Inside the Weird World of George W. Bush

The Mirror (London, England), January 9, 2003 | Go to article overview

Inside the Weird World of George W. Bush


Byline: RICHARD WALLACE US Editor in New York

HIS male staff must only wear blue or grey suits and women should avoid bright colours HIS aides must not drink, swear, smoke or eat food late at night HIS staff's attendance at Bible study is 'not quite uncompulsory' HE'S obsessed with turning off lights to save electricity HE has a poor memory for facts HE'S confused,impatient,moody, evangelical,short-tempered, uncurious,forgetful,glib .. and President of the United States

GEORGE Bush is bad-tempered, ignorant and desperate for approval from his mother, according to an extraordinary new book.

His former speechwriter David Frum, a Canadian right-winger who coined the infamous phrase "axis of evil", paints a disturbing picture of a president and his White House.

And in curious parallels with his arch enemy Saddam Hussein, the world's most powerful man comes across as confused, tightly wound, prone to mood swings and obsessed with petty detail.

"He is often uncurious and as a result ill-informed," says Frum, whose description of Iraq, Iran and North Korea set the administration agenda after September 11.

And he discloses: "Bush had a poor memory for facts and figures."

The book - The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W. Bush - is the first insider account of the Bush regime and reveals how the White House is run on strict, almost military lines, a so-called "culture of evangelism".

When Frum joined the president's staff he discovered "this was a White House where attendance at Bible study was, if not compulsory, not quite uncompulsory".

He reveals that Bush, "an intense Christian", credits God with keeping him off the booze and that cabinet meetings routinely begin with a prayer.

Shortly after the September 11 attacks, the president summoned five religious leaders - three Christian, one Muslim and one Jewish - to the Oval Office and asked them to pray for him.

Then he offered this confession: "You know, I had a drinking problem. Right now I should be in a bar in Texas, not the Oval Office.

"There is only one reason that I am in the Oval Office and not in a bar. I found faith. I found God. I am here because of the power of prayer."

Frum, 42, repeatedly mentions how Bush and various aides are constantly thanking God, beseeching God's help and urging others to pray on their behalf.

It mirrors Saddam's habit of regularly referencing Allah in his every action and speech.

Bush aides may not drink, swear or smoke, and late-night fast food is forbidden. Even a mild 'damn it' is frowned upon.

In a series of Saddam-style dictats, men must wear blue or grey suits and women must try to avoid brightly coloured clothes.

The president, who likes to be in bed by 10.30pm, is also obsessed about saving electricity, often walking around the White House turning off lights.

Frum jokes: "The television show The West Wing might as well have been set aboard a Klingon starship for all it resembled life inside the Bush White House. …

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