History Buzz August 29, 2011: Reviews — Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s No Holds Bar Memoir of the Bush Administration “In My Time” — Will Have “Heads exploding all over Washington”

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History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

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HISTORY BOOK NEWS: FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY’S NO HOLDS BAR MEMOIR ON THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION

IN MY TIME A Personal and Political Memoir By Dick Cheney with Liz Cheney Illustrated. 565 pages. Simon & Shuster, Threshold Editions. $35.

Browse & Search Inside, Full Text of Dick Cheney’s IN MY TIME A Personal and Political Memoir

In this eagerly anticipated memoir, former Vice President Dick Cheney delivers an unyielding portrait of American politics over nearly forty years and shares personal reflections on his role as one of the most steadfast and influential statesmen in the history of our country.
The public perception of Dick Cheney has long been something of a contradiction. He has been viewed as one of the most powerful vice presidents—secretive, even mysterious, and at the same time opinionated and unflinchingly outspoken. He has been both praised and attacked by his peers, the press, and the public. Through it all, courting only the ideals that define him, he has remained true to himself, his principles, his family, and his country. Now in an enlightening and provocative memoir, a stately page-turner with flashes of surprising humor and remarkable candor, Dick Cheney takes readers through his experiences as family man, policymaker, businessman, and politician during years that shaped our collective history….
Eyewitness to history at the highest levels, Cheney brings to life scenes from past and present. He describes driving through the White House gates on August 9, 1974, just hours after Richard Nixon resigned, to begin work on the Ford transition; and he portrays a time of national crisis a quarter century later when, on September 11, 2001, he was in the White House bunker and conveyed orders to shoot down a hijacked airliner if it would not divert.
With its unique perspective on a remarkable span of American history, In My Time will enlighten. As an intimate and personal chronicle, it will surprise, move, and inspire. Dick Cheney’s is an enduring political vision to be reckoned with and admired for its honesty, its wisdom, and its resonance. In My Time is truly the last word about an incredible political era, by a man who lived it and helped define it—with courage and without compromise. — Publisher Description, Simon & Shuster

    • Cheney’s memoir: heads really did explode: Critics – including former Secretary of State Colin Powell – fulminate over Dick Cheney’s memoir.
      “Even the cover [of Dick Cheney’s memoir] is daunting,” writes US News and World Report critic Susan Milligan, noting that it features “a grimacing Cheney inside the White House, looking like he’s deliberately trying to scare away the tourists.”
      Dick Cheney’s anticipated book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” hit bookstores today and – no surprise – like the man himself, it’s already creating a stir.
      The 46th vice president spends the bulk of the book, co-written with his daughter, Liz Cheney, defending his controversial policies and practices, promising more than once that he has no regrets and would repeat his actions “in a heartbeat.”… – CS Monitor, 8-30-11

“Not only do [critics] want apologies. They want the apologies to be on matters they disagreed with you on — on policy.
It’s not good enough if you say, ‘Well, when I was a young man, I had a misspent youth. I got kicked out of Yale twice, arrested twice for driving under the influence.’ I had to straighten my life out. It’s a pretty big mistake that I admit, and talk about very freely in my book. That’s not good enough: It’s got to be some policy issue where they disagreed with you. And I’m not apologetic with respect to the policies of the Bush administration. I think we basically got it right.
I didn’t say no mistakes. But … from the standpoint of what I wanted to put down, what I knew about, what I was intimately involved in, I think we got it right.” — Former Vice President Dick Cheney in an Interview with Politico

    • Dick Cheney’s last campaign: ‘We got it right’: His last campaign is an unyielding defense of his legacy, after years of reveling in what he calls his “Darth Vader image.” Dick Cheney says he knew critics and historians would tear apart his new book, but that he wrote it so his seven grandchildren would know why he did what he did…. – Politico, 8-31-11
    • Dick Cheney versus Colin Powell: Memoir feeds the feud: Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s new memoir, ‘In My Time,’ has passages critical of Colin Powell. The former secretary of State took his shots on Sunday, and Cheney is jabbing back.
      Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday defended the way he treats ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell in his new memoir “In My Time”.
      Mr. Cheney told interviewer Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” that while there are passages in the book critical of Mr. Powell, there are also chapters about how well the pair worked together at the Pentagon when Cheney was secretary of Defense and Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
      “So there’s a lot of very positive stuff in there. But a balanced account, I think, also required me to put down what my opinion was, and that’s what I’ve done,” said the ex-veep.
      Cheney’s memoir is being officially released Tuesday. Among its most notable overall themes is that the Bush administration cabinet was a team of rivals, a group of antagonists who disagreed with each other – or at least with Vice President Cheney – and fought and backstabbed in the best Washington bureaucratic traditions…. – CS Monitor, 8-30-11
    • Leaving Regrets to Others, Cheney Speaks: In an interview on NBC’s “Dateline,” former Vice President Dick Cheney says that his new book, “In My Time,” will have “heads exploding all over Washington.” Whatever readers think of Mr. Cheney’s politics, their heads are more likely to explode from frustration than from any sense of revelation. Indeed, the memoir — delivered in dry, often truculent prose — turns out to be mostly a predictable mix of spin, stonewalling, score settling and highly selective reminiscences.
      The book, written with his daughter Liz, reiterates Mr. Cheney’s aggressive approach to foreign policy and his hard-line views on national security, while sidestepping questions about many of the Bush administration’s more controversial decisions, either by cherry-picking information (much the way critics say the White House cherry-picked intelligence in making the case to go to war against Iraq) or by hopping and skipping over awkward subjects with loudly voiced assertions. It’s ironic that Mr. Cheney — who succeeded in promulgating so many of his policy ideas through his sheer mastery of bureaucratic detail — should have written a book that is often so lacking in detail that it feels like a blurred photograph…. – NYT, 8-26-11
    • Cheney’s memoir: few apologies, some evasion, and critical words for Condi Rice: An early review of Cheney’s “In My Time” suggests that readers of the memoir will react more with frustration than with anger. In Cheney’s view of history, the war in Iraq was one of the most significant accomplishments of the Bush administration. … – CS Monitor, 8-25-11
    • Dick Cheney memoir ‘In My Times’ has no apologies: Former Vice President Dick Cheney takes quite a few shots — and makes no apologies — in his long-anticipated autobiography, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” which will be out Tuesday. The book, written with his daughter Liz Cheney…. – Politico, 8-26-11
    • Expected and Unexpected: Dick Cheney’s Memoir Edition: According to his memoir, In My Time, which was “obtained” before its release next week by the New York Times, Dick Cheney urged President George W. Bush to bomb a Syrian … – New York Magazine, 8-25-11
    • Dick Cheney Adds Cable News, CBS and ‘The View’ to His Book Tour Schedule: Former Vice President Dick Cheney is preparing to embark on a major book tour media blitz… – mediabistro.com, 8-25-11
    • Cheney Gears Up Publicity Tour for Memoir: Former Vice President Dick Cheney will emerge from private life next week for a publicity blitz surrounding his 576-page memoir, “In My Time,” and there are few major media outlets in print, radio and television that he will overlook. … – NYT, 8-24-11
    • Bush, Cheney, Rice steal the headlines: Former vice president Dick Cheney is stealing the headlines with his upcoming book, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir. The book hits the stands next week but is already being previewed. Cheney’s unapologetic memoirs defend his administration’s most controversial decisions, including its allegation that Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa to build weapons of mass destruction, the surge of additional troops into Iraq and the use of harsh interrogation tactics to get information from suspected terrorists…. – USA Today, 8-26-11

“I didn’t set out to embarrass the president or not embarrass the president. If you look at the book, there are many places in it where I say some very fine things about George Bush. And believe every word of it.” — Dick Cheney, 70, told NBC’s Jamie Gangel in an intervoiew airing August 29, 2011

