Who Poisoned the Bushes in 2007?

By
Photo: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

In her upcoming memoir — which, like so many high-profile books, was found on the shelves a week early by a major newspaper — Laura Bush defends her husband's response to Hurricane Katrina, opens up about that time she killed a guy in a car accident, and, most intriguingly, posits that she, the president, and their staff might have been poisoned during the 2007 G8 summit in Germany. According to the Times:


Mrs. Bush also suggests, apparently for the first time, that she, Mr. Bush, and several members of their staff may have been poisoned during a visit to Germany for a G8 Summit. They all became mysteriously sick, and the president was bedridden for part of the trip. The Secret Service investigated the possibility they were poisoned, she writes, but doctors could only conclude that they all contracted a virus. After noting several high-profile poisonings, she wrote, “we never learned if any other delegations became ill, or if ours, mysteriously, was the only one.”

If it was an intentional poisoning, it wasn't very successful. According to contemporaneous news reports, Bush was bedridden for a few hours and was never deemed to be in any dire condition. As the Washington Post reported:


Bush's day started slowly Friday, because he was hit by an apparent virus, White House officials said. After meeting with new French President Nicolas Sarkozy, he went back to bed and missed two morning sessions at the summit. But by midday, a slightly ruddy-looking Bush was back on his schedule and attended a working lunch of G-8 leaders.

"He's not 100 percent, but he felt well enough to return to the talks," said White House counselor Dan Bartlett.

Bartlett also said that whatever Bush's condition was, it was "not serious," while Sarkozy described Bush as "slightly indisposed." But let's assume, for the sake of argument, that it was a poisoning. Who are the main suspects?

• Vladimir Putin — Poisoning people is practically a Russian national pastime.

• Shinzo Abe — The prime minister of Japan may have been looking for payback for the time George H.W. Bush ralphed on Japanese prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa in 1992.

• Angela Merkel — The most likely culprit, however, is the chancellor of Germany. Not only did she host the summit that year, giving her ample access to the Bushes, but she also had a clear motive. Remember that incredibly awkward incident at the G8 one year earlier?


You know how those Germans can hold grudges.

Laura Bush Opens Up About Crash [NYT]