Webb and Bush get testy in first meeting

If it's true that first impressions are the most lasting, then President George W. Bush and Senator-elect Jim Webb may not be the chummiest of statesmen in Washington for the next two years. The Washington Post reports this morning that at a recent White House reception for newly elected lawmakers, things got a bit testy between our 43rd president and Virginia's newest senator.

After Webb refused to stand in a presidential receiving line or have his picture taken with Bush, the President found the senator-elect and asked, "How's your boy?" alluding to Webb's son Jimmy, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb said.

"That's not what I asked you. How's your boy?" Bush retorted.

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb responded, reportedly ending the conversation.

Webb confirmed the exchange to the Post, saying, "No offense to the institution of the presidency, and I'm certainly looking forward to working with him and his administration. [But] leaders do some symbolic things to try to convey who they are and what the message is."

The White House declined to comment on the exchange.

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9 comments

Good for Webb. It takes cojones to diss the president. On the flip side, it's easy to diss a dense one who was clearly unable to take the first hint.

Mister President and "his boys" really screwed things up and it'll be a miracle if the resulting damage can be repaired prior to a living nightmare, i.e., George W's WW3, starting in the Middle East. Between oil and religion, it's a wonder there is anything left of this blue planet.

This is why we elected Jim Webb. He's not in awe of the office of President, and he's not going to play the nice-nice game. He seems to be very WYSIWYG, which is refreshing. And he's already gotten under George Will's skin in a very big way: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/29/AR200611...
Kind of funny to read a wingnut complaining that anybody is too busy for civility. Has he paid the least bit of attention to the current regime occupyign the White House?

The way I see it, if our new Senator is already pissing off George Bush and George Will, he's definitely getting a good start. Well done!

A typical Democrat - cannot even play nice. I wish that he were not representing me.

Ihope this is not the prelude to 6 more years of irrelevant inter-party bickering. I have always believed that winning graciously is the key to effective leadership.

When the "Contract with America" Republicans were elected, they had the same contempt for the White House occupant as Webb has shown. Look how far it got them! We taxpayers were lucky enough to pay for several bloated independent counsel investigations of Whitewater, Monica Lewinsky, the White House Travel Office .... Personally, I would have preferred that Congress focused on issues that had a more significant impact on the United States position at home and abroad.

Why does Virginia have so many one term Senators? Spong, Scott, Allen. Meanwhile, Robert Byrd keeps delivering all of the pork to our neighbors.

Democrat or Republican, the office of the president deserves respect. You don't have to like the man, vote for him, vote for anything he stands for, but you must respect the position. I voted for Webb, and expect him to stand up for those things he believes, but I will not tolerate the same ole' bickering and lack of respect shown by today's politicians. The president is OUR president, yeah he sucks, but when the president asks you a question, you don't tell him it's none of his business. Rude and disrespectful.

As much as I hate W, this childish stunt is an embarrasment. No one is above using common courtesy. It doesn't matter if you are talking to the person scrubbing the toilets or the president. I am appalled.

I disagree that the office of the President deserves unconditional respect. He, like any other leader, should earn the respect of the people by representing the people. The interaction between Jim Webb & George Bush shows that George Bush was unable to respond to a father's concern about his son's dangerous situation or form a thought outside of his premeditated small-talk. Concerning civility, the President has been embarrassing himself since birth. I also disagree that a politician should be expected to "play nice" - fakeries aren't going to get us anywhere. Especially when you have such a bad listener leading this country. If you're feeling closed-minded and are under the impression George Bush is doing us any favors, travel abroad. Ask the world citizens what they think of our president, of our congress, and of the behavior of most Americans. "Uncivilized" might come up a lot.

My sense of politics over the past 15 years has been that "fakeries" do not exist. I was encouraged when Mark Warner was able to enlist bi-partisan cooperation to fix the budget mess he inherited. Sadly, that measure of cooperation, or "fakery", I suppose, has become the exception.