September 15th, 2009
04:35 PM ET
5 years ago

First on the Ticker: Bush, Palin aide disputes book claims

Bush reportedly said Palin was unprepared for the national stage.
Bush reportedly said Palin was unprepared for the national stage.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A former aide to George W. Bush and Sarah Palin is dismissing a claim by onetime Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer that the former president was clueless about Palin when she was tapped as John McCain's running mate last August.

Latimer writes in a new book - scheduled for release in October - that Bush wasn't even aware of Palin when she was picked.

"'What is she, the governor of Guam?'" Bush reportedly asked. Latimer also writes that Bush told aides that the then-Alaska governor was "not even remotely prepared" for the national stage.

But Jason Recher, who served as special assistant to President Bush and as a traveling aide to Palin during the campaign, said the former President was well aware of Palin - especially since the two met in person in Alaska just three weeks before Palin was added to the Republican ticket.

During a stopover in Fairbanks on the way to the Beijing Olympics last August, Recher said Bush met with Palin and even made a knowing reference to her rising reputation in the Republican Party.

"The president was fully aware of who Sarah Palin was," Recher told CNN. "Even so much that when he greeted the governor and Todd in Fairbanks during a re-fueling stop on the way to the Beijing Olympics, he threw open his arms and said "Madam Vice President!'"

"He was very aware of her rising-star status and who she was and everything about her, even down to the fact that she recently had given birth to Trig," Recher said.

After Palin became the vice presidential nominee, Recher said the White House loaned out both he and Laura Bush's photographer Shealah Craighead to the McCain campaign to help staff Palin and her family.

Recher said Bush and Palin had a warm relationship and talked multiple times throughout the campaign, including after a large campaign rally near Orlando in September and after the Vice Presidential debate in October.

"There is no air, no space between them," Recher said. "Sarah Palin is a big fan of George Bush, and she has said publicly she was proud he was Commander-in-Chief when her son Track was in Iraq."

Recher, who traveled with President Bush nearly every day for the final three years of his presidency, questioned just how plugged-in Latimer was at the White House.

"I think that most people that used to work at the White House would be hard pressed to pick him out of a lineup," Recher said. "Nobody knows who he is. When people heard he was writing a book the most common reaction has been, 'Who?'"


Filed under: George W. Bush • Sarah Palin
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Chris - Seattle

    Who cares, I only wish we could forget about all of them until it's time to slap the handcuff's on them.

    September 15, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. Kevin in Ohio

    Ah, here it is, lefties..... another Palin/Bush dessert dished up by CNN just for you to satisfy your appetite for Hate.

    September 15, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  3. Carmen, Miami FL

    Pals around with Bush? That's a good thing to Palin? Just another reason to be grateful she didn't make it to the white house and is only taken seriously by fringe idiots on the right.

    September 15, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Roger

    Bush and Palin. Now theres a pair. Can you imagine that conversation? Palin: I can see Russia, Bush: Me too!!!! Palin: I'm a hockey mom. Bush: Me too!!!!!

    September 15, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Mississippi Miss

    Many of us hope that Sarah Palin will be President or Vice President one of these days. She is one of the few politicians who is truly bi-partisan. She will be a public servant for years to come. She is the most underestimated ladies on the planet.

    September 15, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. beppo

    "A former aide to George W. Bush and Sarah Palin is dismissing a claim by onetime Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer that the former president was clueless about Palin she was tapped as John McCain's running mate last August."

    That is one lousy sentence. You write for a living?

    September 15, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. Democrat for Palin Primary 2012

    "....especially since the two met in person in Alaska just three weeks before Palin was added to the Republican ticket....

    ...he threw open his arms and said "Madam Vice President!'"

    When you LIE, get your story right!!!

    Yeah RRRRRRRight! Talk about damage control.

    Recher who?

    September 15, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Debra R

    Latimer is just another hack trying to make a buck with lies.

    September 15, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. Liz

    This is not a surprise considering that very few in the U.S. had even heard of her-many in her own party had no idea who she was or what she stood for.

    September 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Angy

    Is anyone surprised? I'm not. he was clueless about EVERYTHING EXCEPT STARTING UNNESSECCARY WARS!

    September 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. Bug3t

    Once again, the village idiot from Texas was clueless, since Palin obviously isn't "Madame Vice-President" now, is she? She's the "quitter from Alaska"... or maybe we should call it North Texas...??

    I bet she's a fan of W. She seems to enjoy lying and so does he. Both are clueless.

    And hey, come to think of it, they both have about the same grammar and English language skills!

    September 15, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. bigTEXoil

    please keep palin out of the news.....and report on topics more newsworthy like healthcare reform

    September 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. George

    I don't doubt it if Bush say's so.

    September 15, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. Sam Sixpack

    I see its "Palin's stupid day" again today. OK, whereas you're so much smarter than Palin, you must already know Obama intends to pay for your health care "reform" by appointing a committee (the “Independent Medicare Advisory Council”) to pull the plug on grandma. Just how does that not make you a hypocrite?

    In the end, the joke will be on you anyway, because, the only “reform” in store for you is a requirement that you pay all you can “afford” to fat, greedy insurance execs for a policy with a deductable so high you won’t be able to afford actual health care.

    Obahahahahaha.

    September 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Hope

    Was Bush supposed to know every Republican???? This is no news to me.

    September 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Tina

    "Latimer writes in a new book — scheduled for release in October " This is all you need to know about why he would say something sensationalistic..........he trying to get people to buy his book. Well I for one won't be buying it.

    September 15, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. mjm

    This you can report....But nothing on ACORN?

    September 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. Charlie Rangel

    The best political team brings us this great story of dueling biographers, other items about Joe Wilson's possible censure and a hard-hitting tome about the piss-conserving (it's all about the environment, you know) Congressman from California. I sure am glad they aren't highlighting my shortcomings or that pesky ACORN story. Keep up the good work guys!

    September 15, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. star

    yeah right

    September 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. I Support President Obama!

    Bush and Palin have one thing in common = they are both clueless pathological liars! Hey George, have you found those WMD's yet??

    September 15, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Mike, Albany

    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Hmmm.... they should have stayed with Latimer's version. It actually makes Bush look vaguely intelligent on this matter. Disputing it makes Bush look as stupid as we all thought he was.

    September 15, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. windfall

    i think i speak for a lot of people when i say, i just don't care anymore.

    sarah palin, george bush, dick cheney. they're done.
    game over. go home.

    September 15, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. SLM

    What a totally stupid article this is. One has to wonder what CNN's point of it is.

    CNN, waiting to hear more about ACORN and their latest dirty dealings with TAX payer money. How about some coverage of the Tea baggers.

    We can only think CNN is trying to distract us from the real news in the world by obsessing over Palin. who cares??

    September 15, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  24. Vote out all Republicans!

    Palin admires Bush????? That says everything doesn't it??? The man destroyed this country, lied to us and bankrupted it.

    September 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Jane

    So how canthis POSSIBY be worthy of mention????????

    This is tabloid news – I won't even consider callig it news.

    September 15, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
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