A newly leaked email from John Podesta’s personal gmail account posted on Wikileaks Tuesday shows that in 2008 President-Elect Barack Obama’s campaign team didn’t think they needed”to be so nice” to then President George W. Bush. Despite President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush’s warm welcoming of Barack and Michelle Obama to the White House, their then soon-to-be home, Barack Obama’s team struggled with how kindly they should have spoken about the Bush pair, with Podesta ultimately saying: “We don’t need to be this nice.”
At the time the email was sent on November 10, 2008, John Podesta was acting as co-director of President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team into the White House. While the transition team discussed how the statement they were going to release following the President-Elect and his wife’s visit, they had a back and forth about just how nice to speak of the soon-to-be former President Bush.
“Finally, the President-Elect praised President Bush for his administration’s work on the housing crisis and encouraged the President to try to identify further steps, using existing authority, to help struggling homeowners restructure their mortgages and stay in their homes,” was one possible statement.
Robert Gibbs, who went on to be Obama’s White House Press Secretary at the beginning of his Presidency responded, “Haven’t gotten read out from obama but not sure how much we want to praise bush on the housing stuff – we certainly didn’t do that in the campaign.”
Stephanie Cutter, another Obama staffer said “I tend to agree with that,” and added “How important is it to say that?”
John Podesta, who is Hillary Clinton’s current 2016 campaign manager replied, “We don’t need to be this nice.”
He also stated that at the time, President Bush hadn’t “done nearly enough although they seemed poised to finally do more.”