    • Dick Cheney says memoir will have heads ‘exploding’: Dick Cheney is already promising there will be “heads exploding all over Washington” when his new book hits stores Tuesday.
      The 46th vice president made that declaration in an interview with NBC — portions of which were aired on the Today Show Wednesday morning — as he embarked on a media blitz to promote the book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir.”
      The memoir discusses Cheney’s health, the Sept. 11 attacks, his secret resignation letter, and his thoughts about President George W. Bush and other prominent characters from the Bush White House, NBC reports…. – LAT, 8-25-11
    • A political junkie’s guide to Cheney’s memoir: Since the book leaked, much of the coverage on Dick Cheney’s memoir has focused on the portions he devotes to national security and foreign affairs during his time as vice president. But Cheney’s political career began well before 2000…. – Politico, 8-28-11
    • Dick Cheney’s reading list: A man’s character lives in the books he loves. So perhaps the search for the soul of Dick Cheney should lead to the books that mean enough to him to merit a mention in his new memoir, “In My Time,” which is due out Tuesday. … – WaPo, 8-26-11
    • Dick Cheney’s book is different and it’s because he’s the author: In this book cover image released by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” by Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, is shown. (AP Photo/Threshold Editions) (Anonymous – AP) Dick Cheney’s new book has set off a predictable beehive of political gossip in Washington, as the eight years of the Bush administration and its actors are again being prosecuted in the court of public opinion.
      The former vice president’s book, which is harshly critical of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former CIA director George Tenet and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, follows in a long line of political tell-alls from the people involved….
      But Cheney’s memoir could be quite different — if it’s actually the kind of pull-no-punches tell-all that it’s supposed to be — and it’s potential for shock-and-awe has everything to do with the author…. – WaPo, 8-25-11
    • ‘In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir’ by Dick Cheney: If this book were read by an intelligent person who spent the past 10 years on, say, Mars, she would have no idea that Dick Cheney was the vice president in one of the most hapless American administrations of modern times. There are hints, to be sure, that things did not always go swimmingly under President George W. Bush and Cheney, but these are surrounded by triumphalist accounts of events that many readers — and future historians — are unlikely to consider triumphs.
      This is not surprising. The genre of statesman’s memoir rarely produces self-criticism, or even much candor. Apparently, the point is to redeem your large advance from the publisher with a brisk, self-complimenting account of your life and times, with emphasis on your moment in the limelight. There should, of course, be a dash of “news” and a few frank passages about your true feelings — about others, not yourself.
      For Cheney and his daughter Liz, whom Cheney describes as “my collaborator and the CEO of our book team,” the only real point of writing about the vice presidential years is to make clear how right Cheney always was, and how wrongheaded were his critics and bureaucratic rivals. More than once he tells us he would do again exactly what he did the first time, “in a heartbeat.” He acknowledges no serious regrets about anything.
      This big book is not just about being vice president. Its first 255 pages are devoted to Cheney’s eventful life before the day Bush asked him to lead the effort to find him the right running mate for the 2000 campaign…. – WaPo, 8-29-11
    • In memoir, Cheney defends decisions, Bush as president: Former vice president Richard B. Cheney provides an unapologetic defense of the George W. Bush administration in his memoir to be released next week, including explanations of his own decisions on contested national … – WaPo, 8-26-11
    • ‘In My Time’: Dick Cheney’s Unapologetic Memoir: Call it spin, score settling or setting the record straight: Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s new memoir of his extraordinary political career is out next week. Robert Siegel talks with Charlie Savage of the New York Times. … – NPR, 8-26-11
    • Dick Cheney memoir ‘In My Time’ already making waves: Dick Cheney’s memoir “In My Time,” to be published next week, tells the story of Cheney’s time in Washington and the White House. While the title of the book might indicate he was in charge, he was a two-term vice president under George W. Bush. … – LAT, 8-26-11

“I’m glad members of my family are giving their version of what it was like to serve our country. I did the same thing….
Eventually, objective historians will analyze our administration and will draw objective conclusions.” — Former President George W. Bush in an interview with “Fox & Friends”

    • George W. Bush: I’m fine with Cheney’s memoir: While former Vice President Dick Cheney’s new memoir has garnered some vociferous criticism from some members of his administration, former president George W. Bush says he’s fine with the book — and “glad” to see that members of his administration are telling their stories.
      The book, which paints unflattering portraits of several of Cheney’s former colleagues, has already ruffled the feathers of prominent former Bush administration officials like Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.
      Mr. Bush, however, said he wasn’t bothered by the memoir…. – CBS News, 9-1-11
    • Bush Takes the High Road on Cheney’s Book: 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…. – US News, 9-1-11
    • Is Cheney Taking Cheap Shots in His New Memoir? Dick Cheney’s memoir ‘In My Time’ attacks many former colleagues: Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s memoir In My Time hit book stores Tuesday and while on the publicity tour he promised that it would cause “heads exploding all over Washington.” In the book, he stands by the controversial waterboarding interrogation technique, reveals that he had a letter of resignation sitting in his desk drawer in case his health failed him , and recalls the details of his personal experience of 9-11. However, what is exploding most heads is the attacks he launches at other Republicans. [See a photo gallery of Bush’s legacy.]
      Cheney claims Arizona Sen. John McCain once angrily stormed out of the room during a discussion of interrogation techniques and the vice president mocks McCain for interrupting his 2008 presidential campaign to return to Washington to address the financial crisis. Cheney calls Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “naïve” for her attempts to negotiate with North Korea and recounts a time when welled up with tears in his office over the Nigerian uranium scandal. Cheney insinuates that he was behind Rice predecessor Colin Powell’s 2004 resignation, saying it was “for the best” even though Powell claims that he always planned to serve as Secretary of State for only one term…. – US News, 8-30-11

“I kept the president fully and completely informed about every in and out of the negotiations with the North Koreans. You can talk about policy differences without suggesting that your colleague somehow misled the president. You know, I don’t appreciate the attack on my integrity that that implies.” — Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

    • Condi Rice fires back at Dick Cheney: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joins Colin Powell in protesting claims made by Dick Cheney in his memoir.
      The heads are still exploding from former vice president Dick Cheney’s recently published memoir.
      The latest blow-up, on Wednesday, came from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
      Rice spoke out against several claims about her in Cheney’s book, “In My Time: A Personal and Professional Memoir,” saying that she viewed it as an “attack on my integrity.”
      In an interview with Reuters Wednesday, Rice protested Cheney’s suggestion that she had misled President George W. Bush about nuclear diplomacy with North Korea…. – CS Monitor, 9-1-11

“So there’s a lot of very positive stuff in there, but a balanced account also requires me to put down what my opinion was and that’s what I’ve done.” — Former Vice President Dick Cheney

“It’s not necessary to take these kinds of barbs and then try to pump a book up by saying, ‘Heads will be exploding.'” I think it’s a bit too far. I think Dick overshot the runway with that kind of comment, if that’s how he plans to sell his book.
From what I’ve read in the newspapers and seen on television it’s essentially a rehash of events of seven or eight years ago. Mr. Cheney had a long and distinguished career and I opened his book that’s what he would focus on, not these cheap shots that he’s taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush.
It was clear by 2004 that the team was not functioning as a team. And we had different views, and not just views, not views that could be reconciled. And so I said to the president that I would be leaving at the end of the year, after the election, and he ought to take a look at his whole team to try to resolve all these issues.” — Colin Powell on CBS’s “Face the Nation”

