Laura Bush plays the blame game with new memoir
With grace and a quiet focus on her causes of education and literacy, Laura Bush remained one of the most popular first ladies throughout her husband's terms, even when his approval ratings were in the toilet.
But with her new memoir, Spoken from the Heart, scheduled to be released on Tuesday, it seems she has taken off the gloves.
The New York Times snagged an early copy and reports that the former first lady has some choice words for her husband's critics — particularly Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, who she quotes as calling him "an incompetent leader" and a "liar," respectively — describing their comments as "uncalled for and graceless."
Bush also defends the president's criticized flyover of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, saying that it was done to prevent resources being drawn from victims in need by a presidential entourage. And she tells about the presidential delegation coming down with a "mysterious" illness while in Germany for the G8 summit, suggesting they may have been poisoned, despite a Secret Service investigation that concluded the illness was the result of a food-borne virus.
Bush also speaks out in detail for the first time about the accident she was involved in as a teenager in Midland that left another student dead. In 1963, Bush, then 17, was driving with a friend to a drive-in movie when Bush ran a stop sign and collided with another car, killing driver Mike Douglas, a popular athlete from her high school.
“In those awful seconds, the car door must have been flung open by the impact and my body rose in the air until gravity took over and I was pulled, hard and fast, back to earth,” Bush writes. “The whole time, I was praying that the person in the other car was alive. In my mind, I was calling ‘Please, God. Please, God. Please, God,’ over and over and over again.”
Bush also blames factors outside her control in the crash, including the pitch dark night, the small size of the stop sign, the dangerous intersection, and the "sporty and sleek" Corvair the victim was driving, noting that Ralph Nader would later feature it in his auto industry takedown Unsafe at Any Speed, (probably the first time she and Nader have agreed on anything). She also admits she and her friend were chatting before the crash.