Inaccuracies in Matt Latimer's new book — Speech-less
Dana Perino, writing on the National Review's website said: "I knew Matt only a little bit. Now that an excerpt of his book is out, I'm reminded of what a veteran of three White Houses told me:
Beware of the quiet guy in the room. ... For example, he writes that President Bush didn't know who Sarah Palin was. That's rubbish — Bush had just met Palin the previous month in Alaska, and he mentioned that to me literally two seconds after McCain made his announcement. So much of what Latimer claims the president said don't ring true to me.
I was with the president for whole days at a time, through thick and thin, and I never heard him say things like that about others. ...I'm pretty sure that almost everyone who worked in the White House could not pick Matt out of a lineup, and I doubt that'll change much after this book. Speechless should have been called 'Shameless.'" . . .
John Fund at the WSJ's Political Diary more positively discusses part of the book:
A new book by Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer, "Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor," describes a conversation that Mr. Latimer had before the president addressed the annual CPAC conference, the largest gathering of conservative activists in the country. Mr. Bush objected to language in the draft of his remarks that attempted to identify the president with the conservative "movement."
"What is this movement you keep talking about in the speech?" the president asked Mr. Latimer. His aide explained that he meant the conservative movement, but quickly realized the president didn't understand. So Mr. Latimer launched into an explanation, only to meet silence from the president.
"Let me tell you something," the president finally said. "I whupped Gary Bauer's ass in 2000. So take out all this movement stuff. There is no movement."
Mr. Latimer said he found it surprising that the president seemed to equate the conservative movement, which has a proud pedigree stretching back to Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater, with the candidacy of Mr. Bauer, a second-tier figure who had little impact on the 2000 presidential primaries. Mr. Bush, sensing his speechwriter was perplexed, finally filled in the blanks. "Look, I know this probably sounds arrogant to say," Mr. Bush said, "but I redefined the Republican Party."
That may have been true, but how well did that work out for the Republican Party?