Bollywood’s goodbye to George W. Bush? A film that makes fun of him

Bollywood has a going away present for President George W. Bush as he prepares to leave the White House: a gag movie that makes him the butt of every joke. The new film "The President is Coming," uses Bush’s 2006 trip to Mumbai as a springboard for a fictional comedy in which six young Indians compete to shake the President’s hand. In the story, Bush has agreed to shake the hand of one young person who represents promise for India’s future – and officials at the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai proceed to put the candidates through a battery of wacky tests to choose a winner. Directed by Indian filmmaker Kunaal Roy Kapur, the film is apparently also an homage Bush’s infamous tendency for verbal gaffes at public speaking events. "Bush is more of a sort of metaphor for the things that America represents – good or bad – but he's also used as a bit of a punching bag because he's an easy target," Kapur, 29, told Reuters. The English-language movie is shot in a mock documentary style and cost about $615,000 to make, according to Kapur. The film – which is based on a play by the same name – opens Friday in India, just days before President-elect Barack Obama takes office on Jan. 20. "It's definitely a nice little goodbye present for Bush," Kapur said. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Former President George W. Bush’s torture enablers off hook

WASHINGTON - The White House on Sunday said that Bush administration policymakers would get a pass along with the CIA agents who waterboarded terrorists.White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said the new administration would not use the courts to go after Justice Department and White House officials involved in devising policy outlined in so-called "torture memos" under former President George W. Bush. Last week, President Obama said CIA agents who used "enhanced interrogation techniques" were off the hook and Emmanuel said policymakers "should not be prosecuted either and that's not the place that we go." "What people need to know, this practice and technique, we don't use anymore. He [Obama] banned it," Emanuel said on ABC's "This Week." Former CIA Director Michael Hayden charged that techniques used on top Al Qaeda terrorists "made us safer," and public release of the memos endangered national security. "I think that teaching our enemies our outer limits, by taking techniques off the table, we have made it more difficult in a whole host of circumstances I can imagine, more difficult for CIA officers to defend the nation," Hayden said on "Fox News Sunday." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Methodists endorse George W. Bush library at Texas school

DALLAS - A Methodist leadership group on Thursday endorsed building George W. Bush's presidential library center at Southern Methodist University, essentially ending nearly two years of opposition. The largely symbolic votes dashed the hopes of opponents whose last-ditch efforts were two petitions presented to the church's South Central Jurisdiction: to bar the entire library complex or only the public policy institute on campus. The jurisdiction owns the land. University President Gerald Turner said he was pleased with the votes, which came after some spoke for and against the think tank that will further the Bush administration's views, which some Methodists say conflict with church teachings. "Today's action simply reaffirmed that all processes were followed," Turner said. Southern Methodist University was named the site of the Bush presidential library in February after more than a yearlong approval process. The school has said the land deal was sealed in March 2007. That's when the church mission council - a smaller group that votes on important issues between the jurisdiction's meetings every four years - gave its blessing for the university to lease land for the complex. Since then the university and the Bush Foundation have been planning the library, museum and public policy institute complex that Turner estimates will open in 2012 or 2013. Some Methodist ministers and university faculty insisted the land decision should have been made by the jurisdiction's delegates - ministers and members of churches in eight states. "I think the South Central Jurisdiction has made a big mistake. What they've done is subsidize the political goals of George W. Bush," said the Rev. Tex Sample, who had sent a letter to the jurisdiction's nearly 300 delegates before this week's conference in Dallas, urging them to vote against the project. "I think we will live to rue the day." The group rejected, with a 118-158 vote, a petition to bar the think tank from the Continue Reading

Opinion: Democrats’ George W. Bush nostalgia smacks of political opportunism | Scott Jennings

I had a good chuckle this week watching Democrats and left-leaning media types fawning over former President George W. Bush. Our 43rd commander-in-chief gave a serious speech about the state of American politics, rebuking a national "discourse degraded by casual cruelty." He warned that “bigotry seems emboldened,” a feeling many Americans have had since the neo-Nazi/white supremacy march in Charlottesville, Virginia.President Bush said many things, all of them decent and civil. He was the same “W” as always, humble in demeanor and sincere in what he had to say. Some political orators give us soaring rhetoric but lack the underlying conviction that lets you know their words come from the heart. This has never been a problem for George W. Bush. He means everything he says and you know it, and he always makes those who served in his campaigns and administration proud.Because Bush’s speech was immediately interpreted as a presidential censure of the current Oval Office occupant, Democratic pundits heaped praise upon Bush. Although Bush never mentioned President Donald Trump, the narrative set up immediately – Bush had warned the nation forcefully about “Trumpism” and its impact on our national unity.If you were an alien who landed on planet Earth this week, you might get the impression that Bush’s presidency was transformative in its appeal to both parties, his views so widely respected that in the not-so-distant past the United States had undergone some sort of Golden Era of Politics. From 2000-2008, everyone agreed to be nice to each other because of the goodness and decency of a humble Texan.As we know, however, nothing could be further from the truth.  More columns from Scott Jennings ► Tax reform finally faces the flies in President Trump’s ointment ► It's no vacation, but Donald Trump would surprise Clark Griswold ► Kentucky GOP Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush to attend Trump inauguration

Two months after her election loss, Hillary Clinton plans to be in the crowd for the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.An aide to the Democratic nominee confirmed Tuesday that she and former president Bill Clinton will attend this month's ceremony, speaking on condition of anonymity until plans are announced publicly.It will be the first joint public appearance by Trump and Hillary Clinton since the three presidential debates that preceded Trump's surprise election victory.Bill Clinton will be one at least three ex-presidents at the Jan. 20 inauguration of Trump; George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have also announced plans to attend.Bush and former first lady Laura Bush "are pleased to be able to witness the peaceful transfer of power — a hallmark of American democracy," spokesman Freddy Ford said Tuesday.Former president George H.W. Bush is not expected to attend because of health reasons.As is tradition, current President Obama will also be at the inauguration of his successor. Contributing: Eliza Collins Stay with USA TODAY for full coverage of the 2017 inauguration. Continue Reading

