Woodward: Bush ‘Doesn’t Like Homework,’ Which Means ‘Reading,’ ‘Getting Briefed’ Or ‘Having A Debate’

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"Woodward: Bush ‘Doesn’t Like Homework,’ Which Means ‘Reading,’ ‘Getting Briefed’ Or ‘Having A Debate’"

On the Chris Matthews Show today, Matthews argued that one of the major differences between President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama is the fact that Obama is intellectually curious. As an example of Bush’s lack of intellectual curiosity, Matthews played a 2004 clip of Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward saying on 60 Minutes that Bush “is not an intellectual” or what “would be called a deep thinker.”

Asked by Matthews to explain why Bush “shows little intellectual curiosity,” Woodward said it was essentially because Bush “doesn’t like homework”:

WOODWARD: I think he’s impatient. I think, my summation: He doesn’t like homework. And homework means reading or getting briefed or having a debate. And part of the presidency, part of governing, particularly in this area, is homework, homework, homework.

Watch it:

Woodward, who has written four books on the Bush White House, has reported multiple instances in which Bush has put his distaste for homework on display. In 2004, Woodward told PBS’s Frontline about how Bush describes himself as “a gut player” who doesn’t “play by the book“:

QUESTION: What does that tell us about this president, how his mind works and how he functions as an executive? …

WOODWARD: Bush looks at problems. And he told me, he said: “I’m a gut player. I play by instincts. I don’t play by the book.” And of course the book is Policy 101 about how you make these kinds of decisions, and all of this [is] coming from the gut.

In his most recent book, Woodward reported that Bush actually bragged about not attending meetings where key decisions about the surge were made, telling Woodward, “I’m not in these meetings, you’ll be happy to hear, because I got other things to do.” Woodward has said that in his eyes, Bush has “often displayed impatience and a lack of interest in open debate.”

Transcript:

MATTHEWS: Bob, he obviously relies a lot on instinct and is proud of that fact. Is that why he shows little intellectual curiosity about other people’s thinking?

WOODWARD: I think he’s impatient. I think, my summation: He doesn’t like homework. And homework means reading or getting briefed or having a debate. And part of the presidency, part of governing, particularly in this area, is homework, homework, homework.

MATTHEWS: And Obama?

WOODWARD: Obama is the opposite. He mainlines homework. He does, you know, where is extra credit.

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