Behind Bush

Presidential advisor Karen Hughes draws a crowd at Books & Books, a very, very divided crowd

Mrs. Hughes, you joked that when you went to the White House in 2000, being a Texan, your foreign-policy experience began and ended with Mexico and Oklahoma. Isn't it a bit strange, then, that the president told Bob Woodward he came to you for advice on the war in Iraq, rather than his own secretary of state?

"The president and I did talk over Christmas 2002," Hughes answered coolly as the room began buzzing, "and what I had to say he agreed with.... [War] had to be the last resort."

But when it comes to foreign policy, why would the president talk to you and not the secretary of state?

When it comes to Karen Hughes, President Bush is all 
When it comes to Karen Hughes, President Bush is all ears

Hughes appeared to recall Bush's own actions better than Bush himself. "The president and the secretary of state talked extensively," she insisted. As for the details of her own role in the process, she grinned and added coyly: "I was counsel to the president. We talked about a lot of subjects."

Afterward an impressed Bobbie Brinegar, president of the Miami-Dade League of Women Voters, was ready to anoint a new West Wing maestro. "My advice to the Democrats," Brinegar chuckled wryly to Kulchur, "would be to start a letter-writing campaign to Karen's son to convince him to make his mother stay at home this fall. "

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