    • Dick Cheney defends his comments on Colin Powell: Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday defended comments in his new memoir about Colin Powell, saying his take on the former secretary of state is “basically all very positive” and noting that he supported him for promotion to various military positions.
      Cheney, whose long-anticipated autobiography “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir” hit shelves Tuesday, sat down for a live interview with Matt Lauer on the “Today” show. Lauer did not directly ask Cheney to respond to Powell’s criticism this weekend that the former vice president’s book takes “cheap shots” at him and some of his other colleagues from George W. Bush’s administration.
      Lauer asked Cheney about parts of the book where he takes Powell to task for his opposition to the Iraq War. Cheney responded that in the three chapters in which he details his tenure as secretary of defense working with Powell, “there’s a lot of very positive stuff” and noted that he recommended the general for several jobs in the military…. – Politico, 8-30-11
    • Colin Powell: Dick Cheney Taking ‘Cheap Shots’ In Book (VIDEO): Former Secretary of State Colin Powell is accusing former Vice President Dick Cheney of taking “cheap shots” at him and others in a new book. Powell was the nation’s top diplomat during the first four years of the Bush Administration…. – Huff Post, 8-28-11
    • Powell: Cheney “overshot the runway” in book: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that former Vice President Dick Cheney took “cheap shots” in his forthcoming memoir, and that he was taking his aggressive promotional techniques “a bit too far.” Powell, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation”…. – CBS News, 8-28-11
    • Powell Accuses Cheney of Cheap Shots: Powell told CBS’ Face the Nation that former Vice President Dick Cheney took “cheap shots” at him in Cheney’s new memoir, In My Time. Cheney writes that Powell undermined President George W. Bush by criticizing the administration. … – Daily Beast, 8-28-11
    • Powell: Cheney ‘Overshot the Runway,’ Took ‘Cheap Shots’: In an interview on Face the Nation this morning, former Bush secretary of state Colin Powell responded to leaked criticism appearing in former vice president Dick Cheney’s forthcoming memoir…. – National Review Online, 8-28-11
    • The Chapter That Went Missing From Dick Cheney’s Book: Dick Cheney’s hyper-hyped autobiography is short on revelations (it turns out that the “secret undisclosed location” was his house) but long, very long, on excuse making when it comes to the wars of whim into which he steered the United States. … – The Nation, 8-26-11
    • Cheney says he pushed to bomb Syria: From the Dick Cheney memoir, the former Vice President says he pressed President George W. Bush to bomb Syria in June 2007, but he was outnumbered by other advisers who were snakebit over the “bad intelligence” about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction…. – Politico, 8-25-11
    • Cheney: I wanted to bomb Syrian reactor in ’07: Dick Cheney urged then-President George W. Bush to bomb Syria in 2007, according to the former vice president’s new memoir. According to the New York Times, which obtained an advance copy of the new book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir…. – JTA, 8-28-11
    • Cheney Says He Urged Bush to Bomb Syria in ’07: Former Vice President Dick Cheney says in a new memoir that he urged President George W. Bush to bomb a suspected Syrian … – NYT, 8-24-11
    • Reading the Pictures: Cheney’s Audacious Memoir Cover (And Claim to the Empire): Well, it’s hard not to be impressed by Cheney’s cojones (and the spiteful swipe at Bush) given the cover photo of his new memoir. Situated in the President’s residence, Cross Hall and the famous red carpet is the space associated with the President of the United States, the backdrop and sanctum recognized, in the American eye, with presidential addresses and presidential processions down the gallery.
      Of course, the dimensions of Cheney’s “top drawer” ego have never been a secret. Perhaps it’s his deteriorating health, though, that motivated this kind of imperial parting shot, compelled to emphasize how much he, not Bush, was the “vision guy” and the true top dog…. – Huff Post, 8-26-11

“I did it because I was concerned that — for a couple of reasons … One was my own health situation. The possibility that I might have a heart attack or a stroke that would be incapacitating. And, there is no mechanism for getting rid of a vice-president who can’t function.”

    • Dick Cheney Memoir Reveals Secret Resignation Letter: In his new memoir, In My Time, former Vice President Dick Cheney talks about a secret letter of resignation that he wrote only two months into office. Worried about his health, he wrote the letter in March 2001 and locked in a safe. – mediabistro.com, 8-25-11
    • Cheney kept secret signed resignation letter while vice president: Former Vice President Dick Cheney kept a signed letter of resignation locked in a safe throughout most of his eight years in the White House, he revealed in an interview to air next week on NBC…. – CBS News, 8-24-11

“It’s important for us not to get caught up in the notion that you can only have popular methods of interrogation if you want to run an effective counter-terrorism program. The fact is it worked. We learned valuable, valuable information from that process and we kept the country safe for over seven years.” — Former VP Dick Cheney

    • Cheney: ‘No regrets’ about waterboarding suspects CBS News, 8-28-11
    • Former VP Cheney says waterboarding justified in interest of protecting national security: Former Vice President Dick Cheney says there’s no contradiction in advocating harsh interrogation tactics against suspected US enemies and opposing those practices when used against American citizens. … – AP, 8-30-11
    • Cheney: Bush authorized leak on Iraq: Dick Cheney writes in his forthcoming book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” that he was surprised to learn that President George W. Bush had personally authorized a leak about Iraq strategy to a Washington Post columnist — a disclosure … – Politico, 8-28-11
    • Bush’s Unanswered 9/11 Questions: By the time the president wrote his 2010 memoir, the call from the vice president had become a call he made to Cheney. Bush’s snap authorization, moreover, had by then transmogrified into a well thought-out plan. “I called Dick Cheney as Air Force One … – Daily Beast
    • Cheney reveals his ‘undisclosed location’: Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney disappeared and was whisked off to a “secure, undisclosed location” to protect his safety. But Cheney never confirmed where exactly he hunkered down. That is, until now.
      Cheney confirms in his new memoir, “In My Time,” that some of the speculation was correct–one of his “undisclosed locations” was his residence in Northwest Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reports.
      Which, in turn, means Joe Biden was right. Vice President Biden told the world in 2009 that he discovered the bunker beneath his home during a tour of his new house. Biden revealed during the 2009 Gridiron Club dinner that the room was located “behind a massive steel door secured by an elaborate lock with a narrow connecting hallway lined with shelves filled with communications equipment,” Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift wrote at the time.
      In the book, Cheney says that in addition to his D.C. home, the other undisclosed locations were at his home in Wyoming and at Camp David, the presidential retreat.
      Cheney writes that he was surprised by the interest in the location, noting a “Saturday Night Live” skit that placed him in a cave in Afghanistan, according to the Post…. – Yahoo News, 8-26-11
    • Cheney opposed decision to save GM: Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he opposed the decision to save General Motors Corp. from collapse in December 2008. In a new memoir “In My Time” published Tuesday by Simon & Schuster, Cheney says he disagreed with President George W. Bush…. – The Detroit News, 8-30-11

“I began my trip with a stop in London to visit one of America’s closest and best allies in the war on terror, British prime minister Tony Blair. I have tremendous respect for Prime Minister Blair. He is a Labour party liberal and I am a conservative Republican, and we didn’t always agree on strategy or tactics. But America had no greater ally during our time in office. His speeches about the war were some of the most eloquent I’ve been privileged to hear.”

“The president wanted to be absolutely clear that if he decided to go to war, we would finish the job. We would remove Saddam Hussein, eliminate the threat he posed and establish a representative government.”

“At the request of the British, I had called a number of the Tories, including Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative leader. He was, on this issue, a rock of support for Blair.”

