WASHINGTON – An old friend of President Bush (search) who secretly recorded their private conversations and released them to the media said he has regrets and is turning the tapes over to Bush.
Doug Wead (search) allowed journalists to hear and broadcast the tapes in the past week as he promoted his new book on presidential parents. But he said he canceled plans to be on "Hardball" on MSNBC Tuesday night to talk about his regrets because "it would only add to the distraction I have caused to the president's important and historic work."
"Contrary to a statement that I made to the New York Times, I have come to realize that personal relationships are more important than history," Wead wrote in a letter to the show's host, Chris Matthews, that MSNBC released to the public on Wednesday. "I am asking my attorney to direct any future proceeds from the book to charity and to find the best way to vet these tapes and get them back to the president to whom they belong. History can wait."
On the tapes, recorded over the course of the two years before Bush became the Republican presidential nominee, Bush discusses strategy for his presidential run and appears to acknowledge past drug use. He says he will refuse to answer questions about using LSD, cocaine and marijuana because "I don't want any kid doing what I tried to do 30 years ago."
The White House said Bush did not dispute the content of the tapes. The president's aides brushed off repeated questions about them during his tour of Europe this week by saying Bush considered them casual conversations "with someone he thought was a friend."