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

Former Bush speechwriter: 'no regrets' over memoir

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Anne Lombard

    Wow, what a great time to be in the White House, How tough that must have been, no choice, he had to do a tell all, but we all knew the same thing he knew, funny isn't it? ANd he got paid to write it.

    September 23, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  2. are we near the end of tell all with Bush?

    with out digging into the administration like this tell all book does, it is easy to see that Bush was just a bad choice the American people made, and the evil one Cheney just inflicted so much damage on the U.S. as a result of a dim witted pres. Bush

    that said, these books about what went on are nice evidence and add to something else to prove how such bad decisions got made, but the right wing will not be deterred. So it is just amusing, but doesn't change anything, as sad as it is to write that.

    September 23, 2009 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  3. Farrell in Houston

    Dick Cheney has slandered everybody he can to save his own you know what and he was VP. Bush and Cheney deserve whatever is disclosed about them, they have killed thousands of young Americans based on lies, but they are the forgotten. They too deserve the truth be told.

    September 23, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  4. Gary

    The more I read about Bush, the more normal and reasonable he seems. The more extreme policies that Obama and Pelosi force on us, the more reasonable the Bush policies seem. I can't believe I'm saying this but we were better off with Bush!

    September 23, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  5. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Sounds like he pegged President Bush just about right. What's wrong with telling it like it is?

    September 23, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  6. Lola

    If Dana Perino says that no one would recognize this guy from a line-up, it goes to show how hungry he is for fame and money. For a former speechwriter to cash in on the US President's private conversations is very low. He has no class. It goes the same for the CNBC employee who tweeted about President Obama's comment on Kanye West. That's probably because I still regard the office of the presidency with utmost respect, regardless of who is the sitting president. It's sad how our society no longer considers anything taboo, sacred, respected, etc.

    September 23, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. Joe M

    Going to be a great book...And SHRUB wont like it....

    September 23, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
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