    • Dick Cheney autobiography heaps praise on Tony Blair: Dick Cheney, vice-president to George W Bush, pays tribute to ‘one of America’s closest and best allies in the war on terror’….
      In the 565-page In My Time, Cheney is unrepentant about the most controversial decisions taken by the White House, from the waterboarding of Guantánamo Bay detainees to the invasion of Iraq…. – Guardian UK, 8-30-11
    • Dick Cheney speaks out in new memoir: Dick Cheney, one of the most polarizing figures in recent history, has published a memoir. In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir covers Cheney’s 40-year career in American politics, and includes some keen and controversial insights into the George W. Bush administration, in which Cheney served as vice president of the United States.
      Cheney claims that, thanks to his memoir, “heads are going to be exploding all over Washington.” Cheney uses the 565 pages to defend his most controversial policies, including the 2003 decision to invade Iraq, the use of extreme interrogation tactics such as waterboarding and his failed attempt to convince Bush to bomb Syria.
      Cheney was a powerful, controversial and ambitious figure in American politics, perhaps even more divisive than the president he served. As a result, his memoir should be a very controversial and inflammatory read — much like the man himself…. – CBC, 8-28-11

EXCERPTS

“I was deeply disappointed. I understood that a pardon for Libby was unlikely to be well received in the mainstream media and that it wouldn’t be of short-term help to those around the president who were focused on generating positive press about his last days in office. But in the long term, where doing the right thing counts, George W. Bush was, in my view, making a grave error. …George Bush made courageous decisions as president, and to this day I wish that pardoning Scooter Libby had been one of them.” — On President George W. Bush

“Powell seemed more comfortable talking about poll numbers than he was recommending military options. … I brought the meeting to a close, and afterward, although we normally operated on a first-name basis, I addressed Powell formally. ‘General,’ I said, ‘I need some options.’ The business we were about was deadly serious, and I wanted him to understand he was receiving an order.” — On Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Cheney was Defense secretary in the George H.W. Bush administration

“I was under the impression that the president had decided against a public apology, and was therefore surprised a few days later when National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told the White House press pool, ‘We wouldn’t have put it in the speech if we had known what we know now.’ The result was the conflagration I had predicted. … Rice realized sometime later that she had made a major mistake by issuing a public apology. She came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk, and tearfully admitted I had been right. Unfortunately, the damage was done.” — On White House national security adviser Condoleezza Rice

“I was also disappointed on June 2, 2004, when Tenet, citing personal reasons, told the president he would be leaving. The Senate Intelligence Committee was soon to issue a report that many thought would be critical of Tenet, and I suspected that entered into his thinking. The president had kept Tenet on when we came into office, a move I had supported. Throughout the intelligence mistakes of Tenet’s tenure, the president and I had backed him. For him to quit when the going got tough, not to mention in the middle of a presidential campaign, seemed to me unfair to the president, who had put his trust in George Tenet.” — On CIA Director George Tenet

“As I read Brent’s piece, I found myself thinking that it reflected a pre-9/11 mind-set. … Brent was quoted later saying he believed I had changed since we’d worked together in the first Bush administration. In reality, what had happened was that after an attack on the homeland that had killed three thousand people, the world had changed.” — On Brent Scowcroft

“He went home instead. … At one point my friend Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma asked why the executive branch had the right to decide when members of Congress, a coequal branch of government, could come back to Washington. ‘Because we’ve got the helicopters, Don,’ I told him.” — Prologue: Cheney opens by describing his experiences on Sept. 11, including the refusal of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, who as president pro tempore of the Senate was next in the presidential line of succession after the speaker, to move to a secure location.

“Who RETRACTS a concession? In 1976, the election had also been very close, and we had decided to sleep on it and see how things looked in the morning before, making any decision about conceding to Carter. I thought that if the Gore campaign had been any kind of a professional operation, they would have realized how close the vote was and wouldn’t have conceded in the first place. But to concede and then take it back was amateur hour. And the fact of the concession hurt Gore, I believe, as we headed into the recount.”

“I picked up the phone and called Jim Baker [the night of the Supreme Court decision]. ‘Hello, Mr. Vice President- elect,” he said. ‘Thank you, Jim,’ I said, ‘and congratulations to you. You did a hell of a job. Only under your leadership could we have gone from a lead of eighteen hundred votes to a lead of one hundred fifty votes.’ He laughed heartily. He knew and I knew that his leadership in Florida had been vital.”

“After one late-night rally, my six-year-old granddaughter, Kate, climbed into the seat next to me on the campaign plane. ‘Grandpa,’ she said, ‘if you win, will you come to school as my show-and-tell?’ ‘You only want me if I win?’ I asked. ‘Yep,’ she answered. … [S]o on a snowy February morning, I was Kate’s show-and-tell. My impression was that most of her fellow first-graders were more interested in my Secret Service agents than in Kate’s old grandpa, but I’ll never forget the huge smile on her face as I walked into the classroom.”

“[A]nd why apologize when the British had, in fact, reported that Iraq had sought a significant amount of uranium in Africa? THE SIXTEEN WORDS WERE TRUE.”

“Our choice incensed the White House press pool and the rest of the mainstream media … But … the last thing on my mind was whether I was irritating the New York Times.”

“And, it pains me to note, so did his boss, Colin Powell, whom Armitage told he was [Robert] Novak’s source on October 1, 2003. Less than a week later, … there was a cabinet meeting. … [T]he press came in for a photo opportunity, and there were questions about who had leaked the information that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA. The president said he didn’t know, but wanted the truth. Thinking back, I realize that one of the few people in the world who could have told him the truth, Colin Powell, was sitting right next to him.”

“Given the opposition of politicians and the public to putting more troops in Iraq, George Bush was truly courageous to order a new strategy and the surge of troops to carry it out. The next ten months ratified his brave decision. Our troops, together with the Iraqis, defeated the insurgency, dealt a severe blow to al Qaeda, and created a secure environment so that the Iraqi political process could begin to take hold. When historians look back, George Bush’s decision will stand out as one that made a difference for millions and put history on a better track.”

“It is impossible for me not to make a comparison with George Bush in 2007. When President Bush surged troops into Iraq, he encountered significant pressures to reverse course, but he continued in the face of opposition, increasing American forces in order to implement the counterinsurgency strategy that enabled us to prevail. He did not allow domestic political considerations to interfere with his responsibilities as commander in chief.”

“I remember thinking how grounded the president was through the whole economic ordeal. He kept perspective and was very good at handling pressure. He dealt effectively with some of the most difficult and complex issues any president has had to face.”

“I have some medical choices to make in the future, but I’m doing well for now. … I have some fishing planned. … I have reached the biblical three score and ten, and a man who can look back on the things I have seen and the people I have known has no grounds for complaint.”

“My daughter Liz was my collaborator and the CEO of our book team. … It is a rare blessing to have reason to spend so many hours of quality time telling your daughter about your life and work. My wife, Lynne, and my daughter Mary helped with the book as well, making this truly a family project … Mary Matalin has lived this project since its inception … We all treasure her wise counsel and her friendship. … Bob Barnett was a skillful representative … and we have benefited from his sage counsel every step of the way.”

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Political Buzz August 28, 2011: Day 2 Hurricane Irene Tears Through New York, Northeast Heading North to Canada — Downgraded to Tropical Storm — President Obama Addresses Nation — Irene Aftermath

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: HURRICANE IRENE HITS EAST COAST– DOWNGRADED TO TROPICAL STORM

Waves generated by Tropical Storm Irene pummel the coast in Westbrook, Conn., Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

Irene downgraded to tropical storm: The National Weather Service downgraded Irene to a tropical storm as the system made landfall over Coney Island in New York. The storm is maintaining winds up to 65 mph.

More than 1 million without power in Mid-Atlantic region: More than a million homes and businesses in the Mid-Atlantic region were still out of power or phone service early Sunday as heavy wind and rain from Hurricane Irene battered the Washington area.
In Virginia and North Carolina, Dominion Resources reported more than 1 million outages, including about 124,000 in northern Virginia as of 4:30 a.m. Power companies reported more than 600,000 outages in Maryland and more than 25,000 in D.C.
The number of outages in Virginia “exceeded our expectations,” a Dominion Power official said.

