Daddy Bush's chief of staff said to be a source of claims G.W. used cocaine

By Bev Conover


January 25, 2000 | While much of the American corporate media have done their best to discredit the messenger, while spreading his message, the Sunday Times of London scooped the story of Michael Dannenhauer, chief of staff to former President George Bush, becoming the only on-the-record source for G.W. Bush's alleged cocaine use in the new introduction to J.H. Hatfield's "Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President."

The controversial book, which its original publisher, St. Martin's, Press recalled and destroyed, following howls from the Bush family and questions about Hatfield's background, has been reissued by Soft Skull Press and will be back in bookstores beginning this week.

The new introduction to the Bush biography is cited in an article published in last Sunday's Sunday Times. Dannenhauer related Bush's 'lost weekends' in Mexico, where, "There was cocaine use, lots of women, but the drinking was the worst."

Soft Skull's new edition of Fortunate Son quotes Dannenhauer from the interview conducted by investigative reporter Toby Rogers, on April 21, 1998. Dannenhauer's comments to Rogers appear in this introduction that links the Bush dynasty to Hitler's Third Reich, the Unification Church, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a white-supremacist group.

The Times reported, "In a taped conversation with Rogers, Dannenhauer subsequently called the allegations a 'total lie.' He initially denied they had met, then claimed the interview had taken place years earlier.

"Rogers, now a freelance contributor to various publications including The Village Voice, the respected liberal paper in New York, claims a photograph apparently showing the two men together was taken on April 21, 1998."

60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl referred to the new introduction as "salacious" during her interview with publisher Sander Hicks. In a segment to be aired possibly as soon as February 6, 60 Minutes did an exclusive interview with Hatfield. Stahl told Hicks she felt the introduction was sure to be as controversial as Hatfield's Afterword in Fortunate Son, where it is alleged that Bush was arrested for cocaine in 1972 and had the problem "fixed" by his father.

Forty-five thousand copies of an updated paperback edition arrived in Soft Skull Press's distributor's St. Paul warehouse last Thursday. Consortium Book Sales and Distribution reported that advance sales were approaching 28,000, and that staff worked throughout the weekend to begin shipping the book to stores this week.

Meanwhile, as the Bush camp and its media supporters continue to gnash their teeth over "Fortunate Son's" reissue, contending its contents are "ridiculous, false and libelous," articles that have appeared in recent editions of Newsweek and Harper's are further supporting allegations made in the book about how the Texas governor made his fortune and presented them as "new" and "explosive" revelations.

Said Hatfield, "It appears that several mainstream journalists are either re-wrapping what I previously reported 3 months ago or they are taking the initial passages in the book and expounding on them.  Either way, they lend credibility to the book."

Two of the "mainstream journalists" Hatfield referred to are Joe Conason, whose article, "The George W. Bush Success Story � A  heartwarming tale about baseball, $1.7 billion, and a lot of swell friends," appears February's Harper's, and Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, who wrote "The Money Machine" which was published in the Jan. 24 issue.

All the points raised in both articles � about "kingmakers," Bush's fund-raiser "Pioneers," the skirting of campaign finance laws � and more were already covered by Hatfield in "Fortunate Son"

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