January 28th, 2008
04:05 PM ET
6 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. c,tx

    I forgot to say I am in love with Obama Please vote for her , She is a great American.

    January 28, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. el guero

    sounds like you guys ate pretty well.... speaking of food imagine all the poor people we could be feeding right now with all the money we're spending expanding the empire.

    January 28, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. bud,arkansas

    I would like to put Aunt Hillary and Uncle Bill back in the Whitehouse. You do not realize how much these two love this country. I am getting chocked up about it. Why won't you vote for my family. You would rather crush them and speak bad about them. My cousin Chelsie is having a hard time with it, please be nice.

    January 28, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Saveelah

    Will the next president support "astrobiology" not "space evolution" and fund NASA
    It is sad that the last we sent a man to moon was 3 decades ago.

    January 28, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Frank

    Monty: Our parents were not criminals.

    S. Wright: Which planet are you from? Certainly not planet Earth!!!

    January 28, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. J,tx

    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.........

    January 28, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Nextprez

    The cuisine sounded great! It should've included 2 plates of lame duck! One for Prez Bush and one for Cheney!

    January 28, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Ron

    Clinton donor gets a Presidential Pardon AFTER a $450.000.00 donation to Mr. Clintons Library Foundation??
    AFTER DONATING ??? Ya, Right

    The Subject title here is copied from the below noted article!
    Please read the full following NEW YORK TIMES article before commenting here.

    This is the article WOLF BLITZER was referring to at the debate last fall when HILLARY side stepped him and didn't /wouldn't answer truthfully.

    When Hillary voters read this article they might change their minds.

    Go to: msnbc.com
    Type into the site search box: "Clinton Library"
    Then find and Click on the article called: "Clinton Donors Overlap"

    Feel free to forward this information to any voter you want, I am.

    January 28, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Hugh Blake

    It seems the more things change the more they remain the same. Old tricks and promises. It's time for a change.

    Obama '08

    January 28, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Jess, sc

    Ron Paul 08, check him out if you have values and care for the U.S. The media does not like him that is why we hear notheing of him. He has great potential. Shape up C, your mom might cook you pizza tonight.

    January 28, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Brian Brady

    Its a good thing the readers of CNN don't accurately depict the country. Sadly most here will be telling their grandkids how great a president Bush was and will conviently forget their criticisms.

    January 28, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Al Gore

    Wolf you old rascal, drink the darn wine and stop your yappin

    January 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. Statesman

    I wasn't listening when he said the economy is good.
    I don't need him to tell ME it's been inflated, sold-out, and cheated by the President's Working Group and the Federal Reserve.

    Do some actual reporting CNN-

    By the way, where's the Louisiana GOP results on your website?

    January 28, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. MaryG

    What Frank said. Times ten.

    January 28, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. Dan, Washington DC

    "6 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and no further terror attacks. Congratulations and thank you Mr. President."

    Specious reasoning at best

    Besides, there's a terrorist attack about once a week that claims the lives of Americans. Just because it's happening half-way around the world doesn't mean it's not happening. Why would any terrorist want to go to the trouble of attacking American soil when they can stay at home and accomplish the job?

    January 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. mike

    Funny – I wonder how many of the above commentors are those who slap the "hate is not a family value" sticker on their car.

    The rapid decline into complete ignorance for the american people continues.

    If you really think your candidate is going to change America you live in a dream, America is America because you are a part of it not becuase of one man who sits at the top.

    As long you have someone to blame for "your" situation you feel strong. Look in the mirrors people and you will see the face of America – that is what the rest of the world sees.

    Grow up

    January 28, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. jerico

    the pres and the vp are the [real american gangsters.] question why is everybody got they hand out because of a rebate thats going to come back to haunt them? this rebate or tax cut in disgiuse as a rebate, got everybody at the table waiting for scraps like lap dogs.

    January 28, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. tgtgtgtg

    Thanks Wolfe, for saying absolutely nothing. After this piece you qualify as a Bush speechwriter.

    January 28, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. fdefoin

    If we compare the Clinton's vs the Bushes. I personally prefered the Clinton's. The twin towers were up!! No immediate treats from abroad and the economy was booming. Is funny how people forget. Bush dad was at war and Bush son at war. But in between all ,peace was there. Just a reflection from a guy in Canada.

    Fabian

    January 28, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  20. v worrell

    I think some of you are very rude! Wolf was just sharing what he experience to day.

    Lunch sounds devine to me.

    SOme of you need a lesson in manners! If you can't say anything nice then don't say it! Where has politeness gone anyway? Hmmmmmmm.....

    January 28, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. jim

    Lets all be thankful its his last

    January 28, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. Scott Surplus

    I will not say that I am suprise to see Wolf Blitzer cozy up with G.W. Bush. G.W. Bush...a leader? Sounds like only a corporate anchor type will recognize that...

    January 28, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. demolator

    Maybe if you weren't too busy getting dazzled by a lunch menu, you could actually do some reporting. Maybe next time you can visit the cockpit on Air Force One and get a little set of plastic cap'n wings.

    January 28, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  24. trent porter, tx

    Bush will attack iran.

    January 28, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Love of Americans

    How funny, Bill Clinton hasn't mentioned any black people in the news lately...Hmmm.. I wonder why, I wonder why.

    No shuck and Jive comments, no black celebrities, no off-the-wall comments about Jessie Jackson.

    Why so quiet now Bill?

    CNN, don't publish this here, wrong forum:)

    January 28, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
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