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by Bill Sammon

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A riveting portrait of President Bush as he broadens the war on terror overseas—and plunges into high-stakes political battles at home

"They misunderestimated me," George W. Bush famously remarked on the eve of his historic presidency. Fractured syntax aside, Bush was right: his detractors misunderstood his appeal to the American public, and underestimated

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A riveting portrait of President Bush as he broadens the war on terror overseas—and plunges into high-stakes political battles at home

"They misunderestimated me," George W. Bush famously remarked on the eve of his historic presidency. Fractured syntax aside, Bush was right: his detractors misunderstood his appeal to the American public, and underestimated his considerable political skills. In this compelling new book, Bill Sammon reveals how the president is turning these misperceptions to his advantage in the looming showdown with John Kerry and the Bush haters.

As senior White House correspondent for the Washington Times, Sammon has been granted extraordinary access to the president and his closest confidants, from political gurus Karl Rove and Andy Card to foreign policy advisers Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. The result is a compelling chronicle of the second eighteen months of George W. Bush's term, as the administration's focus shifts from al Qaeda and Afghanistan to Iraq and the 2004 election. Sammon's on-the-scene reporting and exclusive interviews with the president and his top advisers reveal how the White House is implementing the most profound shift in U.S. foreign policy in more than half a century, prompting an eminent Democratic historian to rank Bush alongside John Quincy Adams and Franklin Delano Roosevelt as one of America's "grand" strategists.

For the first time, Sammon discloses the president's vow that Kerry will "regret" bad-mouthing the liberation of Iraq, the seminal event in the post-9/11 phase of the Bush presidency. Rove even details for Sammon the White House strategy to paint Kerry as a condescending elitist whose "blatant" attempts to capitalize on his Vietnam experience will ultimately come back to haunt him.

Misunderestimated also meticulously tracks the rise of the Bush haters, a disturbing political phenomenon that colors everything from the war on terrorism to the presidential campaign. The impact extends to the press, which Sammon exposes for racing to brand Operation Iraqi Freedom another Vietnam "quagmire" less than eighteen months after making the same blunder during the Afghan war.

In Misunderestimated, Sammon takes readers inside the Oval Office for historic decisions of war and peace, aboard Air Force One for a daring, surprise descent into Baghdad, and even on an intimate tour of Bush's beloved Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas. It's a mesmerizing account of a president determined not to repeat his father's two fundamental mistakes—abandoning Iraq and failing to vanquish the Democrats.

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The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters

Chapter One

Rise of the Bush Haters

George W. Bush stared out the window of his limousine at the largest protest of his presidency. A thousand angry demonstrators -- maybe more -- were rampaging through the streets of Portland, Oregon, utterly overwhelming the meager contingent of police trying to restore order. The motorcade was headed directly into a melee so chaotic that the Secret Service could no longer guarantee the president's safety. Indeed, three minutes before Bush's limousine was supposed to make its final approach to the hotel, police lost control of Taylor Street altogether. They radioed the Secret Service, frantically directing the motorcade to a secondary route. Furious, the agents swung the president south and tried another approach. But the sophisticated protesters, using scouts with cell phones, got wind of Plan B. They rushed to head off Bush before he could penetrate the barricades surrounding the Hilton. Street cops joined in the footrace, hoping to prevent a calamity at Sixth Avenue. The president suddenly understood why his father had nicknamed this city "Little Beirut."

More than anything, the younger Bush was struck by the virulence of the demonstrators. Although he was accustomed to encountering protests in almost every city he visited, most were perfunctory, halfhearted affairs, largely overshadowed by crowds of exuberant supporters. One almost felt sorry for the protesters, as if they were committing some unfortunate social gaffe. But these Portland protesters were different. They were seething with, well, hatred -- there was no other word for it. Bush could see it in their contorted faces as they lunged toward the limousine, shrieking at the top of their lungs and extending their middle fingers. They jabbed placards that bore the most vulgar epithets imaginable. An attractive young woman with dark hair and sunglasses was brandishing a large sign that read BUSH: BASTARD CHILD OF THE SUPREME COURT. When she lifted it over her head with both arms, her sleeveless white T-shirt rode up to expose a swath of bare midriff above her low-slung jeans. The "belly shirt" was emblazoned with big black letters that spelled out the words F--- BUSH. The protestors seemed to take delight in such in-your-face vulgarity. One of them held a large photograph that had been doctored to depict a gun barrel pressed against the president's temple. Another waved a sign declaring, BUSH: WANTED, DEAD OR ALIVE, with an X over the word "alive." It was hard to avoid the conclusion that at least some of the protesters would have welcomed an assassination attempt. So much for reasoned political discourse. Meanwhile, a man hoisted an enormous placard that bizarrely proclaimed: IMPEACH THE COURT-APPOINTED JUNTA AND THE FASCIST, EGOMANIACAL, BLOOD-SWILLING BEAST! Bush had seen signs in other cities calling him an idiot, a liar, even "commander in thief," but never "a blood-swilling beast." This was getting downright ugly.

