February 18, 2010

What in the hell is Donna Brazile smoking? When asked about George W. Bush being unwilling, like his former Veep Cheney, to attack President Obama, Brazile says he's trying to be an "elder statesman" and put partisanship aside. Well Donna, that's just mighty kind of him not to say too much about the guy left to clean up his mess after he took a wrecking ball to the joint, but "statesman" is about the last word I ever think of when I hear George W. Bush's name.

BLITZER: Let's let to our "strategy session." Joining us now our two CNN political contributors, Donna Brazile the Democratic strategist and Mary Matalin, the Republican strategist. Guys, thanks very much for coming in.

Mary, I'll start with you, talk about your former boss, the former president of the United States, George W. Bush. He was in Naples, Florida, giving a speech, together with his brother, the former governor, Jeb Bush. One of the reporters who covered it wrote this, "George W. Bush said more competitive congressional districts are needed so that politicians have to work harder on their campaigns. That, he said, could help diminish the partisanship as political leaders would be forced to focus more on the issues. He said those who call names shouldn't be elected." All right. So when I read that report, it sounded to me, tell me if I'm going too far, it sounds like he's being critical of the tea partiers.

MARY MATALIN: I didn't read it that way at all. There's been a long discussion about redistricting creating untouchable seats, where there's no competition of ideas and it produces Congress people who can walk their party off the edge, like Nancy Pelosi. No one can touch her seat. I took it as part of that discussion. When I think of name-calling, and I'm sure what George W. Bush thinks of when he thinks of name-calling is being called a Nazi or liar or a warmonger, or names that were thrown at him for policies that have been continued by the Obama administration. I know Donna and I agree on this, name-calling is a far different kind of politics than partisanship. There's nothing wrong with being partisan. There's something wrong with vile, personal attacks.

BLITZER: Which is a fair point. Mary, he also refused to be critical of the Obama administration. It's now more than a year since the president took office. Unlike the former vice president, Dick Cheney, President George W. Bush is still holding back. I guess he thinks it's inappropriate at this point for a former president to be critical of the current president. I guess you think that's the right thing to do, right? Let me ask that of Donna.


DONNA BRAZILE: Well, let me just say this. The think the former president is clearly trying to walk a fine line and demonstrate that he is ready to move beyond the politics of personal destruction, and to become an elder statesman. We need more elder statesmen, more former political leaders willing to use their time and talent to help lead the way to a better future for all of us. I also think that beyond trying to eliminate all of this hyper- partisanship, we need to overhaul our campaign finance system. I didn't get a chance to watch the smackdown between Joe Biden and Dick Cheney. I heard it was an interesting match, but I was more interested in watching Drew Brees.

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