November 11th, 2010
10:30 PM ET

Top Senate Republican mum on Bush memoir

Martina Stewart
AC360° Digital Producer

(CNN) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has no comment on a passage in former President George W. Bush’s recently released book that led a local newspaper to criticize McConnell for excessive partisanship.

In his new memoir, “Decision Points,” Bush writes that McConnell came to the Oval Office in September 2006, with the midterm elections fast approaching. McConnell told Bush that his unpopularity was going to cost the GOP control of Congress, the 43rd president writes in the book. When Bush asked for McConnell’s advice, the Kentucky senator told Bush he should withdraw some troops from Iraq, according to the memoir.

“He was not alone,” Bush writes of McConnell’s suggestion. “As violence in Iraq escalated, members of both parties had called for a pullout.”

The former president adds, “I made it clear I would set troop levels to achieve victory in Iraq, not victory at the polls.”

In an editorial published online Thursday, the Louisville Courier-Journal pointed to the passage in Bush’s book as evidence of McConnell’s penchant for partisanship.

“This incident, which Sen. McConnell's office has not denied, shines brightly on the contemptible hypocrisy and obsessive partisanship that have come to mark the senator's time in office,” the paper’s editorial says.

The editorial adds, “Unless he is prepared to call a former president of his own party a liar, Mr. McConnell has a choice. He can admit that he did not actually believe the Iraq mission was vital to American security, regardless of what he said at the time. Or he can explain why the fortunes of the Republican Party are of greater importance than the safety of the United States.”

In a written statement e-mailed to CNN, McConnell’s office refused to comment on Bush’s book. But the statement emphasized that McConnell has always supported full funding for American troops and giving Bush’s top military commander in Iraq sufficient time to execute a counterinsurgency strategy in the troubled country.

“Senator McConnell does not comment on any advice he may have given the President on improving the President’s political standing,” the statement reads. “But the public record is clear on his unwavering support for ensuring that our troops in the field were fully funded, and that General Petraeus was able to execute a counterinsurgency strategy on the ground in Iraq free of arbitrary deadlines for withdrawal even when it was politically unpopular to do so.”

–AC360° Joneil Adriano contributed to this report.

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. justin case

    And Mitch, you might remind Rand Paul that he's "doing" Afghanistan now, like it or not.

    November 12, 2010 at 9:09 am |
  2. justin case

    OK Mitch. Wars are still on. Men still dying. You're crowd is in charge now. Your move. "No" is not a policy.

    November 12, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  3. nell

    This is terrible. It does not matter if McConnell is a Democrat or Republican. To state the main goal of the Republican Party is to oust Obama is a double shame. Anderson, if the rest of the msm would comply to what you are doing, we all would be in a better position when we elect our leaders. Keep up the good work!

    November 12, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  4. john D Bonds

    just don't know when we will wake as a country. History will probably show it to be too late. May GOD bless us all.

    November 12, 2010 at 6:47 am |
  5. Portia

    I served approx. 12 years and 10 months in U S Army. I was a practical nurse serving in Desert shield/Desert Storm. In regards to the Bush memoirs and the McConnel alleged statements: I always felt, when I was in the army, in particular in Iraq, I felt the huge support of the American public, however I did not fell that support from the Congress or Senate or President. It always was in my spirit, as a sense of soldiers being used as pawns for political gain, by individual politicians, as well as general political party ambition/gain/favor. Based on this belief, I feel soldiers must make personal decisions about their careers and their reasons for serving. I am extremly proud of my military service, even with serving in persian gulf war. I am now a V A hospital nurse and get to serve military veterans every day I go to work. Having served in military, makes my serving the veterans even more the special. I believe soldiers must make their own choices, realizing the gov't often does not have your interest as top priority. Just look at soldier's pay overall to substantiate this. But that is another story.

    November 12, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  6. Patty

    Mr. McConnell is a liar. The sound bites don't lie. He is an old fool and a racist. Vote him out before he hurts somebody.
    Thank you

    November 12, 2010 at 1:40 am |
  7. David Gregson RN

    I am apalled that Amazon hides in direct day light supporting Pedophiles. I worked in 2 prisons as a RN for a year, I read the psychiatric profiles of pedophiles and they are the victims in their twisted rationale so this is no surprise to me. They are the easiest inmates to deal with, but that is their MO, silent predation. And the way they justified it to the police and/or the prosecutors is insane or just perverse. I am glad you on top of this very important subject. Personally I don't think they are ever reformed, but, society doesn't want to house them, and states their recidivism rates are low, at least in Michigan. This I don't believe and they are never safe near children. Good work.

    November 12, 2010 at 1:22 am |
  8. carol2

    Simply put, I love you Anderson Cooper!

    November 11, 2010 at 11:28 pm |
  9. GrinOlsson

    President Bush and Senator McConnell are misguided about their approach on terrorism. It is obvious that Islam is a political-ideology that does not separate religion and government. Their political arm attacked America's icons that represent our government. Our approach to this ideology whose ultimate goal is to over throw governments with Sharia law should have most likely been to eradicate Mecca and all of the mosaics that perpetrate the jihad ideology against all other religions. Someday, non-believers, Hindu, Buddhists, Catholics, Christians will have to ban together to secure our right to believe or not to believe versus to believe in the Koran, submit or die. Saudi Arabia has spent 85 billion dollars to propagate their concept of Islam which the Taliban ideology is based upon. Most of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia, so why did Mr. Bush attack Iraq? Misguided is my response and that is my opinion.

    November 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm |