by Kevin Allman
Earlier this week, former President George W. Bush kicked off a political-celebri-soap opera when he said Kanye West's characterization of him after Hurricane Katrina ("George Bush doesn't care about black people") was "the worst moment of my presidency" — an eight-year span of events that included not only Katrina, the federal floods, and the botched response, but also 9/11, two wars, an economy in the dumper and an unheard-of national deficit.
NBC News' Matt Lauer tracked down West to see if his feelings had softened in the five years since, and — surprise — they had:
"I didn't have the grounds to call him a racist," West said. "I believe that in a situation of high emotion like that we as human beings don't always choose the right words."
Shown a tape of West's remarks, Bush said he appreciated them and forgave him.
"I'm not a hater," he said. "I don't hate Kanye West. I was talking about an environment in which people were willing to say things that hurt. Nobody wants to be called a racist if in your heart you believe in equality of races."
All better? Not quite. West immediately took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the way Lauer conducted the interview, which was, in his eyes, "brutal":
let me tell you how they did me at the Today show. I went up there to express how I was empathetic to Bush because I labeled him a racist and years later I got labeled as a racist. While I was trying to give the interview they started playing the "MTV" under me with audio!!!!!!! I don't mess with Matt Lauer or the Today Show ... and that's a very nice way for me to put it! HE TRIED TO FORCE MY ANSWERS. IT WAS VERY BRUTAL AND I CAME THERE WITH ONLY POSITIVE INTENT.
I feel very alone very used very tortured very forced very misunderstood very hollow very very misused. I don't trust anyone but myself! Everyone has an agenda. I don't do press anymore. I can't be everything to everybody anymore. I can't be everybody's hero and villain savior and sinner Christian and anti Christ! I can't take anymore advice!!! I create, I'm creative, I have a good heart, everyone will see and understand one day.
And that's where it all stands, at least of Wednesday afternoon.