From the New York Times:
Bush must've been channeling his inner Freddie Prinze (and not the one who married Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
The pope welcomed Mr. Bush — who had his first meeting with Benedict at the Vatican in June 2007 — and the first lady, Laura Bush, near St. John’s Tower in the Vatican Gardens.
“Your eminence, you’re looking good," Mr. Bush said, the A.P. reported.
BTW, if you get the reference you're old. Old. Like. Me.
Back to Bush. I wonder if they discussed how one of Bush's more fervent supporters used to refer to the Catholic Church as the "Whore of Babylon."
Wait wait, I know what you're gonna say. Isn't Hagee a Senator McCain story?
Yes, he was. But according to Scott McClellan, he was a big bush booster as well. According to the American Prospect:
And after the "election" of 2000, Hagee had some special relationship with dubya and co. This is a partial transcript of McClellan's recent interview with Terry Gross at NPR:
When preparing to run for president, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush knew that the San Antonio televangelist had a large television audience, which Bush family evangelical adviser Doug Wead estimated at seven million strong. Wead had ghostwritten Hagee's 1997 conspiracy-theory book, Day of Deception, which claims to take "a probing look inside the United States government and expose blatant acts of deception designed to destroy democracy in America." Those "acts of deception," according to the book, were carried out by the Antichrist in his effort to install a "one-world order." Evidence of the one-world order, according to Hagee, includes "the Eastern Establishment," the United Nations, the National Education Association (NEA), the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Illuminati, the imaginary, shadowy group of international financiers that has long been fodder for conspiracy theorists. Hagee didn't mention that many Illuminati theorists believe in a connection between the Illuminati and the Yale secret society Skull and Bones, to which both Bushes belong. Nor did Hagee, who bills himself as a friend of the Jews, note that Illuminati conspiracies have often included anti-Semitic narratives about Jewish bankers.
In his 1988 campaign biography of Bush Sr., Wead sought to dispel conspiracies that the Bush family was behind the supposed one-world order. But as a ghostwriter, Wead blamed his old boss for trying to bring about what Hagee believes is a satanic, demonic "new world order." Just one year after penning Hagee's conspiracy-laden screed, Wead was pushing Governor Bush and Karl Rove to arrange meetings between the governor and the pastor, and the governor enlisted Hagee to recruit other pastors to sign on to the Bush campaign effort.
And Doug Wead? He recently recommended that McCain pick Joe Lieberman for VP.
GROSS: My guest is Scott McClellan. He was the White House press secretary from July '03 to May of '06. And his new memoir about those years is called "What Happened."
I've got a John Hagee question for you. You devote some of your memoir "What Happened" to social conservatives and their influence on policy in the Bush administration. And I know when John Hagee, who's been so much in the news lately, ever since his endorsement of McCain, which that's a bond that's been broken.
Mr. McCLELLAN: Yes.
GROSS: When he had his first summit for the Christian Zionist group that he founded, Christians United for Israel, President Bush sent a recorded greeting to Hagee and to the conference. Did Hagee have much sway within the Bush administration?
Mr. McCLELLAN: Well, he was one of a number of evangelical pastors, social conservative ones that were certainly part of our outreach at the White House. We had a person and a public liaison that was specifically tasked with reaching out to social conservative leaders. And so those leaders, yes, had a heavy influence on some of the White House policies. And I think that was one of the things that also hurt the president was that, at times it looked like his emphasis was on some of these issues that were important to social conservatives, like Terry Schiavo, like the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and stem cell research. I think a lot of people were wondering, `Why are you spending so much time focusing on these issues when, you know, there are issues on energy and health care and the economy that need to be addressed?'
GROSS: So Pastor Hagee was influential within the Bush administration?
Mr. McCLELLAN: I'd say he was one of a number that certainly had some influence and was able to quickly get someone on the phone at the White House. So yes.
Three reasons he gives:
Wead is one of those guys who call it the "Democrat Party" by the way.
First, the appointment would hasten the Jewish switch to the Republican Party. It is no secret that there is growing nervousness over Barack Obama within the Jewish community. The Lieberman appointment would add to their comfort level with John McCain.
Second, the appointment would clearly separate him from the sinking ship of George W. Bush. After all, Joe Lieberman was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000.
Third, the media would be absolutely floored. They would see that this election would guarantee history in the making. A Black, a Jew, and possibly a woman could be president or vice president.