Bush stands up for Cheney's role as the leader of the opposition 

In his first speech in Washington since leaving office, President George W. Bush spoke to a group of more than 500 former campaign and administration members for more than an hour this morning at the JW Marriott.

According to attendees, Bush talked about his book (Due out Nov. 8), his presidential library (dedicated to the idea of human freedom), the adjustments to life as a private citizen for the first time since 1995 (he’s walking Barney and “picking up what (he) had been dodging for eight years”), joked about the world of high-priced speech making (“Welcome to the world of white-collar crime.”) and offered words of encouragement for the Bushies still unable to find work in a town that quickly became inhospitable to Republicans (“I consider this group a family, and in families we help each other.”)

But Bush reserved special praise for former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney was supposed to appear with Bush in what would have been their first public appearance since leaving office but is still recuperating from a mild heart attack earlier this week.

While some have suggested (or perhaps hoped for) friction between Bush and Cheney over the former vice president’s denunciations of the Obama administration’s terror policies. Bush, who mentioned today how much he disliked hearing critiques from former presidents (singling out Jimmy Carter by elimination), has opted to stay silent on Obama’s policy decisions, a respectful silence he maintained Friday.

Bush and Cheney met for the first time as private citizens Thursday and Bush sounded proud of the job Cheney was doing in defending the previous administration’s record on terrorism.

Bush spoke in support of what he said was the “calm and rational way” Cheney had been making the case.

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Chris Stirewalt

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Washington Examiner Political Editor Chris Stirewalt, who coordinates political coverage for the newspaper and ExaminerPolitics.com in addition to writing a twice-weekly column and
regular blog posts.

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