“We’re not out of the woods yet. Irene remains a large and potentially dangerous storm.” — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

“I think it’s safe to say that the worst of the storm…has passed.” — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

“First, let me say that this is a storm that has claimed lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who’ve lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storm. You need to know that America will be with you in your hour of need.
While the storm has weakened as it moves north, it remains a dangerous storm that continues to produce heavy rains. One of our chief concerns before Irene made landfall was the possibility of significant flooding and widespread power outages. And we’ve been getting reports of just that from our state and local partners. Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks.
So I want people to understand that this is not over. Response and recovery efforts will be an ongoing operation, and I urge Americans in affected areas to continue to listen for the guidance and direction of their state and local officials.” — President Barack Obama

Irene Lashes New York Area — NYT

Hurricane Irene rolls up East Coast: From North Carolina to New Jersey, Hurricane Irene’s winds and storm surge fell short of the doomsday predictions. But the storm left several dead before reaching New England in its wake, lashed North Carolina with ferocious winds and triggering emergency steps including unprecedented evacuations and transit shutdowns in New York. — Boston Globe, 8-28-11

In Pictures: Hurricane Irene — CS Monitor

Hurricane Irene: live: Follow live coverage as Irene hits the US mainland after being downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm…. – Telegraph UK

Hurricane Irene: August 27 as it happened: Follow coverage as America’s east coast braced for the impact of Hurricane Irene…. – Telegraph UK

    • After Irene, Focus Shifts to Cleanup and Recovery: Tropical Storm Irene left swaths of New York City, New Jersey, Vermont and other parts of the region flooded in its wake, and millions were still without power Sunday night. President Obama said Sunday evening that despite the impact being less than was originally feared, “I want people to understand that this is not over.”… – PBS Newshour, 8-28-11
    • A Weakened Irene Sweeps Northward: Having cut a path of destruction from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the eastern tip of Long Island that killed at least 16 people in six states and caused an unprecedented shutdown of the transit systems in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, Hurricane Irene quickly lost her ferocity as she moved into New England on Sunday, leaving blue skies and an army of clean-up crews in her wake.
      Though downgraded to a tropical storm at around 9 a.m., Irene still wreaked havoc along the Eastern Seaboard: rail and airline service in the Northeast remained paralyzed, and hundreds of thousands of people were without power. But the storm ended up falling far short of the historic disaster that many people had feared.
      However, President Obama, in a televised address from the Rose Garden at around 5 p.m, cautioned “This is not over.” Irene, he said, remains a “dangerous” storm, even in its weakened state, and many communities would see flooding in the days ahead.
      Also at the news conference was Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security Secretary, who pledged that the federal government will assist states responding to or recovering from Hurricane Irene. “I urge all Americans to take prudent steps to stay safe,” she said…. – NYT_8-28-11

President Barack Obama’s Statement to the Nation on Hurricane Irene & Statements by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate — AP, 8-28-11

President Obama Signs Delaware Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-28-11

