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. Ken

    Latimer did have it wrong. G. Bush wasn't clueless about Palin. He was clueless....period.

    September 15, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Independent

    SOOOO WHAT!!!!! I'm becoming sick of CNN you have become a tabloid......I'm also sick off Fox News and MSNBC with there partisan reporting....I'm overseas and need a "news worthy" source to tap into

    September 15, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. Mike S., New Orleans

    Bush was aware of something! Wow!

    September 15, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. zago

    President Bush and I can finally agree on something! LOL

    September 15, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Frank

    Republicans are CLUELESS!

    September 15, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. Tim

    You lie!!!!

    September 15, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Never Repub again

    OBAMA-BIDEN 2012 Yes We Can.

    September 15, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. republicans DESTROYED America!

    One clueless person to another....

    September 15, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Frank

    The only opinion George W,. got right... lol lolol lol lol

    September 15, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. Stacy from Leesburg, VA

    "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..."

    Alaska's former Governor was a gas station attendant for President Bush? She was qualified for the office of Vice President then, man can I go back and change my vote?

    September 15, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Idiot_Pelosi

    The three stooges:

    Obummer (Moe)
    Pelosi (Larry)
    Barney Frank (Curly or Shrimp, take your pick)

    September 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Kayla

    From one dumb Republican to another. They stick together.

    September 15, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Allie

    What a mess the Republican Party has become. Sad.

    September 15, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. LARRY

    Proving once again just how screwed up the GOP really is.

    September 15, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. TangledThorns

    More lies against Palin, so sad as the Left will eat this up. Oh well, she'll easily defeat Obama in 2012!

    September 15, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Jeb

    I'll bet they are disputing it.

    September 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. R. Williams

    Well, if he met her three weeks before she was chosen, he certainly knew her well (he says sarcastically).

    September 15, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Moderate Democrat

    Who wasn't aware of the biggest supporter of the "Bridge to No-where"? But yea, Bush didn't know alot of things, wouldn't surprise me if this was just another on the long list of things Bush didn't know.

    ps: He was also introduced to the idea of Planes attacking America, Clinton introduced him to the idea. Bush was ignorant on that one too! Par for the course, republicans never know anything even when they have been told about them. Makes you wonder though, Clinton's intelliigence warned of a likely terrorist attack using planes flown into buildings. Bush's intelligence tells us WMD's in Iraq. So, given the outcomes of each claim, I would say Bush utterly destroyed our intelligence sector.

    September 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Peter

    Its not a wonder Bush did'nt know Palin, this is a party which shoots from the hip and think later!

    September 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Chut Pata

    How could Dubya would have known anything about Sarah? Nobody knew her before her name was picked out from the lottery hat by McCain. LOL. Dubya probably does not even know where Alaska is. har har har.

    September 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. Vigla

    Clearly, Bush's comment was a joke/exaggeration which was misunderstood by the author. The comment about her not being prepared for the national stage was accurate.

    September 15, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Jack

    denial – yeah right....

    September 15, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. katiec

    Let's see. He met her three weeks before she was nominated for VP?
    At at time Mccain had no idea who he was going to pick, and he
    called her "Madam Vice President??
    Something sure fishy here.

    September 15, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. A.B.

    It may or may not be true that Former President George W. Bush was clueless about Sarah Palin, but one thing is obviously true: George W. was clueless about ethics, the nation's welfare and economy. Furthermore, Sarah Palin was just plain clueless about being vice president and clueless about many things in general. John McCain was clueless about the economy and clueless about how to properly vet and select a vice president.

    September 15, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Larry

    Does someone actually care about this NOT news ... ???

    September 15, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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