HOME        FAQs        SHOPPING CENTER        ADVERTISE           TERMS OF USE             

All contents © 2008 by MyBestYears.com. No portion may be used in print, for broadcast or on the Internet
without prior permission. Contact:
admin@MyBestYears.com
Spa Finder, Inc
Hot Buys 468x60
On a cold, gray morning a week before Election Day, President Bush briefly emerged
from the White House for an unannounced visit to the headquarters of the Republican
National Committee in Southeast Washington.

Outside the RNC building, Bush continued to face record-low approval ratings and a
presidential campaign focused on his failings. But inside an overflowing conference
room, he was greeted with roaring applause as he urged his fellow Republicans to keep
pushing for the finish line.

"His general message was to thank the staff for everything we've been doing and
encourage us to keep working hard all the way through Election Day," said one person
who attended the closed event. "It was upbeat and very exciting."

    SEASON OF DISCONTENT
    Even for a declared optimist, Bush has appeared
    remarkably sanguine in this season of discontent. The
    economy is melting down, his own party has shunned
    him, and Tuesday's election is shaping up as a searing
    rebuke to his eight years in office.

    Yet according to allies inside and outside the
    White House, Bush's mood remains buoyant and
    his attention is focused on the global financial
    collapse. In private meetings with business
    leaders, Bush has made a point of saying that he is
    happy the crisis happened on his watch so the
    next president and a new economic team do not
    have to grapple with it.

"His high energy level and spirit sets the tone for the rest of us," said Kevin Sullivan,
Bush's communications director. "There's been no time to worry about any of this other
stuff. . . . He believes the American people expect us to finish strong and to leave things
in the best possible position for his successor."

Others inside and outside the administration, however, say the upbeat talk masks
disappointment and frustration among many White House staffers, who believe Bush's
reputation has been unfairly maligned for a series of calamities -- from the Sept. 11,
2001, attacks to the financial crisis -- that were beyond his control and that he handled
well. GOP nominee John McCain's escalating attacks on Bush's tenure have added to
the irritation, these people said.

"Everybody kind of wanted to spend the last 100-plus days doing some legacy things,
and the financial crisis has thrown a wrench into that," said one prominent Republican
who regularly talks with senior White House officials.

"You have a combination of no legacy stuff, a horrible economic mess and the likelihood
that Obama is going to win," this person added. "There is a real sadness there."
None of this would matter, of course, if not for Bush's deep and abiding unpopularity.

Bush has not commanded approval from a majority of the nation since early 2005,
making him arguably the most disliked president since polling on the question began in
the 1930s. A
Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll last week put Bush's approval
rating at 24 percent and found that McCain had made little headway in separating
himself from Bush or his policies.

It's not for lack of trying. For the first time in recent memory, a sitting president has
effectively sat out the presidential race, avoiding public appearances on behalf of
McCain and other Republicans and raising far less money than usual in private
fundraisers. Bush voted for McCain by absentee ballot rather than voting in person in
Texas, as he has for the past three elections, and officials say he plans to spend
election night at the White House rather than at a rally or other campaign-related event.

Bush held his last closed GOP fundraiser of the season nearly two weeks ago and
cleared his schedule of public events from Friday through Election Day. Vice President
Cheney, by contrast, held a rally for McCain in Wyoming yesterday -- an event to which
the campaign of Democratic nominee Barack Obama was quick to call attention.
"This is unprecedented for a president to be this invisible during a campaign," said
Charlie Cook, editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "This is what happens
when you have a 25 percent approval rating."

HISTORY WILL REMEMBER HIM WELL
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Friday that plenty of Republicans wanted
Bush to host fundraisers, but the president decided to focus on the economic crisis in
recent weeks. Because of ongoing news events, Fratto added, "he's had to be a lot
more visible than we would have liked during the most intense period of the campaign."
Aides say privately that Bush long ago made peace with his low approval ratings, which
have persisted despite significant improvements in Iraq, the original source of his polling
woes. Some current and former aides argue that Bush's unpopularity has made it easier
for him to push ahead with difficult decisions, such as a series of dramatic interventions
into the financial markets that have angered conservatives over the past two months.

"You're more liberated to act
when you've internalized
those low approval ratings,"
said Pete Wehner, a former
top Bush adviser. "This is a
White House and a president
that are in some ways galvan-
ized by a crisis."

Ari Fleischer, one of Bush's
former press secretaries,
said that although Bush is "not prone to talk about legacy," he and his closest advisers
are confident that history "will remember him well."

"Would he like to be more popular?" Fleischer added. "Of course he would. Of
course it bugs him. But it doesn't guide him or drive him."

There is little outward sign of irritation from Bush, who has maintained a sense of good
cheer in many of his less-formal public appearances this year. During a celebration
honoring Theodore Roosevelt's 150th birthday last week, Bush joked: "People ask me,
'Do you ever see any of the ghosts of your predecessors here in the White House?' I
said, 'No, I quit drinking.' "

DEALING WITH TOUGH ISSUES
That enduring, frat-boy enthusiasm is exactly the sort of thing that riles his detractors,
but supporters say Bush's optimism has been central to his political survival. "When
you're inside, and the president is so optimistic, you're not paying as much attention to
the noise outside," said Candida "Candi" Wolff, a former White House legislative affairs
director. "It keeps everybody focused."

Bush's public schedule over the past few months has included a parade of farewell
meetings with friendly foreign leaders, from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Bush has also let down his guard on a few
occasions, showing traces of the kind of nostalgia he normally eschews.

In early October, for example, Bush made a side trip to one of his boyhood homes in
Midland, Tex., which has been turned into a presidential historic site. Standing in front of
the modest rambler that housed two future presidents, Bush recalled a farewell rally that
he attended in Midland on his way to Washington in 2001.

"I said, 'You know, I'm not going to change as a person because of politics or
Washington' -- that's what I said when I left," Bush said. "I think they appreciate
that. I want them to know that, you know, even though I had to deal with a lot of
tough issues, that I'm still the same person that they knew before and that, you
know, I'm wiser, more experienced, but my heart and my values didn't change."
First appeared in the
Washington Post,
November 2, 2008;
Used by permission of
the
Washington Post
DAN EGGEN
                           ...Bush, "A Good and Steadfast Man"

On a cold, gray morning a week before Election Day, President Bush briefly emerged
from the White House for an unannounced visit to the headquarters of the Republican
National Committee in Southeast Washington.

Outside the RNC building, Bush continued to face record-low approval ratings and a
presidential campaign focused on his failings. But inside an overflowing conference
room, he was greeted with roaring applause as he urged his fellow Republicans to keep
pushing for the finish line.