BUSH AND ATHEISTS….Quick note. A few days ago I quoted George Bush Sr.’s 1987 statement to Rob Sherman that “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.” I also noted that Sherman had refused to release a tape of the statement and no one else had ever verified it.

I’ve now exchanged several emails with Sherman, who says he didn’t tape this exchange, which happened during a media scrum at O’Hare airport in Chicago. However, he also confirms that no one else reported Bush’s remarks. It’s just him.

Sherman has posted the full story here, including a subsequent letter from C. Boyden Gray to Jon Murray that Murray says is “a clear admission by the President, through his counsel, that he had indeed made the remarks and was not backing down from them.”

For what it’s worth, Gray’s statement doesn’t seem like a clear admission of anything to me, though it’s obviously not a denial either. However, you can decide for yourself.

In any case, I just wanted to set the record straight and provide a link to Shermans’ full account. I was wrong to say there was a tape of the exchange, but apparently it’s correct that no other reporters have ever corroborated the exchange. I will say, however, that Bush’s followup statement to Sherman (“I’m just not very high on atheists”) sure sounds like the George Bush Sr. we all know and love.

Beyond that, click the link and make up your own mind.

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