Next Monday, Matt Lauer’s interview with George W. Bush will air on NBC. Bush is on the circuit to hustle his new memoir, “Decision Points.” Yesterday, in advance of the televised interview, excerpts of the transcript were made available to the press. The transcripts are fairly boring, but there is a bright spot. It turns out Bush isn’t all that stoked on Kanye West. And, not surprisingly, he considers the Kanye comment, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” to be one of the of low points of his presidency. And really, why shouldn’t the ex-leader of the free world have a weird preoccupation with a critique lobbed by a mega-rich rapper? It makes total sense. And it’s a sure sign of having one’s priorities in order. Included below is the transcript, followed by the video that most likely haunts W’s dreams.
Matt Lauer: About a week after the storm hit NBC aired a telethon asking for help for the victims of Katrina. We had celebrities coming in to ask for money. And I remember it vividly because I hosted it. And at one part of the evening I introduced Kanye West. Were you watching?
George W. Bush: Nope.
ML: You remember what he said?
W: Yes, I do. He called me a racist.
ML: Well, what he said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
W: That’s — “he’s a racist.” And I didn’t appreciate it then. I don’t appreciate it now. It’s one thing to say, “I don’t appreciate the way he’s handled his business.” It’s another thing to say, “This man’s a racist.” I resent it, it’s not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments in my Presidency.
ML: This from the book. “Five years later I can barely write those words without feeling disgust.” You go on. “I faced a lot of criticism as President. I didn’t like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all time low.”
W: Yeah. I still feel that way as you read those words. I felt ‘em when I heard ‘em, felt ‘em when I wrote ‘em and I felt ‘em when I’m listening to ‘em.
ML: You say you told Laura at the time it was the worst moment of your Presidency?
W: Yes. My record was strong I felt when it came to race relations and giving people a chance. And — it was a disgusting moment.