. As for me and my family it has come down to these issues which we are voting for. Pro-Life, the war, the economy and fair immigration reform. The majority of the people I believe, will look at these issues in order to make their choice. There are too many people that have ties to family that are undocumented, who are 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th generation American Citizens, these citizens are voting age, and they have empathy for those who are undocumented. many Rep. believe that illegal immigration shoud be curved. The borders should be reinforced and protected on the North and South, but remember it was the US, who encouraged this modern day human tragedy, by our insatiable apetite for cheap labor and addictions to drugs. illegal activities have been encouraged by the almighty American dollar. The undocumented are extreemly poor and only want a better life for thier families. Many have been abused and killed, and if they make it, they are hard workers, good citizens, and Christians. If any candidate states, that they will deport 12M. is a liar, because that cannot happen. But if the new laws are obyed and the borders really rinforced, illegal immigration can be curved. There has to be a fair and equitable way of fixing this problem. We have three choices, Hillary, OBama and McCain,
    and I am sure that McCain, can win either one.
    Regarding the economy, I would rather have McCain take care of my money than Romney who has spent 50mil. on this campaign and has little reture for his bucks. But look at McCain, started with hardly any money, traveled in taxi carried his own bags. and had no entourage yet he stayed humble and picked up his campaign by the boot straps and now is going to be the president of the USA, I truly admire this MAN, He has more gumption in his little finger than most men have anywhere.

    February 6, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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