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. Buffalo

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

    BINGO!

    September 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. sally

    She has a big time grassroots movement going on right now

    September 15, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. Ed

    Bush is intellectually sterile and hasn't a clue about anything.

    September 15, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Palin 2012

    It amuses me that most people who post in these blogs end up quoting Tina Fey instead of Sarah Palin

    some of you need to show the same maturity of our President that you voted for, and get on with your little lives. Sarah Palin got where she was because of her intelligence, integrity, and willingness to serve.

    September 15, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. james

    lol you libs are so desperate to tear this good women down. its pretty funny imo.

    September 15, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Kim

    Someone tell me why this is considered news.

    September 15, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Trade Freedom for Security, Lose Both

    Sounds like Bush got this one right. No one knew who Palin was and many us wish it was still that way.

    September 15, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Doc SteveO

    The math doesn't add up on this... "Madam Vice President" three weeks before she was selected? Either Bush knew three weeks before McCain did, or somebody's telling a boo-boo. I've got my money on the boo-boo.

    September 15, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. jj

    " 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." Um...this is Bush we're talking about. Doesn't mean anything.

    September 15, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  10. Jackie in Dallas

    And how is this news? One tell-all Republican writing a book about other Republicans.

    President Bush is probably a fairly nice guy, one on one. Now, mind you, the only things I know about his recently is that everytime he is "home" in Dallas , there are traffic jams and Secret Service everywhere, but he probably did know who Ms Palin was. That said, why should we care one way or another whether he did know her?

    September 15, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. carlos, that one

    republican strategy: wait for the bus, then throw them under.........they are not even aware of who worked where...........

    September 15, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. lovable liberal

    "'What is she, the governor of Guam?'" sounds more like sneering than ignorance, though with Duhbya you never can tell.

    September 15, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. John, Brooklyn, New York

    For once I would not have blamed George Bush for have depleted brain cells.

    Question is....does Palin know who George Bush is?

    September 15, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Denis -Toronto

    Who Cares anyways?????????????

    September 15, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. FL for Change

    CNN – you just had to do it. Post another story about Palin. Tsk. Tsk. We all know that "W." didn't have a clue...so who cares that dumb met dumber in Fairbanks???

    September 15, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Karen

    So what. Go away already.

    September 15, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. S M R

    These People can't even keep their lies straight.

    September 15, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Liberal4Obama

    Wow, first time I agree with Dubya... Sarah is the "former" Governor of GUAM and a very bad one at that. LOLz

    September 15, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. S M R

    These two are legends in their own minds.

    September 15, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Can't fault Bush on this one, nobody knew who this idiot was at the time!

    September 15, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. sandy

    Who cares?

    September 15, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Carl from MI

    Nobody cares.... Sarah Palin is a joke, and a stoopid one at that!!

    September 15, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. ronie patrick

    Who cares what Bush says or does. This is a lost cause talking about Bush. There are to many other important issues at hand. Please forget Bush and move on.

    September 15, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I can see why Palin is a big fan of Bush; they both don't see to know much and are ideologues. If he could make it, why can't she? I hope that she doesn't do much beyond rally people to their respective causes; liberals to those causes and conservatives to theirs.

    September 15, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Lori

    I log on to CNN every couple of days during my lunch hour to read the Ticker. I have yet to read one that did not have a story about Sarah Palin. Enough already! Why is this woman still news? Why don't we see stories about Mike Huckabee all the time or Mitt Romney? I will tell you why – BECAUSE THE ELECTION IS OVER! CNN, please talk about stuff that really matters. I am almost to the point of not reading your web-site anymore. I will go read the BBC or NPR where I can read some real news.

    September 15, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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