April 28th, 2010
08:57 PM ET
13 years ago

Townsend: Bush illness investigated, poisoning unlikely

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/28/art.bush.laura.gi.jpg caption="President Bush was likely not poisoned during a 2007 trip to Germany, Frances Townsend said Wednesday."](CNN) – A top aide to former President George W. Bush confirmed Wednesday that he became ill while attending a 2007 meeting with world leaders, but noted that the sickness was likely the result of a virus, and not intentionally poisoned food.

Former first lady Laura Bush suggests in a new memoir that she, her husband, and several aides may have been poisoned during a 2007 visit to Germany for the G8 summit.

Frances Townsend, Bush's Homeland Security adviser and CNN contributor, said there was "no indication" that the President had been poisoned, but doctors and the United States Secret Service did consider the possibility, during an interview broadcast Wednesday on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

"The truth was ultimately we didn't really believe there was a basis to think they were poisoned, but you can understand – you would have thought us not competent if we hadn't considered the possibility and looked at it," Townsend said.

According to the former first lady, doctors and the Secret Service investigated the possibility a poisoning had occurred but were unable to make a definitive conclusion, an account backed up by Townsend.

"As the first lady indicates, the Secret Service, as you can imagine, as more and more of the U.S. delegation are getting sick, they were concerned," Townsend said. "The doctors that tend to the president were on site and looking into it with them. They believed it was just a virus, a local virus."

News reports during that time show the White House did disclose Bush missed a series of morning sessions at the summit because he had contracted an apparent virus, but White House officials did not provide further detail.

"Nearly a dozen members of our delegation were stricken, even George, who started to feel sick during an early morning staff briefing," Mrs. Bush writes in the memoir. "[O]ne of our military aides had difficulty walking and a White House staffer lost all hearing in one ear. Exceedingly alarmed, the Secret Service went on full alert, combing the resort for potential poisons."

"George felt so ill that he met with [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy and did not even stand up to greet him," she continues, adding later, "We never learned if any other delegations became ill, or if ours, mysteriously, was the only one."

–Alex Mooney contributed to this report

Filed under: George W. Bush • Laura Bush • Popular Posts
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. nola70119

    I am far from a Bush fan. Now that you know I am not personally biased towards the Bush Administration: I do not believe Laura Bush is making this up.

    April 29, 2010 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. Brian

    More tales of paranoid delusions from the Bush era...

    April 29, 2010 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  3. Aaron

    Any story needed to sell a book.

    April 29, 2010 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  4. Rickster

    so much for the laura bush please feel sorry for me tour.

    April 29, 2010 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  5. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    I believe it's called "Using specious reasoning to promote a book release". Very similar to "Using specious reasoning to promote an entirely unjustifiable invasion of another country". Must run in the family...

    April 29, 2010 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  6. Ted van Tol

    Paranoid, just like his politics.

    April 29, 2010 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Was any one else from other countRys or is bush trying to sell his book

    April 29, 2010 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  8. Pkm

    i hope the bushes had a lot of pepto bismol pkm

    April 29, 2010 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  9. vs

    Everyone is writing books. After a moron like Palin can have a ghostwriter put together meaningless, base pandering drivel, and make millions, Laura must have said to herself, why not me. As far Bush being poisoned, regardless of the fact that it has no merit and has been dismissed by the secret service, the speculation serves as fodder for Bush loving conspiracy nuts and is a good commercial for selling her book.

    April 29, 2010 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
1 2