The Man Who's Writing Bush's Book...

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JONATHAN CHAIT MARCH 9, 2010

The Man Who's Writing Bush's Book...

...is a twenty-something former Bush aide named Christopher Michel, who rose from unpaid White House intern to deputy director of speechwriting in a dizzying five-year run. As Bryan Curtis puts it in his Daily Beast profile, "Michel had somehow emerged from ruins of Bush's second term with his c.v. burnished rather than destroyed."

Curtis notes that Michel was one of basically three people who earned the distinction of being "Bush's voice"--the other two being Karen Hughes and Michael Gerson. Which makes this nugget especially interesting:

Michel's rise was so rapid that the Israeli Knesset episode stood out as a detour, a rare false note. On May 15, 2008, Bush was set to toast Israel's 60th birthday, and Michel wrote a tribute that Latimer said should have been his pièce de résistance as a speechwriter. But after the draft got a working-over in editing, Bush stood in the Knesset and attacked those who would negotiate with terrorist groups as offering "the false comfort of appeasement." It sounded like Bush was blasting then-candidate Obama—and from foreign soil, no less. In his memoir Speech-Less: Tales of a White House Survivor, Latimer says the line was inserted by Thiessen and approved by Bush. (Michel and Thiessen refuse to comment.) Critics dubbed the "appeasement speech" a low moment in Bush rhetoric.

Sounds like Bush was better off defering to his "voice" than his actual voice (or at least his instincts)...

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posted in: jonathan chait, politics, bryan curtis, christopher michel, karen hughes, michael gerson, israeli knesset, white house

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