Sunday, April 26, 2009

George W Bush think tank plan provokes controversy as he begins to raise cash

The Telegraph

George W.Bush is less than 100 days into his retirement, but his plans for a personal think tank on a Texas university campus are already mired in controversy.

Tanned, relaxed and now embarked on the lucrative lecture circuit, Mr Bush is busy raising money - or "replenishing the ol' coffers", as he put it shortly before leaving office - while waiting for building of his presidential library complex at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas to begin.

The George W.Bush Foundation, which is responsible for setting up the library as well as his policy institute, is looking for an executive director who has the support of the Bush family and also the necessary academic credentials.

Mr Bush left office with the lowest poll ratings of any president for 60 years, but remains popular in Dallas. When he first arrived at the Highland Park neighbourhood which has become his new home - and adjoins SMU - he was greeted with signs reading, "Welcome Home, George and Laura," and bearing an image of the flag of Texas.

Last week he invited former aides to a brainstorming dinner and a day-long discussion about his think tank - known by some backers as the Freedom Institute - which he hopes will burnish his legacy.

It was the first such gathering since he left the White House, and those present included Condoleezza Rice, his former Secretary of State, and Karen Hughes, his longest-standing media adviser. Conspicuous by his absence was the former vice president, Dick Cheney. Mr Cheney has fallen out with his old boss over Mr Bush's refusal to pardon his former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, convicted of perjury over the leak of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame.....

No comments: