September 23rd, 2009
05:34 PM ET
5 years ago

Former Bush speechwriter: 'no regrets' over memoir

Latimer said on CNN on Wednesday that he has 'no regrets' about writing a tell-all memoir about his time spent in George W. Bush's White House.
Latimer said on CNN on Wednesday that he has 'no regrets' about writing a tell-all memoir about his time spent in George W. Bush's White House.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former speechwriter Matt Latimer said on CNN on Wednesday that he has "no regrets" about writing a tell-all memoir about his time spent in George W. Bush's White House.

Latimer, whose new book, "Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor," just hit bookstores this week, has been under fire from many members of the previous administration for alleging that Bush had never heard of Sarah Palin and that he had called her "not even remotely prepared" for the national stage.

"I think the president made a smart political assessment, which is this is something that Gov. Palin and her family weren't prepared for, the spotlight is going to be thrust on them," Latimer told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I don't know if it was a concern or criticism of the McCain campaign for the way they brought her out, but it was a warning and the president said let's wait a few weeks and see if the bloom's off that rose, meaning it's too soon to tell how Gov. Palin would come across to the American people."

Latimer said his goal was to be a "tape recorder" to show what Bush and other members of his administration were really like. He noted that Bush used "salty language" and recalled a discussion about Hillary Clinton.

"He said something to the effect of, wait until she gets her big behind in this chair, talking about the Oval Office, because most people thought Hillary Clinton would be the next president of the United States. He didn't use the word behind," Latimer said. "But lots of presidents have used salty language before and the president was a very blunt person."

Latimer has received criticism from both sides of the political spectrum for writing the book. Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who worked in the White House under Bill Clinton, called it "deeply wrong" for him to "betray that confidence" while Bush's former press secretary, Dana Perino, said "almost everyone who worked in the White House could not pick Matt out of a lineup."

Latimer defended his decision to write the book and said he's part of a long tradition of former White House employees to write about their experiences.

"You get a lot of privileges when you run for president, but ultimately, you belong, while you're president, to the American people," Latimer said. He added, "I think my book more than any book in recent years has actually shown people that, and I didn't try to hurt anybody, but I didn't try to protect anybody."

Ultimately, Latimer said he doesn't regret writing the memoir and said it "speaks to what's wrong with Washington right now."

"I have no regrets," Latimer said. "I told the truth as I saw it and I want the American people to read the book and decide for themselves on whether I was in the room or not."


Filed under: George W. Bush • The Situation Room
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. G2

    Hope this guy makes a lot of money on this book because no one will ever trust him enough to hire him again.

    September 23, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Mason

    Who cares. What he said about Palin and Obama proved to be correct.

    September 23, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. Robert Austin, Texas

    Another book about the Worst President Ever.
    I don't need to read about it, I had to live through it.

    September 23, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. Greta

    I wonder how many of these people will cash in on obama after he is out of office?

    This is an example of a "peson who bites the hand that feeds him"

    September 23, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  5. Artie

    A Bush speechwriter talking to CNN . I smell a rat or somebody just selling books and taking a swipe at Palin at Cnn 's behest!

    September 23, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. Otto

    I have to read that book as I want to know what Bush thought of himself. Something like, how the heck did I get here? Did they not know I failed at every company I managed? How insane are the voters and what is it they like about me? Is it my quirky smile?

    It would be priceless to be a fly on the wall in the Bush administration; what a riot!

    September 23, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Ren from Baltimore

    Let Bush rest in peace. It turns out it was Cheney all the time. End of story on W.

    September 23, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. John

    this guy is a sell-out..... I don't care which side of the aisle you are on.... you don't do it this way. Even Paul Begala is sticking up for Bush..... shows you just how in-the-wrong this guy is doesn't it?

    Just another quick-buck book..... who cares what Bush said about Hillary....

    And by the way..... nobody will ever hire you again, Matt.... Good luck with that.....

    September 23, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. The Reformist

    Pleazzze! It didn't take any smarts to realize Sarah Palin has sub-par intelligence and would be totally unpreparede for center stage. The minute she opens her mouth everyone but die hard right-wing dopes realize how little she knows.

    September 23, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. joann moceri

    I hope the book tells how Bush kept the US safe for his term in office. Shame on this guy. Until you sit in the office of President know one can judge. We will see what Obama will put us through and who will write about it. I'm sure what Bush said about Hillary was dead on.

    September 23, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. Gerry

    This jerk needs to tatoo a big L on his forehead. What a looser.

    September 23, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  12. David from WI

    yeah yeah yeah... Bush is an idiot and Palin is a twit....

    sure..... and all those at the tea party protests are nazi racists senile seniors (good luck with that one)......

    The far left Dems are well on their way to sink the once great Democrat party.

    Have fun..... 2010 here we come.

    September 23, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. lila

    I thought it was low class. And I did not like Bush as our nations leader, even a little bit. But I know that it would upset me to have my private conversations made public so some low life could make a fast dime. Even if I don't respect Bush as a leader, I think he deserves respect as a fellow human.

    September 23, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. whaley41

    With friends like this, who needs enemies?? Just another two-faced turn coat.

    September 23, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. Southerner

    Please John, half of the people in the White House write books after they leave. Dont act like this is new. I believe the kid and if it is true, Perino has no use in liying to the American People saying so what.
    Everyone who criticizes this kid is pretty much saying... "So What??" Kind of like who cares what the president said, this kid should still not be repeating it. I say, Repeat it, tell us more about how bad this past President was.

    September 23, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  16. Ken in NC

    Many of us took pot shots at lots of things W. did in his 8 years and that's OK because we all saw "Poor George" as "Poor George" but this guy was a trusted insider. What this guy did was wrong. I hope he enjoys his 15 minutes of fame because he's gonna spend a lot more time looking for work than George. I wouldn't hire the likes of him to water my grass without a hose.

    September 23, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. mjm

    I can't wait until the teleprompter writes a book.

    Democrats should really worry about themselves right now. They have all the power and so far they are stinking up the joint.

    Let’s see the Democrats get unemployment to 5-6% like the Republicans had from 2001-2006. Then they can pop off all they want about Palin and Bush.

    September 23, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. cfoster

    What a scumbag? I am ot a Bush fan but somethings should be kept in confidence. I think anyoe would sell out for a buck these days..

    September 23, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. bettie

    I hope this guy sells a zillion books. The truth needs to be told about the Shrub and his lazy administration.

    September 23, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. annie against biased news

    Have no clue if what this person wrote is true or not but doubt it – as long as sleaze bags are making money they don't care what they say. Wouldn't read a book about bush anymore than I would read the garbage books obama wrote.

    September 23, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  21. Ancient Texan

    Another turncoat, sleeze bag trying to sell a trashy book. Scott McClellen was the most pathetic of the Bash Bush freaks to date, but Latimer can possibly top him as the greatest waste of protopalsm.

    September 23, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  22. rev

    I'm glad to see someone with the cojones to stand up and say 'The King Has No Clothes!" Bush was an imbecile – this we all know. But it's now nice to see more humanistic examples of precisely HOW he was an imbecile. Good luck with the book, Mr. Latimer!

    September 23, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  23. m smith

    Who cares

    September 23, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  24. Fitz in Texas

    "deeply wrong"......wow, I actually agree with Paul Begala on something.

    September 23, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  25. No Incumbents 2010

    Matt Latimer is just trying to tell us the truth about his experience in the White House, from his vantage point. There is nothing wrong with that. He has no duty to be silent the rest of his life. History will thank him for discussing his time with Bush.

    September 23, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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