- Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill,
pushed out of the administration for not being
a team player, says President Bush (news -
web sites) was so disengaged during Cabinet
meetings that he was like a "blind man in
a roomful of deaf people."
who has kept silent about the circumstances
surrounding his ouster from the Cabinet 13
months ago, is now ready to give his side
of the story with a tell-all book that paints
Bush as a disengaged president who didn't
encourage debate either at Cabinet meetings
or in one-on-one meetings with his Cabinet
promote the book which will be out Tuesday,
O'Neill was appearing Sunday on CBS's "60
Minutes" in an interview with correspondent
an excerpt released by CBS, O'Neill said that
a lack of real dialogue characterized the
Cabinet meetings he attended during the first
two years of the administration and gave O'Neill
the feeling that Bush "was like a blind man
in a roomful of deaf people."
said that the atmosphere was similar during
the one-on-one meetings he held with Bush.
of his first meeting with the president, O'Neill
said, "I went in with a long list of things
to talk about and, I thought, to engage (Bush)
on. ... I was surprised it turned out me talking
and the president just listening. It was mostly
is described as the principal source for the
new book, "The Price of Loyalty," being published
by Simon and Schuster, and written by Ron
Suskind, a former reporter for The Wall Street
addition to interviews with O'Neill, Suskind
drew on 19,000 documents O'Neill provided,
according to CBS, which said Suskind also
interviewed dozens of Bush insiders to flesh
out his account of the administration's first
about O'Neill's comment about a disengaged
president, White House spokesman Scott McClellan
told reporters Friday, "I think it's well
known the way the president approaches governing
and setting priorities. The president is someone
that leads and acts decisively on our biggest
priorities and that is exactly what he'll
continue to do."
about the administration's opinion of the
upcoming book, McClellan said, "I don't do
the former head of aluminum giant Alcoa, did
not immediately respond to phone messages
from The AP left at his office in Pittsburgh.
But in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
O'Neill said he hoped his inflammatory comments
did not overshadow the substantive issues
he discusses in the book.
the 'red meat,' taken out of context, is all
that people get out of this book, it will
be a huge disappointment to me," he said.
"Ideally, this book will cause people to stop
and think about the current state of our political
process and raise our expectations for what
gained a reputation during his two years in
the Bush Cabinet for frequently shooting from
the lip with incendiary comments that shook
up financial markets and antagonized Wall
Street. O'Neill said he was just trying to
discuss complicated public policy issues in
greater depth than the television sound bites
so often used by the typical Washington politicians.
was fired in December 2002 when Bush shook
up his economic team in search of better salesmen
for a new round of tax cuts the president
hoped would stimulate a sluggish economy.
had publicly questioned the need for another
round of tax cuts in light of the growing
budget deficits. He was replaced by John Snow,
former head of CSX Corp., who became a staunch
advocate for new tax cuts, which Bush signed
into law in May.
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