Bush Takes the High Road on Cheney's Book

Former president says he encourages different views on his administration.

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Former President George W. Bush is taking a tolerant view of a new book by his vice president, Dick Cheney. Bush told Fox and Friends this morning that he encourages members of his administration to give their version of events during his eight-year presidency, even if they disagree.

In his book, In My Time, Cheney has some negative things to say about former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, which they dispute. But Bush said, "I'm glad members of my 'family' are giving their version of what it was like to serve the country...I did the same thing. I put my version out there" in a memoir published last year. [Vote: Is Cheney Taking Cheap Shots in His New Memoir?]

Bush repeated his long-time assessment that it will take many years to put his administration into proper perspective. "Eventually objective historians will analyze our administration and draw objective conclusions," he said.

He declined to give his preference on who should be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, saying that he will "remain an observer, an interested observer." And he didn't criticize his Democratic successor, Barack Obama.

Cheney hasn't been so restrained. In an interview with CNBC's Larry Kudlow broadcast last night, Cheney blamed Obama for the current weak economy. He said the Obama administration "has added as much to the debt in two and a half years as we did in eight years. The fact of the matter is if we talk about unrestrained spending and a lack of discipline with respect to spending, I think the Obama administration's record is the worst we've seen." [See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]

The former vice president added: "Sooner or later it becomes your economy, and I think we're to that point now. [Obama is] going to be measured very much next year against his perfomance."

There is of course, another interpretation to all of this. It could be that Bush and Cheney are simply following the pattern they established when they were in office: Bush tries to remain above they fray while Cheney is the attack dog.

  • See a photo gallery of Bush’s legacy.
  • Check out a roundup of editorial cartoons on the economy.
  • Read Susan Milligan: Dick Cheney's Book Is Less Memoir Than Caricature