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
"For those of you interested". Wolf, No one is interested.
hmmm. slow news day? i dont see any comments...
i know Wolf, i wish i could see them up close too. to get a chance to spit at Bush's face.
Bush legacy in one word = "FAILURE"
Bush was/is a lame duck President and will always be remembered as such.
Hooray! This is the last time I have to publicly hear that moron butcher the English language!
No wine? Wolf, come on!
Why did you have a topic without mentioning Obama? Obama supporters don't care about Bush. They only want to hear the Obama endorser to come at the end.
Since we're paying for it.... I want a piece of the gingerbread cake.
I'll be watching a rerun of, oh, anything tonight.
Wow, there's no need to be rude about Wolf's post. While I may not necessarily care about what they ate and where they ate, I am interested to know about the "human" side about our country's leaders - whether I agree with their politics is not the issue. Thanks Wolf for sharing your experience. I know I'd love to have been in your shoes to peek into life at the White House. You are an amazing and fair-minded journalist!
*****yippeee***** cOUNTIN DOWN THE DAYS LEFT IN OFFICE!
Like him or not ... Bush is still President and I think it's facinating that these anchors have the opportunity to have a meal with Commander-in-Chief!
I'm just surprised "lame duck" wasn't served!
Wolf-don't you have more important stories to cover? Like who is going to be a "true" leader not cowboy-and get us out of this mess.....
wonder how many of the millions of Americans out of work have ever tasted white asparagus
Hillary and Obama voters can be counted on to unite over one thing: their mutual (and justified) disgust for Bush. I love it.
I wonder if lunch was on the taxpayers? I doubt if Bush will address the greatest earmark of all in his state of the union speech tonight, his illegal war in Iraq?
Pretty pitiful piece pertaining to a pathetic president.
Bush has been a lame president period. I'm ashamed of him and what he has initiated during his administration. He's a disgrace, and so are his cronies, and I don't care whether he's nostalgic, what he savors, and I am certain he knows what history will say about him. That's probably why he bought so much land in South America-you know, the one that doesn't allow extradition.
I wonder whether anybody besides the Congress, a captive audience, will watch Bush's State of the Union Address. What could Bush possibly have to say that might be of interest, unless it is an announcement of his resignation?
What did I learn from this article? Be prepared for the yammering you're going to hear tonight. It will most likely be entirely inconclusive, much like this article.
God another year of Bush,
it is so hard to stay sane, it trully is.
I think one would have to wait to see how history views President Bush. One of the most beloved presidents at the time in office, Calvin Coolidge, is now largely forgotten or even remembered for missing the signs of a coming depression. Those who want to spit in the presidents face are just ignorant and probably only get their news from the daily show and cnn.
Though President Bush has done many things I disagree with, I at least respect the office and would like to see the outcome of some of his policies.
Faliure does not even begin to describe Bush, it is a global tragedy.
Why are you covering this story CNN. I guess the last 2 weeks you all got the ratings while bashing the Clinton's, how pathetic. And you all call yourselves journalist's! Real journalist's stay neutural and don't try to make a person look bad just for ratings. Shame on CNN and MSNBC. You are becoming just like FOX NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who cares what Bush has to say, he and the republican's are the reason why we're in this hell hole!