What congressman whispered to Bush
What congressman whispered to Bush, What the congressman whispered to the president, Dennis Kucinich was a fierce critic of the president, but "sensed that he was struggling" with a big issue. Spinners and Winners
Today, a slightly different take on the word "winners." Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Oh., is one of the most passionate anti-war members of Congress, who just lost his own hard-fought battle for re-election. As he prepares to leave the House of Representatives, Kucinch reflected on his legacy, his accomplishments, and the struggles presidents face.
"I was this siren when we were going to war, saying watch it, don't do this," said Kucinich. "I've been the truth teller ... Warning about the loss of our civil liberties if the Patriot Act passed; warning about going into war against Iraq, when there was no proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; warning about a long-term commitment to Iraq and Afghanistan, what it would do to destroy our domestic agenda; warning about going into war against Libya; warning about going into war against Iran."
After all the fighting and crusading, not to mention the nasty primary battle he lost to colleague Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Oh., you'd think Kucinich would be sick of Congress.
"I love this place," said the eight-term congressman. "I love the people, too. You know Congress has a low approval rating. We all understand that... But you know what? There's a lot of good people in the House of Representatives who really care about their constituencies."
Kucinich is part of a wave of outgoing colorful congressional figures. The diminutive congressman was known for approaching issues and people with an out sized personality. He vehemently opposed the Iraq War, but still offered support for the president. In 2007, as President Bush was entering the chambers to deliver his State of the Union address, Kucinich shook his hand and wished him well.
"I whispered to him, I said, 'Mr. President, I wish you peace,'" recalled Kucinich. "He took one step and then he turned around and he came back to me, and he said, 'Thank you, Dennis, I know you mean that, and I appreciate that.'"
"I sensed that he was struggling with what he was dealing with, and even though we were not in agreement on Iraq and I strongly disagreed with him, I felt that it was important for compassion's sake just to reach out to the president," he added.
Kucinich is as far to the left as anybody in Congress, but he has occasionally reached across the aisle -- way across.
"Ron Paul and I have worked very closely together on a number of foreign policy issues," said Kucinich. "He's somebody who is fearless ... I can identify with that, so, you know that doesn't mean that we agree on a host of other issues."
Back on his side of the aisle, Kucinich at first battled the White House and President Obama's health care bill, accusing the president of not going far enough. After much back and forth, including a one-on-one with the president on Air Force One, Kucinich voted for the bill.
Kucinich was the first casualty of 11 primary contests that pit House incumbents against each other after redistricting in states across the country.