The Washington Times
Inside the Beltway
By John McCaslin
Friday, July 13, 2001
Pg A9

Dubya and Buddha

“Hi Buddha, thanks for the birthday card!” President George W. Bush shouted to Jim Martin, president of the 60 Plus Association, during yesterday’s Rose Garden Ceremony to announce a prescription-drug benefit for senior citizens.

It’s worth repeating that it was Mr. Martin, way back in 1967, who gave Mr. Bush his first political job.

Mr. Martin at the time was the top aide to Rep. Edward J. Gurney, a Florida Republican running for the Senate, and “we were looking for someone to get the media on and off the plane, into their hotel rooms, and back up again at 6 a.m.”

A political consultant named Jimmy Allison, who had just finished managing the winning campaign of a freshman congressman from Texas by the name of George Bush, informed Mr. Martin: “I’ve got somebody in mind, the congressman’s oldest son. He’s getting out of Yale, just like his father. He’s getting his license to be a pilot, just like his dad.”

“Gosh,” Mr. Martin replied, “how much will we have to pay him and how soon can he start?”

Soon, the young Bush was riding with a handful of reporters aboard a propeller-driven press plane occupied by the congressman and Mr. Martin.

“I remember him as a very handsome 21-year-old,” Mr. Martin said of Mr. Bush, “a clean-cut guy, very articulate, extremely bright, very gregarious, a hale fellow well met, in that everybody likes him instantly. You shake hands with him, you like him too.”

“And he was very cordial with the press, too.”

And yes, Mr. Gurney, with the able assistance of the future president, won the Senate seat, capturing 59 percent of the vote.