President Obama Signs District of Columbia Emergency Declaration — WH, 8-28-11

President Obama Signs Puerto Rico Disaster Declaration — WH, 8-28-11

    • State-by-state look at dangers and damage caused by Irene: Irene, the hurricane that weakened to a tropical storm, thrashed the East Coast, knocking out power to millions of homes and businesses, destroying piers and killing more than a dozen people. Here’s a state-by-state glance on how it’s affected … – AP, 8-28-11
    • Obama warns Hurricane Irene flooding could worsen: US President Barack Obama on Sunday warned that flooding from Hurricane Irene could worsen as rivers flood their banks and said federal recovery efforts would last a few weeks…. – Reuters, 8-28-11
    • Obama on Irene: ‘This is not over’: Despite Tropical Storm Irene’s weakened punch, President Barack Obama urged those in its path to stay vigilant and warned that the storm’s impact would continue to be felt for some time. “This is not over,” Obama said in a Sunday afternoon statement from the Rose Garden.
      With Irene having unleashed furious wind and rain as it carved its way along the East Coast, the president said emergency officials were most concerned about lengthy power outages and flooding as swollen rivers begin to crest. He urged the public to heed the warnings of local officials in the coming days, and said his administration would continue working with cities and states to ensure they were prepared to respond…. – AP, 8-28-11
    • Irene Remains Dangerous, Obama Warns: As a weakened but still dangerous Tropical Strom Irene pushes up the East Coast, President Obama urged Americans to remain vigilant. “I want people to understand that this is not over,” Obama said in a statement delivered Sunday afternoon in the Rose Garden…. – ABC News, 8-28-11
    • Obama to make statement on Irene: White House: US President Barack Obama will deliver a statement on Irene, the deadly storm that has slammed into the US east coast, on Sunday at 5:00 pm (2200 GMT), the White House said. “This evening, the president will deliver a statement on Hurricane Irene…. – AFP, 8-28-11
    • Obama to make Irene statement Sunday: President Barack Obama will make a statement on Hurricane Irene at 5 pm ET Sunday, the White House announced. The president is expected to thank emergency responders for their work during the storm and provide an update on conditions…. – CNN, 8-28-11
    • Obama Engaged in FEMA Response to Irene: President Obama has received regular briefings about Hurricane Irene’s impact. During the wet and windy weekend in Washington, senior advisors and cabinet officials have updated the president on the response and recovery effort taking place along the east coast…. – ABC News, 8-28-11
    • Obama to meet with top administration members: President Barack Obama is planning to meet again this morning with top members of his administration to discuss Hurricane Irene. He told them yesterday to keep him up to date through the night. Obama held an evening conference call … – AP, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene leads to at least 19 deaths: Hurricane Irene had led to the deaths of at least 19 people in eight states as of Sunday evening…. – AP, 8-28-11
    • In Irene’s wake: Relief despite damage and deaths: As Hurricane Irene approached, spectacular satellite images encouraged some to fear the worst. But now, as the weakened storm moseys from New York into New England, you can’t see a sigh of relief from outer space…. – LAT, 8-28-11
    • FEMA chief urges people to remain at home in Irene’s wake, not sightsee amid potential dangers: The head of the nation’s emergency response agency says people shouldn’t underestimate the danger once Hurricane Irene passes. Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate says flooding, weakened trees and downed power…. – AP, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: Sunday morning sees storm’s fury move north: Sunday morning saw a slightly diminished hurricane Irene continuing its move up the East Coast with wind, rain, and coastal storm surges hitting New York and New Jersey…. – CS Monitor, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene update: Irene downgraded from hurricane to tropical storm: Hurricane Irene has now become tropical storm Irene with winds of 65 miles per hour. But officials still predict heavy rains and flooding as Irene works its way north to New England…. – CS Monitor, 8-28-11
    • Irene update: Did New York dodge a bullet?: The worst of tropical storm Irene has passed New York, and the impact wasn’t as bad as it might have been. But officials say hazards still exist, including heavy flooding…. – CS Monitor, 8-28-11
    • Irene update: New York Mayor Bloomberg lifts evacuation order: With tropical storm Irene past New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg lifted his evacuation order. But with public transit still shut down, there’s likely to be a tough commute on Monday…. – CS Monitor, 8-28-11
    • Irene Moves On: Millions Without Power, 14 Dead: Irene, downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm, swept through the Northeast today, leaving at least 14 dead in its wake, millions without power and an estimated $7 billion to $13 billion in damages.
      Irene made landfall in Coney Island, N.Y., at 8:45 a.m. this morning as a tropical storm with 65 mph winds, but by 10 a.m. patches of blue sky and sunshine began peeking through in lower Manhattan.
      Philadelphia experienced significant local flooding in several areas, but subways, elevated trains and bus service in the city were beginning to return to activity.
      More than 4.5 million East Coast homes and businesses are without power and thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, according to The Associated Press…. – ABC News, 8-28-11
    • 4M without power as Hurricane Irene heads north: More than 4 million homes and businesses were without power Sunday morning as Hurricane Irene continued to roar up the East Coast and took aim at the New York City area and New England.
      Winds of up to 115 miles per hour whipped across the Eastern Seaboard, ripping power lines from poles and snapping trees in half. Hospitals, emergency call centers and other crucial facilities were holding up, but officials said it could get much worse as Irene churns north.
      More than 1.3 million of the homes and businesses without power were in Virginia and North Carolina, which bore the brunt of Irene’s initial march. Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. had about three-quarters of a million outages combined.
      New Jersey and Pennsylvania each had about three-quarters of a million without power, and hundreds of thousands of other customers were in the dark in New York and Connecticut…. – Boston Globe, 8-28-11
    • Irene Shifts Toward Northeast, Millions Without Power: 3:10 p.m. ET | At least 300,000 in Massachusetts are without power as a weaker Irene moves over the Northeast. Irene is being blamed for 15 deaths in six different storm-affected states.
      Flooding plagued New York City and parts of New Jersey after the height of the storm, but the evacuation order in low-lying parts of New York was lifted at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon…. – PBS Newshour, 8-28-11
    • Of the Big Cities, Philadelphia Is Hard Hit: Having cut a path of destruction from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the eastern tip of Long Island that killed at least 10 people in six states and caused an unprecedented shutdown of the transit systems in Washington, Philadelphia and New York, a weakened but still ferocious Hurricane Irene, now downgraded to a tropical storm, set its sights on a battened-down New England late Sunday morning.
      In Philadelphia, which lies between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, residents in low-lying areas woke up to rising water. Mark McDonald, spokesman for the Philadelphia mayor, Michael Nutter, said water levels were 15 feet above normal in some areas, and were not expected to stop rising until 2 p.m. Sunday. The waters were approaching the highest level ever recorded — 17 feet in 1869, he said. “There are many streams and creeks, and they are all above flood stage now,” Mr. McDonald said by telephone. The storm, which dumped at least six inches of rain on the city, caused the collapse of seven buildings there, he said…. – NYT, 8-28-11
    • Irene’s Damage: Deaths, Flooding, Power Losses State-by-State Bloomberg, 8-28-11
    • Americans recover, Canadians dig in as Irene crawls toward border: As US cities clear away fallen trees and drain flooded boulevards, Canada’s East Coast is digging in as Irene crawls north. … – National Post, 8-28-11
    • Quebec, Maritimes in path of Irene’s heavy winds, rain: Nova Scotians should prepare for heavy winds while Quebec is on track for serious downpours when Hurricane Irene is scheduled to hit Canada Sunday as a post-tropical storm.
      Eastern Quebec – including Quebec City, Sherbrooke, and the Eastern Townships – and northwestern New Brunswick will receive the worst of Irene’s rainfall, with 50 to 100 mm of rain expected.
      Western Nova Scotia and areas around the Bay of Fundy, meanwhile, have a tropical storm warning and will see wind gusts of up to 120 km/h.
      Wind warnings are in effect for mainland Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, all of New Brunswick except the province’s northwestern corner and for parts of Quebec’s St. Lawrence River valley…. – Globe and Mail, 8-28-11
    • Millions without electricity, billions in damages after Irene hits New York: Tropical Storm Irene unleashed furious wind and rain on New York on Sunday and sent seawater surging into the Manhattan streets. But the city appeared to escape the worst fears of urban disaster — vast power outages, hurricane-shattered skyscraper windows and severe flooding.
      Still, millions of people were without electricity and early damage estimates were in the billions of dollars. At least 18 people had died in the storm…. – Globe and Mail, 8-28-11
    • Bloomberg: ‘We Made Exactly the Right Call’ on Storm Preparations: As New York City lifted evacuation orders Sunday afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg residents to exercise caution as they return home, watching out for fallen trees and downed power lines…. – WSJ, 8-28-11
    • Flight Cancellations in U.S. Resulting From Hurricane Irene Exceed 10300: Irene weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it swept through Long Island and Manhattan with winds of 65 miles an hour (105 kilometers), according to the National Weather Service…. – Bloomberg, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene Kills 15 and Leaves 4 Million Without Power: Hurricane Irene killed at least 15 people from Puerto Rico to New York, caused an estimated $3 billion in damage and cut electric power to more than 4 million homes and businesses across the eastern US The deaths were concentrated…. – Bloomberg, 8-28-11
    • Millions wait for power to come back after Irene: It could take several days to restore power to millions of people left in the dark by Hurricane Irene. The lights went out for more than four million people and businesses, from Folly Beach, S.C., to Portland, Maine. The race to restore power now will hinge on thousands of utility workers…. – AP, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene: No one ‘dodged a bullet’: That was Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate on Sunday after Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm and apparently produced less destruction than many had feared…. – LAT, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene 2011: FEMA Praised By Governors For Storm Response: Governors of both parties are praising the federal response to Hurricane Irene, giving a much-needed vote of confidence to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which has been struggling to regain its good name…. – Huff Post, 8-28-11
    • Federal Government Begins Damage Assessments in Irene’s Wake: US government officials said damage assessments and recovery efforts are under way as Hurricane Irene continues…. – Bloomberg, 8-28-11
    • Key House Republicans Express Concern Over FEMA Funding Amid Irene: House Republican leaders are calling on the Obama administration to ensure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency doesn’t run out of money as it responds to Hurricane Irene…. – Fox News, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene: NYC Evacuations Lifted as Mayor Says ‘Worst Is Over’ ABC News, 8-28-11
    • Hurricane Irene evacuation defended by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg: The threat of Hurricane Irene failed to stop tourists visiting Manhattan’s Times Square, despite warnings from New York mayor Michael Bloomberg…. – The Guardian, UK, 8-28-11

“My hope is that … we will have less damage than we might have. Let’s all just hope for that.” — Governor Deval Patrick said this morning in an interview with WCVB-TV.

    • Irene arrives as tropical storm; 300k lose power: No longer a hurricane but still packing a powerful punch, Tropical Storm Irene arrived in Massachusetts this afternoon, dumping torrential rains and sending streams over their banks, pounding the shoreline with relentless waves, and toppling tree limbs and power lines, leaving more than 300,000 people without power.
      By about 2 p.m., with the center of the weakened storm moving through Western Massachusetts, the worst of the rains were over in the state, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson. But he cautioned that winds could still gust to 55 miles per hour late this afternoon. Boston Globe, 8-28-11
    • Goodnight Irene: Hurricane Irene pummeled New York City Saturday night and Sunday with nearly twenty-four hours of torrential rains and high winds. The storm left behind severe local flooding, falling trees, and some power outages as surging seas overran beaches…. – Huffington Post, 8-28-11
    • New York mass transit still halted, unclear when will resume: New York City’s mass transit system remained shut down on Sunday afternoon even after Hurricane Irene had roared through, and there was no immediate word on when services would resume…. – Reuters, 8-28-11
    • NYC survives Irene, thinks everyone overreacted CBS News, 8-28-11
    • Irene trudges through New England with 60 mph wind: MIAMI—Tropical Storm Irene is trudging through southern New England with maximum sustained winds of about 60 mph. The storm was centered about 15 miles south of Pittsfield, Mass., on Sunday afternoon and was moving to the north-northeast at about 26 … – Boston Globe, 8-28-11
    • Irate Irene still packs a punch, officials warn: Tropical Storm Irene was running out of steam after battering the Big Apple this morning — flooding parts of Queens and lower Manhattan — but the former hurricane still packed sustained gales of 60 mph…. – Boston Herald, 8-28-11
    • New York’s Long Island feels Irene’s punch: Irene’s New York landfall Sunday morning coincided with high tide to bring the Atlantic Ocean pouring into the streets and houses of coastal Long Island…. – LAT, 8-28-11
    • Christie: Irene damage in the billions: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Sunday damage from Hurricane Irene could be very extensive, “I’ve got to imagine that the damage estimates are going to be in the billions of dollars, if not the tens of billions of dollars,” Christie said on NBC’s “meet the Press”…. – Politico, 8-28-11
    • New Jersey told to brace for flooding in wake of Irene: Gov. Chris Christie warned New Jersey residents Sunday to prepare for record flooding the next two days in the wake of Hurricane Irene. USA Today, 8-28-11
    • Flooding threatens New Jersey after Hurricane Irene: A good news-bad news scenario emerged in New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, with an orderly evacuation preventing possible catastrophe along the coast but torrential rains setting up record inland flooding…. – CNN, 8-28-11
    • Irene slams New Jersey, damage widespread: Hurricane Irene swept along the New Jersey shore early on Sunday, knocking down trees, leaving thousands of people without electrical power and causing flooding….. – Reuters, 8-28-11