Americans like George W. Bush better than President Obama: poll

Bush is looking better through the rear-view mirror. A new poll released Wednesday shows that Americans have a more positive view of former President George W. Bush than they do of their current commander-in-chief, Barack Obama. The CNN-ORC poll shows that 52% of Americans have a positive view of Bush, compared to 43% who have a negative view of him. By contrast, 49% of those polled said they have a positive view of Obama, while another 49% said they had a negative one. Obama’s ratings mark a noticeable downshift from his numbers earlier this year. A similar CNN/ORC poll from March showed that 52% of people had a positive view of Obama then, compared to 46% who had a negative view. On the other hand, the latest poll, conducted from May 29 to May 31 among 1,025 adults, marks a sea change in the way people view Bush, who left office in 2009 with some of the lowest approval ratings that any President has had in modern history. A CBS News poll taken in January 2009 showed that only 22% of Americans approved of his job as President, making him one of the most unpopular departing commanders-in-chief in history. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

At SMU, George W. Bush hails C students in first commencement since leaving the Oval Office

Academic success is all well and good, former President George W. Bush told Saturday's graduates at Southern Methodist University, but even just average grades can get you very far in life. "As I like to tell the C students, you too can be president," Bush quipped, to raucous laughter at the Texas campus, which also is home to his presidential center. In his first commencement speech since leaving the White House in 2010, Bush made some serious statements about religion and country, but mainly his address was peppered with jokes that were often self-effacing. In a dig at his newfound love of painting, Bush compared himself to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who also lifted a brush during his retirement years. "Like Churchill, I now paint. Unlike Churchill, the painting isn't worth much without the signature," he said. In a somber note, the 43rd president of the United States admonished the more than 2,000 graduates to maintain their religious faith, or lack thereof. ""It is essential to this nation's future that we remember that the freedom to worship who we want, and how he want - or not worship at all - is a core belief of our founding," he said. "These are not dark days," he said. "These are great days." Joking about the invitation to speak at Saturday's services, Bush noted that university president Gerald Tuner called and asked if he believed in free speech. Bush said he replied in the affirmative. "Perfect," Turner said. "Here's your chance to give one." ON A MOBILE DEVICE? SEE THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

Former President George W. Bush misses being commander-in-chief

Former President George W. Bush says there’s little he misses about being the leader of the free world — but being commander-in-chief is right up there. “When you are the commander-in-chief, at a time when I was, when you put them into a lot of combat situations, you develop a special bond, not only with the military but with their families,” Bush said in an interview with the newspaper Israel Hayom. “I would salute men and women in uniform on a daily basis.” Bush’s decision to send troops into Iraq, where nearly 4,500 service members died, has been a major focus of the developing 2016 election. The ex-president’s brother, Jeb, has taken considerable heat for spending a week dancing around the issue of whether he agreed with the decision to invade in 2003. Bush — who unsurprisingly says in the interview that he’s supporting his elder brother for president — praised the troops for their dedication, and their families for their sacrifices. “I met with a lot of families of the fallen. And I tried to do it out of the press. I didn't want people to think ... that it was just out of self-pity,” Bush told Israel Hayom. “I went to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center all the time. You know what they told me most of the time? ‘I'd do it again, Mr. President. You know, I hope I get well so I can go into combat.’” The paper, which met with Bush in a Las Vegas sitdown, said the former leader was “laid back, displayed a sharp sense of humor and demonstrated a lot of emotion,” particularly about military issues. In retrospect, Bush said, “No. I don't miss the job. I don't miss it, because I poured my heart into it for eight years.” Then he made a slight amendment. “I miss my friends that I served with. I miss being pampered,” he told the Continue Reading

George W. Bush era officials can be held liable for detaining innocent people post-9/11, court rules

Top officials during the George W. Bush era can be held legally liable for the roundup of innocent detainees post-9/11, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. In a 2-1 ruling, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated civil claims against former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller and ex-immigration boss James Ziglar. The three may have exceeded the constitutional limits of their authority in the rush to find those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, Judges Judges Rosemary Pooler and Richard Wesley wrote. “It might well be that national security concerns motivated the defendants to take action, but that is of little solace to those who felt the brunt of that decision,” they wrote. “The suffering endured by those who were imprisoned merely because they were caught up in the hysteria of the days immediately following 9/11 is not without a remedy.” The 2002 suit said 762 detainees were held for months though they were charged with minor civil immigration violations. Rachel Meeropol, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, which filed the case, said she was “delighted” with the ruling. Continue Reading

George W. Bush admits he will be a problem for brother Jeb’s 2016 campaign

Former President George W. Bush said Wednesday that his brother Jeb will have at least one major problem if he launches a 2016 campaign. “Me,” he said. “It’s an easy line to say, ‘haven’t we had enough Bushes,’” George W. Bush said at an information technology conference in Chicago, according to Politico. “That’s why you won’t see me out there, and he doesn’t need to defend me, and he’s totally different from me,” he added. “The role of family is not to be a political adviser or a policy adviser — there are plenty of those around — the role is to say, ‘hey man, I love you.” Jeb Bush has strongly indicated he will announce a presidential bid in coming months, leading critics across both parties to raise questions about possible similarities between him and his younger brother, who left office in 2009 with the U.S. economy in freefall and some of the lowest approval ratings in modern history. Continue Reading