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. Palin Power

    Palin will become President. Her book will surpass Obambi's book sales and propel her to the White House. The whole world will fall in love with Palin and adopt Palinist Conservatism as their political ideology over their current leftist ideologies. Left is always wrong and Right is always right and correct.

    September 15, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. notfooledbydistractions

    "Bush told aides that the then-Alaska governor was "not even remotely prepared" for the national stage."

    Funny, neither was he. If his last name had been Smith, he would never have been selected president.

    And just look at the damage old GW Albatross did to this country. He has some nerver criticizing anyone.

    September 15, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. CensoredLikeIranByCNN

    Was Jason Recher with Bush 24/7? I am sure Bush would have said those remarks, after all he likes fart jokes.... enough said.

    September 15, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. God

    Clueless 1 clueless about Clueless 2. What a political party, eh?

    September 15, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. RRRUSA

    The bigger point is that Palin is now...NOTHING. Not governor, not mayor, not credible. And Bush really was correct...she IS unprepared for any national political stage. Can't wait for the book to come out to confirm all of this!

    September 15, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. sara-fl

    Is Sarah Palin still paling around with her new commies, that's what should be in the headlines. It's not a secret anymore, ...shhhhh...Missy is palin around with commies........come you kiss of death panels.....Hahahaha....what a joke this woman is.

    September 15, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. demwit

    Matt Latimer wants to sell books to the progressively naive .., go figure.

    September 15, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Richie

    Much ado about nobody.

    September 15, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. julie

    Those who disrespect Gov. Palin are only disrespecting themselves. If there were a compilation (and there may be somewhere) of all the unprecedented vitriolic slander directed at this absolutely charming intelligent and RESPECTFUL woman, it would deserve a place of honor in a Hall Of Shame.
    I have come to the conclusion that certain types of people need scapegoats and sacrificial victims to satisfy some kind of atavistic sadism that compels them to attack what is beautiful and good. Any NORMAL human being, would be able to see that Sarah Palin is a down to earth good person and agree or disagree with her policies and positions, afford the high respect that is her DUE, that she DESERVES, for her honest work on behalf of the American People and her lifelong efforts to live in a loving, intelligent and moral life.

    September 15, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Alan

    And uh - let's see - Bush did such a GREAT JOB running the country we should listen to him about Palin and Obama? I'd say, if he liked Palin and HATED Obama - that's good news. That means we're on the right track.

    Whatever G.W. doesn't want...I want. Period.

    Again - I haven't seen ANY evidence that the GOP is concerned with ANYTHING except re-election. Sure - that's what all poticians do. But most understand you have to DO SOMETHING WORTHWHILE to keep the job. GOP doesn't get this.

    September 15, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. sammieb51

    Bush didn't comment directly on these speculative comments / recollections, significant omittance. I have a tendancy to think his reactions, even as bungled a job as he did as president, would have been that she was not ready for the office. After all, Alaska has what, 600,000 people total - let me see, as populated as Ft. Myers FL? - and then she quit that because it was too much for her and oh yeah, Katy's questions were too hard for her! Yeah, she is/was sooo ready to lead the free world.

    September 15, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their follishness.

    It was a plain fact that George Bush knew when his dad gave the order to the Adjutant General State of Texas to have Colonel Hullum Air Guard Commander to clean-up little George's Air Guard records because he was going political. I know because I was there in the Army National Guard working next door and listening to the Colonel's outrage of he was not going to do it. A man's military record was his personal military record not to be changed. He however lost on that one because of higher up's demanding he do it or lose his career.

    September 15, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. FAYE, NV

    Sarah and Bush should be friend, both are clueless, she is more so.

    September 15, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. james

    the two things about Sarah Palin that I don't think have been adequately appreciated are, number one, if you look at the numbers, she really wasn't that different than Barack Obama in terms of experience and time in office, and [things] like that. The real big difference between the two was she hadn't campaigned non-stop for two years, and had she campaigned non-stop on the national stage for two years she'd have been just as polished as Barack Obama. She's a phenomenal politician and there's no better retail politician on the planet than Sarah Palin with a microphone in front of a crowd. So I think the big experience gap was the one that is about running on a national ticket—he had a lot more experience there and it showed up.

    September 15, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. BJ mpls mn

    CNN should make sure they report things honestly-Did Matt Latimer really say that about Bush. I don't think so. That is why Cnn is losing listener to their station-cause you can not believe what they say any more. Check thinks out and go to the person and asked them. Same with them reporting the someone in Palin ralley howl out kill him–It was not someone that was their for Palin but it was your own reporter that did that. Same as that lady that said white men are carring gun and might hurt Obama-it wasnt a white man it turn out to be a blk man they showed. Come on state checking out doublely-we only want the truth not what CNN wants was to believe. We dont want DAN RATHER REPORTING any more.

    September 15, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hi Sarah. I have'nt met you but feel that we have a 'relationship' of sorts.

    In other news....Kudos and hats off to Rep. Barny Frank for finally giving the share-a-tooth crowd a taste of it's own tasteless, and boorish medicine. Yes, okay, if he'd been a RepthugliKlan I probably would'nt be as enthusiastic in my praise. LOL

    September 15, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. sally

    sarah palin is a very smart women. She has great Management skill, and gets people moving.

    September 15, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  18. lucy

    as a Hispanic, and Here in Nevada we love GOV. Sarah Palin I Hope she runs in 2012. She is the American dream we want to follow. A nation of self made people, and not welfare handouts.

    September 15, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. juliee

    I love Sarah palin’s no-nonsense approach to the issues. She’s not one of these good ole boy types that does nothing but worry about how many pet projects he or she might get.

    September 15, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. sally

    For the best sarah news go to Conservitives4palin

    September 15, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Palin 2012

    Those who disrespect Gov. Palin are only disrespecting themselves. If there were a compilation (and there may be somewhere) of all the unprecedented vitriolic slander directed at this absolutely charming intelligent and RESPECTFUL woman, it would deserve a place of honor in a Hall Of Shame.
    I have come to the conclusion that certain types of people need scapegoats and sacrificial victims to satisfy some kind of atavistic sadism that compels them to attack what is beautiful and good. Any NORMAL human being, would be able to see that Sarah Palin is a down to earth good person and agree or disagree with her policies and positions, afford the high respect that is her DUE, that she DESERVES, for her honest work on behalf of the American People and her lifelong efforts to live in a loving, intelligent and moral life.

    September 15, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. juliee

    There is absolutely no reason to show disrespect to Sarah here. I’m getting tired of relentless attacks by MSM on her even after the election. It only shows how scared the liberal establishment is.

    September 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  23. Bob Fleming

    If he was aware of her and didn't use his influence to keep her off of the ticket, he did the Republican Party a great disservice.

    I was a McCain supporter until he let the right wing of the Party force him to put her on the ticket.

    September 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. Palin 2012

    Gov. Sarah Palin would have been a great president. It’s to bad uniformed Americans bought into the myth that sarah palin was unqualified, and did not bother to research her record PALIN 2012

    September 15, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. sara-fl

    hey Cnn...everytime you write about this dump nitwitt, who's done nothing to contribute but death panels and scare tatics stop reporting on her.....she's annoying...not cute anymore! Please stop it!

    September 15, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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