The president began to have second thoughts about the venue for tonight's event, a fund-raiser for Oregon senator Gordon Smith. Why did it have to be held in the heart of the city, where the protesters were obviously harder to control? In fact, Portland police had warned the Secret Service and the White House advance team to expect trouble. They cautioned that the centrally located Hilton would be exceedingly difficult to defend against the hordes of protesters who were certain to descend on downtown. They recommended that the fund-raiser be moved a few blocks north, to the Benson Hotel, where access would be easier to control. When White House officials refused to budge from the Hilton, police asked them to at least reconsider their plans to keep the president there overnight. It would be much safer to get him out of the central city, perhaps to the outlying home of a wealthy supporter. Yet the president's handlers had dismissed the local cops as excitable yokels with overactive imaginations. They insisted on bringing Bush to the Hilton and keeping him there overnight. And now those same handlers were shocked by the size and severity of the protest. The unthinkable had happened -- the motorcade route had been lost!

The president's limousine was now on the secondary route, making its final approach to the Hilton. But protesters had already arrived from the original route and were spoiling for a fight. Worse yet, there were hardly any cops to hold them back.

"That's him!" shouted one of ringleaders.

Several hooligans rushed the line of security vehicles that preceded Bush's limousine -- two police motorcycles, a white police cruiser, and a black Chevy Suburban full of Secret Service agents. They brazenly darted across the street between these speeding vehicles. One man, dressed all in black, sprinted directly in front of the president's limousine, coming within a few feet of the leader of the free world. The rest of the mob pressed in from both sides of the street and let out a rolling "Boooooooooooo!" as the president passed. Although Sixth Avenue was a major bus thoroughfare, the local transit authority had closed it off with an abundance of orange traffic cones. Bush's limousine barreled right over the rubber cones, which thumped angrily against the undercarriage. Further slowing the motorcade were the protesters themselves, who continued to pour into the street and gesticulate with their vitriolic placards.

9/11, read one. YOU LET IT HAPPEN, SHRUB.

BUSH KNEW, shrieked another, quoting the infamous newspaper headline Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton had brandished on the floor of the U.S. Senate three months earlier.

Of all the insults hurled at Bush that day, he considered these the most profane. To suggest that he, the commander in chief, was somehow responsible for the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania -- the biggest mass murder in the history of the United States -- was nothing short of monstrous. Everyone knew the attacks were perpetrated by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network. Virtually the entire civilized world had united behind America's swift and righteous routing of Afghanistan's repressive Taliban regime, which sheltered al Qaeda ...

The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters
. Copyright © by Bill Sammon. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Bill Sammon is Senior White House Correspondent for the Washington Times, a political analyst for the Fox News Channel, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers At Any Cost and Fighting Back. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Becky, and their five teenagers, Brittany, Brooke, Ben, Billy, and Blair.