“We’re saddened to report four fatalities in Virginia. Our hearts go out to all of those who have lost loved ones.” — Gov.McDonnell at a news conference in Richmond

  • Fallen trees from Hurricane Irene kill four in Virginia: Hurricane Irene killed four people in Virginia on a destructive path that affected half the state’s land mass and two-thirds of the population, Governor Bob McDonnell said on Sunday.
    All four deaths were connected with falling trees in the powerful storm, including an 11-year-old boy who died after being pinned under a tree that fell on his apartment home in Newport News. Reuters, 8-28-11
  • Virginia governor: Dangers from Irene remain: Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says that while Hurricane Irene wasn’t as bad as expected, dangers remain. The storm caused four deaths, widespread power outages and flooding before leaving the state early Sunday. … – USA Today, 8-28-11
  • O’Malley, McDonnell talk about Irene on ‘Meet the Press’: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) both appeared on national television Sunday morning to talk about Hurricane Irene, with both showing up on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”… – WaPo, 8-28-11
  • Hurricane Irene leaves power out around D.C. region: By Washington Post Staff More than 1 million homes and businesses were without power or phone service early Sunday after heavy wind and rain from Hurricane Irene battered the Washington area…. – WaPo, 8-28-11
  • Irene leaves slight damage, Washington residents without power: As Hurricane Irene moved on to flood the streets of New York City Sunday, people in the Washington region were dealing with an aftermath of power outages, flooding and trees that continued to fall … – WaPo, 8-28-11
  • Dominion Assessing Damage, Beginning Recovery From Hurricane Irene’s Impact: 1.2 million customers affected; second-largest restoration effort after Isabel Dominion crews in Virginia and North Carolina are assessing damage and working with local emergency personnel today … – MarketWatch, 8-28-11
  • Irene Sweeps Through New York: Tropical Storm Irene swept through the New York City area on Sunday morning lacking anywhere near the force that had been feared, but still causing some deaths, cutting power to more than a million people, toppling trees and flooding some parts of the city and its suburbs.
    Though the storm packed strong winds and heavy rain, it never dealt the kind of punch that prompted area officials to order unprecedented evacuations. In much of New York City, people awoke anxious that they would see destruction out their windows, only to find a scene more typical after a major summer storm.
    But while the city escaped without too much damage, its suburbs appeared not to have fared nearly as well. Wide swaths of Long Island, Westchester County, New Jersey and Connecticut faced blackouts on Sunday, plus blocked roadways and the prospect of further flooding.
    At least three people in the area died in connection to the storm. In New Jersey, a 20-year-old woman was found dead on Sunday morning in her submerged car on a flooded rural road in Salem County, eight hours after she called the police to say she was trapped in her vehicle with water up to her neck. In Spring Valley, N.Y., in Rockland County, a man was electrocuted after coming in contact with a downed power line. And in Prospect, Conn., one person was killed in a fire that investigators believe was sparked by fallen wires…. – NYT, 8-28-11
  • Rains Slow, But Floods Rise in Wake of Hurricane Irene: The heavy rains and high winds of Hurricane Irene have subsided from Delaware to Philadelphia, but dangerous flooding and storm damage led government officials Sunday morning to tell people to stay off the roads…. – NBC Philadelphia, 8-28-11

Full Text August 28, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Statement to the Nation on Hurricane Irene & Statements by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Hurricane Irene: President Obama on Response and Recovery Efforts

Source: WH, 8-28-11
President Obama on Hurricane Irene Recovery

President Barack Obama makes statement on Hurricane Irene with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Bill Daley in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

With Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate at his side, President Obama today gave the American people a brief update on the ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Irene, the deadly storm that devastated swaths of the East Coast this weekend. The President also expressed concern for those who were impacted:

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who’ve lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storm. You need to know that America will be with you in your hour of need.

While the storm has weakened as it moves north, it remains a dangerous storm that continues to produce heavy rains. One of our chief concerns before Irene made landfall was the possibility of significant flooding and widespread power outages. And we’ve been getting reports of just that from our state and local partners. Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks.

So I want people to understand that this is not over. Response and recovery efforts will be an ongoing operation, and I urge Americans in affected areas to continue to listen for the guidance and direction of their state and local officials.

The President thanked the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, state and local officials and the many volunteer organizations who worked tirelessly over the past several days, noting that the advance planning has saved lives and property. Moving forward, he said that FEMA will be working with state and local responders to assess damage and assist in the recovery.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Text of statements by President Barack Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate on Hurricane Irene, as provided by the White House:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. I’m joined today by my Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and Administrator of FEMA, Craig Fugate, to provide a brief update on our ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Irene.

First, let me say that this is a storm that has claimed lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who’ve lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storm. You need to know that America will be with you in your hour of need.

While the storm has weakened as it moves north, it remains a dangerous storm that continues to produce heavy rains. One of our chief concerns before Irene made landfall was the possibility of significant flooding and widespread power outages. And we’ve been getting reports of just that from our state and local partners. Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks.

So I want people to understand that this is not over. Response and recovery efforts will be an ongoing operation, and I urge Americans in affected areas to continue to listen for the guidance and direction of their state and local officials.

Before the storm made landfall, the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA worked very closely with our state and local partners, as well as volunteer organizations, to pre-position supplies and teams of first responders along the hurricane’s projected track. And the American Red Cross opened shelters in communities across the region. I want to thank those Americans for their work over the past several days, which has saved lives and property up and down the East Coast.

We continue to have search and rescue personnel on alert, as well as water, food and other needed resources. And moving forward, FEMA is working with state and local responders to assess damage and assist in the recovery.

I do want to underscore that the impacts of this storm will be felt for some time, and the recovery effort will last for weeks or longer. Power may be out for days in some areas, and we will support our state and local partners in every way that we can as they work to restore power in those areas.

So I’m going to make sure that DHS and FEMA and other federal agencies are doing everything in their power to help folks on the ground. I continue to meet regularly with Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate and the other members of my team to assess our response and ensure that we have what we need in place.

As I’ve told governors and mayors from across the affected area, if they need something, I want to know about it. We’re going to make sure that we respond as quickly and effectively as possible. And we’re going to keep it up as long as hurricane season continues.

Finally, while we’re not out of the woods yet, I want to thank everybody at the federal, state and local levels who have worked so hard to respond to this storm. This has been an exemplary effort of how good government at every level should be responsive to people’s needs, work to keep them safe, and protect and promote the nation’s prosperity.

