In an interview with Vanity Fair for its upcoming issue on the Bush White House, Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, ripped President Bush, saying that after the 2000 election, Bush’s knowledge of foreign affairs was as poor as that of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R):
We had this confluence of characters—and I use that term very carefully—that included people like Powell, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, and so forth, which allowed one perception to be “the dream team.” It allowed everybody to believe that this Sarah Palin–like president—because, let’s face it, that’s what he was—was going to be protected by this national- security elite, tested in the cauldrons of fire.
Bush famously was unable to name the leaders of Pakistan, Chechnya, and India when running for President in 1999. In a recent interview, he reflected on his early days as President, stating, “I think I was unprepared for war.” Similarly, in 2004, Bush said he “was not on point” prior to 9/11. “I didn’t feel that sense of urgency, and my blood was not nearly as boiling.”