It’s a strange charge. Nowhere does Grim say the former president plagiarized, per se, but that is exactly the thrust of Grim’s article. The book is “a mash-up of worn-out anecdotes from previously published memoirs written by his subordinates, from which Bush lifts quotes word for word, passing them off as his own recollections,” he writes.
As evidence, Grim cites how closely some of the quotes in the book match up with quotes in other books written about the Bush presidency.
In most of those cases, Bush was physically present for the scene he describes. In that sense, charging him for recollecting the events the same way others did is rather weird, indeed.
According to Mike Allen’s Politico Playbook, legendary Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward said about Grim’s report, “There are many, many similarities because I, others and Bush were writing about the same events. I read his book this week and I think it is unfair to say he lifted material.”
Perhaps the strongest case Grim makes regards quotes in Bush’s memoir from events he was not present for.
“In many cases, he was relying on the written record (NSC notes, as I did in some cases) or the recollections of those involved, including himself,” Woodward told Politico.
A source close to the former president notes that in some cases, Bush was actually the source of the “lifted” quotes to the journalists who wrote about them.
While alleging a serious charge on shaky evidence, Grim does not pretend he is coming at the issue objectively. Instead, his deep disdain for Bush leaps out from the page.
For instance, Grim jokes the book is evidence “Bush [does] know how to read,” as if that were in question.
Perhaps colored by his obvious disdain of Bush, Grim made a serious charge that, in view of the evidence, is seriously bizarre. The best he could have done is that “Decision Points” would make boring reading for White House memoir addicts.