Tim Russert asks the President Sunday (2/08/2004) about Skull and
Bones and the President confirms he is a member by saying he can’t
Part of the transcript below.
President Bush: Politics. I mean, this is—you know, if you close
your eyes and listen carefully to what you just said, it sounds like
the year 2000 all over again.
Russert: You were both in Skull and Bones, the secret society.
President Bush: It’s so secret we can’t talk about it.
Russert: What does that mean for America? The conspiracy theorists
are going to go wild.
President Bush: I’m sure they are. I don’t know. I haven’t seen the
(unintel) yet. (Laughs)
Russert: Number 322.
President Bush: First of all, he’s not the nominee, and I look
Bush keeps mum about secret society
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President George W. Bush discussed Iraq, the
November elections and the war on terrorism in an interview
broadcast Sunday but laughingly stonewalled a question about his
university secret society.
"It’s so secret, we can’t talk about it," he told NBC television
when asked about the fact that both he and the Democratic
frontrunner, Senator John Kerry, are members of Yale University’s
Skull and Bones.
Though they graduated just two years apart and the society
reportedly only inducts 15 new "Bonesmen" a year,
Bush curtly denied
knowing his rival during their time in college.
Bush’s father, former president George Bush, and his grandfather,
Prescott Bush, were also members, sworn to secrecy about the
goings-on in their mausoleum-like headquarters on the school’s urban
Other members reportedly include another previous president, William
Howard Taft; Vietnam war-era White House adviser McGeorge Bundy; and
financier and diplomat W. Averell Harriman.
Election shows where Bones are buried
NO ONE answers when you knock on the iron doors of the Skull and
Bones society in the middle of the campus at Yale University. If you
have to knock, you are not wanted in.
Behind its Greco-Egyptian façade on the High Street in New Haven,
the society is said to be one of the most powerful and influential
in the United States.
Now, for the first time, two Bonesmen, as members are known, could
go head to head for the post of President of the United States of
America and Commander in Chief.
Skull and Bones is a social and political network like no other.
With all its ritual and macabre relics, it was founded in 1832 as a
new world version of secret student societies that were common in
Germany at the time. Since then it has chosen or ‘tapped’ only 15
senior students a year, who become patriarchs when they graduate -
lifetime members of the ultimate old boys’ club.
George W Bush (1968) admitted to being a Bonesman in his
"My senior year [at Yale University] I joined
and Bones, a secret society, so secret, I can’t say anything more."
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts (1966), currently the
frontrunner in the race to become the Democratic candidate in the
November presidential elections, revealed his membership of the
society in an interview for US television program Meet the Press.
Though Howard Dean (1971) has never said if he was a member of
and Bones, the former governor of Vermont is a Yale graduate.
Since 1988, three Yale graduates have led the United States. George
Bush Sr and Bill Clinton both attended the university, though the
latter was not tapped to be a Bonesman. This Yale succession is
historic. Never before have three (or even two) successive US
presidents studied at the same university.
The Bush family has been associated with Skull and Bones for
generations. Prescott Bush, George W’s grandfather (1917) was a
member of the band that stole for the society what became one of its
most treasured artifacts: a skull that was said to be that of the
Apache chief Geronimo, though this was later found to be untrue.
George Herbert Walker Bush (1948) was also a Bonesman.
Alexandra Robbins, author of Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones,
the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power, said George W was "a
somewhat ambivalent" Bonesman.
"New members of Skull and Bones are assigned secret names,
by which fellow Bonesmen will forever know them. George W was not
assigned a name but invited to choose one. According to one report,
nothing came to mind, so he was given the name Temporary, which, it
is said, he never bothered to replace."
Conspiracy theories and hysteria surround the reporting of the
influence of the society. Its rituals are said to be bizarre.
Initiates must masturbate in a coffin while recounting their sexual
exploits, for which they will be rewarded with a no-strings-attached
gift of $15,000.
Kerry often told his fellow Bonesmen of his political ambitions.
Even then, he knew he would pursue a career in public service and
aim for the top.
Clark Abbott remembered a short exchange with Kerry during their
first week at Yale.
"I met this tall, athletic-looking fellow from
St Paul’s [an elite boarding school in New Hampshire] and I asked
him: ‘What do you want to do?’" Abbott said. Kerry’s response
stunned Abbott: "I’d like to be president of the United States."
Kerry worked hard and played hard at
Yale. He often woke up at 5am
to study and went to Pamplona in Spain to run with the bulls with
classmate David Thorne.
Dean was at Yale from 1967 to 1971,
the type who invited you back to his room to finish off the keg that
was left over from the social events he helped organize, said friend
Richard Willing, a national correspondent for newspaper USA Today.
As for politics, there were no indications that the aspiring doctor
from the Upper East Side in New York was headed for a career in
"He was political, but he certainly wasn’t thinking about being a
political office holder, let alone a president," said roommate
Dawson, 54, a lawyer in New York.