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Bush wanted Clint Eastwood as 'running mate' during 1988 presidential campaign

October 15, 2011 - Washington

Former US President George W Bush wanted actor Clint Eastwood as a running mate during his 1988 presidential campaign, released tapes have shown.

However, he ultimately went with then-Senator Dan Quayle, Fox News quoted audiotapes and transcripts released to the public by the George Bush Library Foundation and the University of Virginia's Miller Center, as saying.

They also claimed that Bush had irritated his top U.S. military officials, including then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell, on the eve of launching Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's invasion by insisting that the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) review the Pentagon's pre-selected bombing targets and report back to him.

Former CIA Director Robert Gates, who served as Defense Secretary under Bush and continued in that office under President Barack Obama, recalled how the former recruited him to oversee and approve critical war plans during the planning for Desert Storm.

"The president sent me over to the Pentagon to review the (bombing) target list, to make sure that there were no churches, mosques, hospitals," the former CIA director said in his oral history interview, conducted in August 2000, adding that the then President asked him: "'Are we going to bomb something that was right next to a great historical treasure?'"

"(It was) the only time the president looked over Cheney and Powell's shoulder in terms of the military campaign, and particularly the bombing targets. This didn't sit terribly well over at the Pentagon. ... Sort of smiling through gritted teeth, Cheney and Powell and I, over lunch-or Cheney and Powell with the gritted teeth-over a sandwich, took me through the target list. And I was able to go back and assure the president," he said.

"They didn't like it very much," Gates said of Cheney and Powell, adding: "It was an awkward situation for me."


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