President Bush enjoys off – the – record lunches with favored journalists from time to time. One of the rules for the occasion provides for absolutely no direct quotations, but allows for reference to the matters discussed. At a recent lunch, Bush seemed more buoyant and especially interested in presidential politics and the 2008 election. He expects Hillary Rodham Clinton to win the Democratic nomination and probably the general election. He did not seem too perturbed by the prospect. He indicated that the Democratic candidates were coming around to his point of view on the Iraq war and that Hillary would continue his Iraq policy once she appreciates the dangers and difficulties. What may have caught Bush’s attention was Hillary’s statement that she “hoped” to withdraw troops by 2013 as well as her plan for a residual US military force. Here is Hillary’s latest plan for a residual U.S. force of undetermined size in Iraq with no time limit: To protect the U.S.Embassy and other U.S. installations: to train the Iraqi army, to fight insurgents, and to deter Iran.
Bush thinks that a Democratic President continuing the occupation would validate his Iraq policy and restore his reputation and standing in history. His model is President Harry Truman, like Bush lowly regarded at the end of his presidency, now a hero of the Cold War in some history books. Bush hinted at some back channel advice emanating from the White House to the Clinton campaign.
Could it be from Bush to his father to buddy Bill Clinton to Hillary?