A Look At Why The Carlyle Group Wanted to Drop George W. Bush From Its Board A Decade Ago

David Rubenstein, founder of the secretive defense contractor Carlyle Group. Recalls how useless Bush was as a board member of Carlyle’s firm Caterair and his surprise that George W. is now president.


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In a column posted yesterday on, Joe Conason writes: "Preferring to avoid public scrutiny for obvious reasons, executives at the Carlyle Group usually say nothing about their firm's connections with the Bush dynasty. But last April 23, Carlyle managing director David Rubenstein spoke quite frankly about the comfy sinecure he provided to George W. Bush more than a decade ago -- and how useless Bush turned out to be. Whether he knew it or not, Rubenstein's remarks to the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association were recorded."

Rubenstein said, "We put [Bush] on the board and [he] spent three years. Came to all the meetings. Told a lot of jokes. Not that many clean ones. And after a while I kind of said to him, after about three years - you know, I'm not sure this is really for you. Maybe you should do something else. Because I don't think you're adding that much value to the board. You don't know that much about the company.

Rubenstein continued: "He said, well I think I'm getting out of this business anyway. And I don't really like it that much. So I'm probably going to resign from the board. And I said, thanks - didn't think I'd ever see him again. His name is George W. Bush. He became President of the United States. So you know if you said to me, name 25 million people who would maybe be President of the United States, he wouldn't have been in that category. So you never know. Anyway, I haven't been invited to the White House for any things."

A copy of the tape was obtained by freelance reporter Suzan Mazur who recently posted a partial transcript on the Progressive Review website. She also supplied Democracy Now! with a copy of the tape.

Mazur notes that some within the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association want to pull out of investments with Carlyle which is the 11th largest defense contractor. The group has deep ties to the Bush family and the military industrial complex.

Let’s hear what Rubenstein had to say about Bush and the company Caterair International on which Bush served on the board of directors.


  • David Rubenstein, founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group. This is an excerpt from a talk he gave to investors with the Los Angeles County Retirement Association on April 23, 2003.


  • Dan Briody, author of The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group

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