‘A Sad Moment’

by Robert Costa

Former president George W. Bush says that his relationship with former vice president Dick Cheney almost ended in January 2009 when he refused to grant a pardon to I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a senior Cheney aide convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame case.

Speaking with reporters this morning in Washington, Bush colored in the details of his final meeting with Cheney on the matter — an encounter he calls the “most emotional personnel decision I had to make” during his presidency in his new memoir, Decision Points.

“It was a sad moment,” Bush says. “Dick was hot.”

Did Bush think that his relationship with Cheney was potentially severed at that moment? “I thought it could be,” he says. “I really did.”

“I did not feel comfortable making the decision to pardon him,” Bush says of Libby. “This was a very personal issue. I admire Dick Cheney a lot, and consider him a friend. He was very upset — really upset. I understood, but . . . it was a chilly meeting when I informed him.”