District of Corruption

Dubya's White Guilt Despair

What do you think George W. Bush considers to be the "all-time low" of his presidency? Suffering the 9/11 attacks? Not finding weapons of mass destruction? The persistence of the Iraqi insurgency? His party's losses in the 2006 midterms? 

If you guessed any of these, you just don't understand George W. Bush. 

By Bill Chappell
National Public Radio

Former President George W. Bush says that Kanye West's insinuation that he is a racist, made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, still stings today — and that the episode was the "all-time low" point of his presidency.

Bush's long-delayed reaction to West's ad-libbed comment that "George Bush doesn’t care about black people," made during a live TV benefit show for hurricane survivors, is from an interview the former president taped with Matt Lauer of NBC.

Here's the exchange, from an early transcript the network released, as quoted by Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly:

“He called me a racist,” Bush tells Lauer. “And I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now. It’s one thing to say, ‘I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.’ It’s another thing to say, ‘This man’s a racist.’ I resent it, it’s not true.”

Lauer quotes from Bush’s new book: “Five years later I can barely write those words without feeling disgust.” Lauer adds, “You go on: ‘I faced a lot of criticism as president. I didn’t like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all-time low.’

President Bush responds: “Yeah. I still feel that way as you read those words. I felt ‘em when I heard ‘em, felt ‘em when I wrote ‘em, and I felt ‘em when I’m listening to ‘em.

Lauer: “You say you told Laura at the time it was the worst moment of your presidency?”

Bush: “Yes. My record was strong, I felt, when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And it was a disgusting moment.”