NEWSWEEK COVER: Father Knows Best

Bush 41 and the Rumsfeld-Gates Swap at the Pentagon: 'His Fingerprints Are

All Over This,' Says Friend

Baker-Bush 41 Adviser and Co-Chair of Iraq Study Group-Cautions New Defense

Leadership Will Not Bring Quick Fix: 'This is Not a Precooked Deal ... and

There is no Magic Bullet'

Nov 12, 2006, 00:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- While George H.W. Bush denies helping
 orchestrate the replacement of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with
 Robert M. Gates -- an adviser from his own administration, a Bush friend
 tells Newsweek, "his fingerprints are all over this." The friend, a veteran
 of previous GOP administrations, explains further: "This would have been
 done by nuance and indirection. Forty-one would have said to 43, 'One of
 the people who I've been talking to who might be helpful is Bob Gates'." In
 Newsweek's November 20 cover package, "Father Knows Best," (on newsstands
 Monday, November 13), a team of editors and correspondents-including Editor
 Jon Meacham, Editor-at-Large Evan Thomas, Senior White House Correspondent
 Richard Wolffe, Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff, National
 Security Correspondent John Barry and Political Correspondent Jonathan
 Darman -- reports on the president's decision to bring in members of his
 father's administration to chart a new course in Iraq, analyzes the complex
 histories of those involved and looks at other figures that will take on
 new prominence in Washington in the wake of the Congressional elections.
     (Photo: )
     It has been widely speculated that James A. Baker III, the elder Bush's
 secretary of State, now co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, may also have
 been instrumental in making the Rumsfeld-Gates switch. He was spotted with
 both Bush father and son, as well as Gates, in early October at the
 launching of the new aircraft carrier, USS George H.W. Bush. But Baker,
 like Bush, is not likely to have been plotting in public. "For a meeting
 like that," says a former Baker aide, "the maximum number of people
 involved is two." When asked whether he played a part, Baker tells
 Newsweek, "You don't have a virgin here," meaning he wasn't about to spill
 any secrets. (The White House says that Baker had nothing to do with the
 Pentagon swap.) Baker also warned against getting too optimistic about some
 sudden deliverance from the agonies of Iraq. "Look," he protested. "This is
 not a precooked deal. And there is no magic bullet."
     For his part, the president was said to be indifferent to the press
 chatter about the decision to bring in his father's team members. "I don't
 care," he told his advisers when they asked him, the morning after the
 elections, how he wanted to deal publicly with the suggestion that he was
 picking one of his father's advisers. "He doesn't think the neocons ran him
 over a cliff and now he has to go to Dad," says a senior Bush aide. "It's
 not the way he sees this. He wants the best and brightest."
     The meeting where President Bush decided to bring in Gates was itself a
 well-guarded secret. On the Sunday before the elections, Gates, the
 president of Texas A&M University and the deputy national-security adviser
 and CIA director in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, drove
 two hours from College Station, Texas, to the small town of McGregor, where
 he switched from his own car to one driven by White House chief of staff
 Josh Bolten. Gates was quietly taken to President George W. Bush's office
 on his ranch at Crawford, where the two talked long enough to convince Bush
 that Gates was the man to replace Rumsfeld. Guests at the presidential
 ranch, assembled for the 60th birthday of First Lady Laura Bush and the
 First Couple's 29th wedding anniversary, didn't even notice Gates's coming
 and going.
     Once he assumes his new post, Gates is likely to welcome the Iraq Study
 Group recommendations as if they were his own, while Rumsfeld would have
 been a surefire obstacle to whatever Baker and the team proposed, reports
 Newsweek. Baker signed on to the study group only after getting Bush 43's
 personal assurance that the White House wanted him to take the job.
 (According to a source knowledgeable about the study group who requested
 anonymity discussing sensitive negotiations, Baker also received a
 backstage promise that Rumsfeld would stay out of the way as the
 commissioners interviewed generals and diplomats.) "There are going to be
 some things in this report that the administration is not going to be
 excited about," Baker tells Newsweek, choosing his words carefully.
     Elsewhere in the cover package, Darman reports on how Democrat Nancy
 Pelosi, soon to be the first female Speaker of the House, developed her
 strategy for claiming the Speaker's gavel by consulting corporate
 America-not your typical liberal play. After the party's disastrous defeat
 in the 2004 elections, she began casting around for fresh ideas on how the
 Democrats could reintroduce themselves to the American people. "I decided
 to go to the private sector," she tells Newsweek, "and ask them how to
 become No. 1." Through her staff, Pelosi found her way to a group of
 corporate-image consultants including high-tech entrepreneur Richard
 Yanowitch, computer-software marketer John Cullinane and Jack Trout, a
 marketing strategist who'd worked with big corporate clients like Merck and
 IBM. "I specialize in differentiation," Trout says. "I told her, 'That's
 your problem-you haven't found a way to differentiate the party from the
 Republican Party in a clear, simple way'." Trout encouraged Pelosi to take
 advantage of the weak points in Karl Rove's base-driven Republican
 strategy. "You've got to go the opposite way," he told her. "It's Marketing
 101. Say 'We're about good governing for all, not a privileged few ... '
 Bring back the big-tent idea."
            (Read entire cover package at
     The Prodigal Returns:
     The Rescue Squad:
     The Democrats' Challenge:

SOURCE Newsweek