George W Bush think tank plan provokes controversy as he begins to raise cash

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George W.Bush is less than 100 days into his retirement, but his plans for a personal think tank on a Texas university campus are already mired in controversy.

The George W.Bush Foundation, which is responsible for setting up the library as well as his policy institute, is looking for an executive director who has the support of the Bush family and also the necessary academic credentials.

Last week he invited former aides to a brainstorming dinner and a day-long discussion about his think tank - known by some backers as the Freedom Institute - which he hopes will burnish his legacy.

It was the first such gathering since he left the White House, and those present included Condoleezza Rice, his former Secretary of State, and Karen Hughes, his longest-standing media adviser. Conspicuous by his absence was the former vice president, Dick Cheney. Mr Cheney has fallen out with his old boss over Mr Bush's refusal to pardon his former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, convicted of perjury over the leak of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame.

Academics at SMU have mostly welcomed the plan to host Mr Bush's presidential library, which will eventually house all the documents from his eight-year administration and be run impartially by the National Archive. But they fear that the George W.Bush Policy Institute - whose goal is to "further the domestic and international goals of the Bush administration" - will become a vehicle for propaganda, not least about the Iraq war.

Foundation officials plan a $300 million fundraising campaign to raise money for the library complex, due to open in 2013.

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pat lee - 4/26/2009

Bush should encourage new businesses to start-up with Government assistance. I run and so many of my clients need this to be successful.