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Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, John Kerry, and the Bush Haters 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bush is an American hero. This book was well written. It is an excellent read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Gee, a reporter for the arch-conservative Washington Times is given 'insider' access to the Bush White House and 'discovers' that W is one of the great geniuses to ever occupy the office. What a shocker. And in this 'insider's account,' no mistakes are made, no failures tolerated, no detail is too trivial to escape the Appointee-in-Chief's laser-like gaze. Never mind all the inconvenient facts about things like Iraq's weapons of mass disappearance, Osama bin Forgotten, and the so-called 'coalition of the willing' (I was there -- 50 token logistics troops from East Jebru doesn't make a damn bit of difference). This soon-to-be-remaindered, sooner-to-be-forgotten one-hit wonder is suitable only for late-night reading by infatuated Bushies and for the lining of bird cages -- but not necessarily in that order.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bill Sammon has achieved the difficult task of drawing the reader into the White House decision-making circle. You learn about bedrock beliefs, doubts and fears and about the difficulty in getting the message out about any military operation when the media only wants to hear bad news. If you hate Bush, you should definitely read this book. He comes across as opinionated and firm, but far from the Michael Moore characature. This book will not change anyone's mind about policy, but it should cleanse hearts of hatred.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reread the editor's note for this book, where it declares that due to the author's access to the President and his administration, he was able to create 'a compelling chronicle of the second eighteen months of George W. Bush's term, as the administration's focus shifts from al Qaeda and Afghanistan to Iraq...' Al Queda attacked us and as a result we are at War with Terrorism. In spite of the President's vows to go after those who attacked us, this all access, pro-Administration book details his shift away from those who directly attacked us - and will again - to Iraq. Some masterful shifting of grand stragety. If Al Queda attacks us again, we should invade Venezeula. They've got lots of oil too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. It was an insightful look into Bush's life and the tasks of the administration. At times it takes you on a secrete adventure, such as Bush's sneak into Iraq for thanksgiving dinner, at others it was candid interviews with key personalites, such as the interveiw with Rice were she lays out the plan of transformation for the middle-east, and the focus we're takeing on the terrorists on the ground. Read this Book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book. More people should read it. I used to be more on the anti-Bush side until I read this book. I realized that everyone always sais untrue things about him. I enjoyed sections on the media the best, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While people will say that this book simply preaches to the converted, I think everyone should read it. You'll come away with an appreciation of just how bad the media is, how they attempt to sway public opinion, how right it was to go into Iraq and how it's wrong to underestimate George W. Bush. My favorite parts were on the media. One comes away realizing just how much they want to influence rather than report, to get someone rather than to get the truth. Remember CNN's covering up of Hussein's horrors in order to retain the right to report from Iraq? This book brings it right back up again, and justifiably so. It is an essential read because we should always know through what filters we get our information. A really great, quick read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is refreshing to read about our President without the usual media slant. The opening chapter is riveting in that the behavior of the wacko lefts are indeed real and the hatred they have for President Bush is so real it consumes them, pushing them to do horrible things to people attempting to practice democracy. It seems freedome of speech is to be extended only to the democrats. Shame shame. This reporter has done an excellent job of drawing a balanced view of the Bush's white house. A recommended read for sure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because it gives you the truth. It tells you what really happened. And those two things are very hard to find in todays media.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book I would love to meet President Bush. I've always thought he was a kind and loving person. What this man has gone through in the media is just horrible. Everyone should read this and you can't help but appreciate and like G.W.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you read nothing else, read the second chapter on Saddam Hussein. You will gain a greater appreciation of why we had to get rid of him and his sons. Warning: it will send chills through you. Also interesting was the first chapter on the protestors in Oregon. I found that to be pretty chilling also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We live, unfortunately, in a time when the media have lost all objectivity. Accurate, balanced reporting of events has been sacrificed in interest of maximizing either readership or numbers of viewers. The starting point for reporting is a highly biased point of view which serves as a filter for all known facts which separates those which support the bias from all the rest. News in all its forms is reported to entertain and/or titillate rather than to inform. Therefore, it is refreshing to read an accounting of events by someone like Bill Sammon who does hesitate to call to task those among his peers who begin with bias, backing and filling their stories until they reflect the bias intended. 'Misunderestimated' is one of my best reads since 'The Future of Freedom' by Fareed Zakaria. In 'Misunderestimated', Sammon describes a frenzied press who, like their liberal followers, hate George W. Bush with an intensity not seen in my lifetime (I was born the year before FDR was elected). The hatred stems less from their dislike of any particular action of the Bush administration than it does from a deep seated belief that Bush stole the election of 2000. Given that, there is in their minds no legitimacy to any action he has taken. Adding to the frenzy of the press is Bush' ability to remain focsed on his agenda and what he believes to be right for America. Unlike his predecessor who based many if not most of his decisions on opinion polls, Bush has remained steadfast, ignoring the polls and listening to his own conscience and to constituents with strong core values. A specific and uninformed bias of the press is seen in Sammon's description of their obsessive comparison of the war in Irag with Vietnam war. Even though there are no parallels, politically or militarily, the press persists in making comparisons, hoping to piggyback the sense of frustration and shame which was attendent to the war in Vietnam. The media have had an another obsession about George Bush, namely, that his garbled syntax connotes a dull mind. They have been accustomed to glib, hollow statements of a predecessor who was less interested in 'doing the right thing' than he was in being popular. Reading Sammon's account, one cannot help but feel that we have reached a point where members of the press, even those who are less biased among them, have lost their ability to report accurately on any subject relating to George Bush. In Elmer Davis' book, 'But We Were Born Free', he described the press's frustration with a climate in the country which was a consequence of their own pandering to those obsessed with the specter of communisim. The current members of the press and television reporters have a similar obsession with George Bush.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gave you an inside look at the presidency of George W. Bush. It's very fair and balanced and objective. The most eye opening parts are how the media portrays Bush's presidency and the war on terror, and the real reasons why France, Germany, and Russia didn't want to go to war with Iraq. You won't be able to put it down once you start.