McConnell said he had different recollection of conversation with Bush

01/14/2011 08:50 AM

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell said an anecdote included by former President George W. Bush in his memoirs wasn’t an accurate account of a meeting the two men had before the 2006 elections.

Bush wrote in his memoirs “Decision Points,” which was relased last fall, that McConnell asked him in a September 2006 meeting to bring home troops from Iraq to help quell voter frustration at Republicans.

“No, it’s not” accurate, McConnell told Pure Politics. “But look, I’m not going to get into an argument with President Bush about a conversation we may have had four or five years ago. It’s not my recollection of it.”

Here’s the excerpt from “Decision Points” about Bush’s account of that exchange:

“Mr. President,” (McConnell) said, “bring some troops home from Iraq.”

He was not alone. As violence in Iraq escalated, members of both parties had called for a pullout.

“Mitch,” (Bush) said, “I believe our presence in Iraq is necessary to protect America, and I will not withdraw troops unless military conditions warrant.”

I made it clear I would set troop levels to achieve victory in Iraq, not victory at the polls.

McConnell previously had said he would not comment on conversations he had with presidents behind closed doors.

McConnell also gave his assessment of the early run-up to the 2012 GOP nomination for president, a proccess he described as “brutal.”

And he answered the question of whether he believes Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate, is qualified to be president:

- Ryan Alessi

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