Obama wasn’t the only world leader George W. Bush dissed this week

Ron Kampeas

Former President George W. Bush addressing a star-studded gala celebrating past leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York, Oct. 15, 2013. (Michael Priest Photography)

Former President George W. Bush addressing a star-studded gala celebrating past leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York, Oct. 15, 2013. (Michael Priest Photography)

We covered this week’s Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas, and noted that only one session was on the record.

Jews do dish though, and we also got the skinny on former President George W. Bush’s off the record speech to the crowd and his veiled digs at President Barack Obama’s Iran and Iraq policies.

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Now Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who was in attendance, throws up his arms and says, if someone’s gonna leak some of the content to the New York Times, I may as well give it all up.

Turns out, Ari Fleischer, Bush’s former spokesman, pitched his ex-boss a tough question during the session, asking Bush whether he regretted saying he could see into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s soul.

Here’s Rabbi Shmuley, in the Jerusalem Post:

Yes, he acknowledged, he had once said that he had peered into Putin’s eyes and had seen his soul. He explained that he had made the comment directly after speaking to Putin about his mother and her religious faith.

He said that Putin had touched him deeply with the affectionate way he described his mother.

But all that was undone, he said, by an incident that displayed Putin’s deep insecurity and his I-win-you-lose mentality. After Putin met the president’s dog Barney, he commented on how small and weak the dog appeared. Later, when President Bush visited the Russian president at his dacha in Russia, Putin showed off an enormous, powerful dog. “He’s much bigger and more powerful than Barney,” Putin said.

Any man who had to show off his bigger, better dog, said Bush, had serious insecurity issues. Good thing, he continued, we were talking about dogs and not something else.

Ron Kampeas is JTA’s Washington bureau chief. Follow him on Twitter at @kampeas