George H.W. Bush: 'Who the hell is Grover Norquist anyway?'

The comments from the former president mark just the latest incident in what has become a long back and forth between the Bush family and Norquist.


Norquist has consistently criticized broad deficit deals that include revenue increases, such as the one the first president Bush agreed to in 1990 — saying the tax hikes in those agreements always get implemented, while the spending restraint doesn’t.

The anti-tax activist has also said that the elder Bush essentially threw away his presidency by agreeing to the 1990 debt deal. ATR posted a 1992 quote from George H.W. Bush on its Facebook page last month, in which the former president suggests the 1990 deal was a mistake and didn't control discretionary spending as much as he thought.

And Norquist has dinged one of Bush’s sons, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, as well, for saying last month that he could agree to a debt deal that exchanged a dollar in tax increases for 10 in spending cuts.

“He just clearly wasn’t prepared,” Norquist told The Hill about Jeb Bush’s comments. “He’s not up to speed on what’s happening on tax policy in Washington, D.C.”

The vast majority of Republican lawmakers in Washington have signed the ATR pledge, which says that any elimination of tax credits and deductions must be matched by an equal reduction in tax rates.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have also largely said they would not agree to a broad debt deal that raises taxes, as has the presumptive GOP nominee for president, Mitt Romney.