Cheney Wasn't Puppetmaster, Say Bush Aides

Members of inner circle rip beliefs about presidency as 'hooey'

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 2, 2009 5:32 AM CST

(Newser) – Popular beliefs about the Bush presidency are way off the mark, a pair of top advisers who served throughout the administration tell the Washington Post. The idea that Vice President Dick Cheney wielded unprecedented power and pulled the strings on Bush's foreign policy is "just hooey," said Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten.

The image of an out-of-touch president insulated from bad news is also pure myth, according to National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, who recalls giving Bush briefings on US casualites at 7 am sharp each morning during the darkest days of the Iraq war. Both men say their boss is a lot smarter, more humble, and more humane than he is portrayed, and regret the failure of their efforts to boost his popularity.

Vice President Dick Cheney looks on as President Bush makes comments after meeting with the Counterterrorism Team in Washington last year.
Vice President Dick Cheney looks on as President Bush makes comments after meeting with the Counterterrorism Team in Washington last year.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Vice President Dick Cheney watches as President Bush delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress last year.
Vice President Dick Cheney watches as President Bush delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress last year.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Vice President Dick Cheney looks on as President Bush speaks after meeting with the Counterterrorism Team in Washington last year.
Vice President Dick Cheney looks on as President Bush speaks after meeting with the Counterterrorism Team in Washington last year.   (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, right, has a word with White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten before the arrival  of President Bush in Washington last year.
National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, right, has a word with White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten before the arrival of President Bush in Washington last year.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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One of the mythologies is that it was the vice president that somehow was pulling the strings on foreign policy in the first term and made it very ideologically driven. - White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten

This is the one thing that just drives me crazy, that somehow this is an arrogant administration, an arrogant president running an arrogant policy. This guy—one thing he is not is arrogant. - Stephen Handley

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