Tags: fournier | george | w | bush

Ron Fournier: George W. Bush Is a Good Man

Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 09:19 PM

By Greg Richter

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Former AP White House correspondent Ron Fournier isn’t known for giving former President George W. Bush the benefit of the doubt.

And left-wing pundits from Wonkette to Democratic Underground still think he shouldn’t.

Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce said, “Ron Fournier and I don't seem to be in the same business.”

So, what has Wonkette calling Fournier “the bland and slightly repugnant grocery store brand breakfast cereal of journalism”?

It’s a piece at Fournier’s current gig, National Journal, in which he says it’s also important to see Bush as a decent human being.

“His record as commander-in-chief will be long debated, as it should be. But for this story, at least, let’s remember that Bush insisted upon meeting U.S. troops and their families in private and after his public events, so that he could give them undivided attention,” Fournier wrote.

In a piece titled, “Go Ahead, Admit It: George W. Bush Is a Good Man,” Fournier tells of Bush sending thank-you notes to him and another reporter for standing up when he entered the room for a press conference in Germany.

Standing has long been a custom for American reporters, in respect to the office. But the German press snickered when Fournier and Reuters reporter Steve Holland stood when Bush entered.

“Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country,” Bush wrote in the notes. “What a contrast! What class.”

Bush had such class, Fournier writes, that he wouldn’t allow staffers to wear jeans in the White House, and required male staffers to wear coats and ties.

When Bush was running for his first term he called Fournier, and during the conversation asked him what the noise was in the background.

“I’m at the pool with my kids, governor,” Fournier replied.

“Then what the hell are you doing answering your phone?” Bush asked, and they quickly ended the conversation.

Fournier praises Bush, and former President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, for meeting quietly with troops outside the public eye.

“Our presidents and ex-presidents are not perfect. You won’t always agree with them. You might not even think they’re worthy of the office,” Fournier said, but pointed out something Clinton once told him: “You don’t check your humanity at the Oval Office door.”

“Remembering that is to respect the office,” Fournier writes. “And it’s the decent thing to do.”

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