I want to thank scientists who provide the information necessary for governors and mayors to make sound decisions, disaster response experts who made sure we were as prepared as possible, to National Guard members and first responders who risked their lives to ensure their fellow citizens’ safety—all ordinary Americans who love their country and volunteered to do their part.

Above all, the past few days have been a shining example of how Americans open our homes and our hearts to those in need and pull together in tough times to help our fellow citizens prepare for and respond to, as well as recover from, extraordinary challenges, whether natural disasters or economic difficulties. That’s what makes the United States of America a strong and resilient nation, a strong and resilient people. And I want to thank all who have been involved very much.

Now I’d like to ask Secretary Napolitano and Administrator Fugate to say a few words. Janet.

———

NAPOLITANO: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. And I’d like to echo the President’s comments about the ongoing threat from Hurricane Irene. We will be dealing with the impacts of this storm over the coming days, and I urge all Americans to take prudent steps to stay safe.

Now, dealing with a storm like this requires a three-phase approach: preparation, response and recovery. Some states and communities are still currently responding, while others are beginning to assess their damages and plan for recovery.

As response assets are freed up in states already impacted by the storm, we will begin moving them to help with ongoing response, and we will be working with all other states throughout the recovery period.

I’d also like to thank the entire team that is working so hard to respond to Irene. And that team includes the American people. Thanks to all of you who prepared, especially those who followed local evacuation orders. Your actions helped protect not only your families and minimize loss of life, but also freed up local first responders to help those who needed help the most.

Now, the Department of Homeland Security will continue working to coordinate the federal response through FEMA, making sure that the entire federal family is working as one to support the affected states. So, with that, I’d like to personally thank Craig Fugate, who is my director of FEMA, and the entire FEMA team, who have been leading this effort. So, Craig.

———

FUGATE: Well, thank you, Mr. President and Secretary. When you look at these disasters, a lot of times you try to find a place of damage that tells everybody the story about what’s happened. But in this hurricane that’s hard to do because I’m pretty sure most of you forgot Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands were first impacted, and we had people who lost their homes and are currently dealing with recovery in Puerto Rico. And now we repeat that process in North Carolina, Virginia and up the coast as flooding is still ongoing.

When a disaster comes off the news and nobody is paying attention, we still don’t go home. We’re still working hard across this country, from tornadoes and floods that have already struck this country as well as to new damages. And that’s part of the mission we have at FEMA, to work with our state and local partners, to work with the private sector, volunteer and faith-based community, but most of all, as the Secretary and President said, the American people who we work for. We’re there for the survivors. We’ll be there through the length of these disasters. And, again, we’re not going home just because it won’t be on the news. We’ve now got a lot of work ahead of us and we’re going to be there to support local communities and states as they begin the recovery.

Thank you.

———

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Okay. Thank you very much, everybody. Craig and Janet will continue to keep everybody posted throughout the week. As we have already said, there are a lot of communities that are still being affected. We are particularly concerned about flooding because the continuing rains can end up having an impact well beyond the immediate center of the storm.

And so we’re going to continue to monitor that carefully. Assessments are already being done in North Carolina and Virginia. There are still search and rescue teams that are operating throughout the region. And we will continue to keep the American people posted throughout our efforts not only with respect to response but also with respect to recovery.

So thanks very much, everybody.

 

History Buzz August 28, 2011: National Geographic Channel Presents George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview — 10th Anniversary of the Terror Attacks on the US

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAPHistory Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Former President George W. Bush.

HISTORY ON TV:

National Geographic Channel presents George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview, a world premiere documentary that reveals exclusive, first-person insight into the former president’s experience following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In the most in-depth on-camera interview he has ever given on the subject, President Bush recalls what he was thinking and feeling and what drove the real-time, life-or-death decisions he faced in the first minutes, hours and days after the most lethal terrorist attacks ever on U.S. soil. Hear in unprecedented, intimate detail what he grappled with as both commander in chief, and as a man concerned for his family and fellow citizens. George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview also takes viewers behind the scenes with extensive archival footage and exclusive materials directly from his library that open a new window into his personal experiences during that historic day that changed the face of America, and the world, forever. Nat Geo Channel, 8-28-11

“Sept. 11 is a monumental day in our nation’s history,a significant day, and it obviously changed my presidency. I went from being a president that was primarily focused on domestic issues to a wartime president. It’s something I never anticipated nor something I ever wanted to be.” — President George W. Bush

  • Bush on 9/11: ‘This is what war was like in the 21st century’: On Sunday, Aug. 28, two weeks before the 10th anniversary of that day (in other words, today), National Geographic Channel premieres “George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview,” a one-hour documentary on the former president recalling the events of that day, and the days afterward, with clips and photos…. – LAT, 8-28-11
  • 9/11 + 10 years: Ready or not, TV looks back: George W. Bush, seen here in the Oval Office, recounts his actions and thoughts on Sept. 11 and the following days in National Geographic’s “George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview. … – WaPo, 8-26-11
  • Nat Geo’s Bush 911 special: Sitting in front of a plain black backdrop, President George W. Bush explains in a steady voice how he called Ted Olson, the lawyer who argued the Bush v. Gore case, to offer his prayers and condolences just after the 9/11 attacks. … – Politico, 8-28-11
  • Bush Re-tells the 9/11 Story As He Lived It: While all Americans remember where they were on the day of the deadliest attack on this nation’s soil, few have had the opportunity to hear about it from the American at the center of the tragedy and its aftermath. … – Fox News, 8-24-11
  • ‘George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview’: Former president projects calm with no qualms: At several points in his first sit-down interview devoted entirely to 9/11, former President George W. Bush says the primary responsibility of a leader during a crisis is to project calm. Even now, almost 10 years after the event…. – New York Daily News, 8-25-11
  • Bush reflects on 9/11: A “turning point in American life”: As the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 nears, the man at the center of the historic attacks on US soil is now speaking candidly on his personal experience and reflecting on his decision-making as he unexpectedly became a wartime president. … – CBS News, 8-24-11
  • Bush interview on 9/11 to air Sunday: Former President George W. Bush wrote about 9/11 in his memoir, Decision Points, but many people have not heard him recall the horror of that day. As this article in the Wall Street Journal eloquently notes, many will be drawn to their TVs to mark the anniversary…. – Dallas Morning News, 8-26-11
  • George W. Bush recalls 9/11 in significant National Geographic Channel documentary: With the approach of the 10 th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there is an abundance of television programming that looks back. “George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview” stands out, however. The former president granted just one interview…. – Salt Lake Tribune, 8-25-11
  • ‘Never forget’: George W. Bush recounts 9/11 in interview: In the years since he left the White House, former President George W. Bush has all but retired from the spotlight. He’s never been a fan of the media. Yet in perhaps his longest interview ever, the ex-commander-in-chief sits down…. – Boston Herald, 8-28-11
  • George W. Bush speaks about day of terrorist attacks: Former President George W. Bush said he tried to “project a sense of calm” in the first moments following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Bush spoke about his initial reactions in an interview…. – The Hill, 8-24-11
  • ABC, Fox News Run Clips From National Geographic’s George W. Bush 9/11 Interview: National Geographic Channel’s upcoming interview with former President George W. Bush is beginning to get some attention from TV news. Nat Geo released clips from the interview to some outlets, including ABC News and sister network Fox News Channel.
    ABC ran clips on “Good Morning America” “ABC World News” and “Nightline” yesterday, while FNC featured it during its news programs this morning. ABC had Terry Moran doing a voiceover over clips from the special, which runs on Nat Geo Sunday evening…. – Media Bistro, 8-28-11
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