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 Wednesday, 8 January, 2003, 09:56 GMT
Insider reveals 'sharp side' of Bush
George W Bush shares a laugh with Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell
Mr Bush is not as nice as he seems, the book claims
George W Bush is not the genial, folksy fellow he appears to be, but a tightly controlled, sharp-tongued leader, according to the first insider book from the Bush White House.

The newly published book is by David Frum, the former White House speechwriter who took credit for the phrase "the axis of evil".

He is impatient and quick to anger; sometimes glib, even dogmatic; often uncurious and as a result ill informed; more conventional in his thinking than a leader probably should be

Frum on Bush
The book, The Right Man: The Surprise Presidency of George W Bush, aims "to explain why the Bush presidency has been a success and why Mr Bush personally rose so magnificently to the crisis of 11 September", the author told BBC News Online.

But Mr Frum does criticise the Bush administration for having a "dearth of really high-powered brains".

Mr Bush is, he says, "a sharp exception to the White House code of niceness. He was tart, not sweet."

He describes Mr Bush as "a good man who is not a weak man".

But he adds: "He has many faults. He is impatient and quick to anger; sometimes glib, even dogmatic; often uncurious and as a result ill informed; more conventional in his thinking than a leader probably should be."

Bible sessions

Mr Frum was a speechwriter for the White House from 2001 to 2002.

He left, according to the Washington Post newspaper, "a few weeks after his wife sent out a mass e-mail crediting her husband with President Bush's description of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an 'axis of evil'".

Mr Frum says he came up with the idea of describing the three countries as an "axis of hatred", which was changed to "axis of evil" by Michael Gerson, the president's chief speechwriter.

Mr Gerson was reportedly annoyed that Mr Frum claimed credit for the term rather than letting people assume it was Mr Bush's.

Mr Frum is now a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank.

He describes being surprised by morning Bible study sessions and the lack of swearing, even in private, at the White House.

His book is the first account by a former staff member of the Bush White House, which has a reputation for being secretive about how decisions are made.

Veteran White House correspondent Bob Woodward published a journalist's account, Bush at War, in November.

See also:

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