On May 4, 2010, former First Lady Laura Bush conducted a book signing for her new book, "Spoken from the Heart," in tony McLean, Virginia.
What was more amazing, this editor received an invitation on April 30 from Bush's publisher, Scribner, to cover the event. It was a surprise, given WMR's past coverage of Laura Bush's problems with her husband's "affair" with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her storming out of the White House for the Mayflower Hotel -- in addition to a communication from a friend of Laura Bush in Marblehead, Massachusetts offering a deal at the time that if WMR stopped reporting on the Bushes' marital problems and providing quotes to the Globe tabloid, another story would be offered by Mrs. Bush's friend.
So, the invitation to cover the Bush book signing was of interest.
Upon arriving at the Books-A-Million bookstore in McLean, press credentials in hand, I was informed that the press credentials were not sufficient for entry. When I produced one that was acceptable, I was then informed by Mrs. Bush's press agent that the event was for b-roll film only and still photos. Producing a camera, I said that was fine.
But then, the press agent called over an almost-motionless Secret Service agent who appeared to nix my entry. There was also a flurry of sidebar conversations with other public relations people present.
No problem, I said. How about if I just buy Mrs. Bush's book and wait in line for her to sign it? Response: No, all the books were sold by 10 am for the 11:00 book signing. No books left at "Books-A-Million." Perhaps, the store should change its name to "Books-A-Hundred."
Well, it was clear that when I responded to the invitation that myself and McClendon News Service head John Edward Hurley would cover the media event for Mrs. Bush's book, some homework was done. Hurley was a colleague of the late White House correspondent Sarah McClendon, whose penchant for shouting out embarrassing questions to presidents was legendary. Apparently, the possibility of a McClendon-like volley of questions was feared by Mrs. Bush's PR team.
Neither of us was, in the end, permitted to cover the event to which I had been invited. I wonder what those who were published by Scribner, including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Kurt Vonnegut, would say about Scribner's censorship tactics if they were alive today?
Today, Scribner is owned by Simon & Schuster, an arm of CBS.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE APRIL 30, 2010
MRS. LAURA BUSH LAUNCHES SPOKEN FROM THE HEART BOOK TOUR IN MCLEAN, VIRGINIA ON MAY 4TH
Former First Lady Laura Bush will launch her new book titled Spoken from the Heart during a book signing event at the Books-a-Million store in McLean, Virginia on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. In this book, Laura Bush reveals her public triumphs and personal tribulations and the story of real life inside the White House.
Only around a hundred or so people showed up for Mrs. Bush's book signing in the CIA's hometown of McLean, Virginia. The CIA headquarters is named after Mrs. Bush's father-in-law, George H. W. Bush. Dick Cheney is a resident of McLean.
A Republican friend of Mrs. Bush in Massachusetts offered WMR editor a deal: since mrs. Bush found the George W. Bush-Condi Rice story so upsetting, another story would be offered up in exchange for leaving the affair story alone.
"June 3, 2006 -- WMR can report that a Mayflower Hotel staffer has confirmed that First Lady Laura Bush spent at least one night this past week at the hotel, which is four blocks north of the White House. Mrs. Bush reportedly moved out of the White House after a confrontation with President Bush over his on-going affair with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The Mayflower's official position on the story is that they can "neither confirm nor deny" the identities of their guests. Because it's penchant for security and secrecy is well known to the Secret Service, the Mayflower has become a reliable hotel for U.S. and international VIPs.
Some Washington observers believe that the recent flare up between Laura Bush and the president stems from the fact that her poll numbers are twice as favorable as her husband's (60 percent to 29 percent). Laura Bush's recent solo missions to New Orleans, Colorado, and an AIDS conference at the United Nations represent a virtual declaration of independence from the most unpopular president in U.S. history. "She's [Laura's] taking a page right out of Hillary's book," said one Washington pundit. Rice, on the other hand, has been very close and loyal to Bush since she signed on as his chief foreign policy adviser in 2000. WMR has been told of intimate encounters between Mr. Bush and Rice on trips to New York City (multiple occasions) and New Orleans following Katrina."
The only item of interest in Mrs. Bush's book is her recounting an event during the G-8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany in 2007, at which she, President Bush, and their staffers became violently ill from what some Secret Service agents feared was poisoning. Mrs. Bush claims no other foreign delegation became ill with the flu-like symptoms and she writes that some staff members affected continue to suffer after-effects like unsteadiness and hearing loss. Mrs. Bush said the Secret Service feared that the presidential party fell victim to terrorist poisoning at the Baltic Sea resort. Mrs. Bush wrote, "The most concrete conclusion any doctors could reach was that we contracted a virus that attacks a nerve near the inner ear and is prevalent in Heiligendamm." The virus is said to be prevalent in a type of Baltic fish that may have been served to the Bushes and their party. Mrs. Bush also said that President Bush became so ill he was not able to stand up to greet French President Nicolas Sarkozy when he visited Bush in his room.
WMR reported on extraordinary precautions taken by the Secret Service with Bush's biological waste in 2006, a year before the G-8 Summit in Germany:
"July 4, 2006 -- Even Bush's crap is classified top secret. According to our Austrian sources, Austrian newspapers are currently abuzz with special security details of George W. Bush's recent trip to Vienna. Although the heavy-handed Gestapo-like security measures meted out to Viennese home owners, business proprietors, and pedestrians by US Secret Service agents and local police before and during Bush's visit received widespread Austrian media attention, it was White House 'toilet security' (TOILSEC'), which has Austrians talking the most. The White House flew in a special portable toilet to Vienna for Bush's personal use during his visit. The Bush White House is so concerned about Bush's security, the veil of secrecy extends over the president's bodily excretions. The special port-a-john captured Bush's feces and urine and flew the waste material back to the United States in the event some enterprising foreign intelligence agency conducted a sewage pipe operation designed to trap and examine Bush's waste material. One can only wonder why the White House is taking such extraordinary security measures for the presidential poop.
Even Bush's toilet paper was flown in from the U.S. Air Base at Ramstein, Germany. In addition, Bush's food was flown in from the United States and tested with special chemicals before he ate it. Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was shot by a firing squad in 1989, was the last major European leader to constantly use a food tester. The last frequent state visitor to Vienna, who always relied on a food tester, was Adolf Hitler."