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Bush on the Couch

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He Is Not a Crook
By Melvin Laird, counselor to President Nixon

There are those who want to draw parallels between George W. Bush and Richard Nixon. But for those of us who were in the White House with Nixon, the differences could not be starker. I resigned as Defense secretary at the beginning of the second Nixon term in 1973. My intent was to fade quietly into private life, but I began hearing reports the White House was paralyzed by Watergate and Nixon had withdrawn into a cocoon. So I accepted his offer to become a senior adviser and member of his Cabinet. But especially after I confronted Nixon with the truth I soon discovered about Watergate, I rarely saw the president. There were many presidential documents in the files from those months that were signed but barely noticed by Nixon, as he was too occupied with Watergate. George Bush has problems of his own, but he is not down, nor is he out. Bush is an inveterate optimist with a strong sense of self. He wants Congress and Americans to give him the time, resources, and freedom of action to get the job done in Iraq as he sees fit. But the result is that the public and Congress are left out of the thinking process.


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