“The big mistake that was made was letting Cheney bring in kind of his own State Department,” Bush told Meacham. “… But it’s not Cheney’s fault. It’s the president’s fault.” He added: “The buck stops there.”
In the biography, Bush Sr. also took a dim view of some of his son’s talking points.
“I do worry about some of the rhetoric that was out there — some of it his, maybe, and some of it the people around him,” Bush said. “Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get headlines, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the diplomatic problem.”
He took quite a few shots at Cheney (called him "iron ass") and Rumsfeld ("an arrogant fellow"), but I think the thing that will get under the skin of those guys the most is Bush Sr's characterization of why Cheney got so much more conservative and hardline than he had been as Secretary of Defense. He said it was because Cheney's wife and daughter made him that way. Ouch. Cheney laughed it off, but you know that one stung.