It's an age old question: Who are "they" and what do they want from us?

Apparently "they" wanted former US President George W. Bush to endorse Sen. John McCain for president -- but "I’d have endorsed Obama if they’d asked me," he reportedly told a group of British diplomats in 2008.

Or were "they" the Democrats? They certainly wanted nothing to do with the outgoing president's politically radioactive brand.

That detail, about a president who once called himself "the decider," is sure to fire up some interesting rhetoric in the press over which "they" might be so powerful as to compel a president's endorsement, even against his own wishes.

And while at least one member of the press knew about this utterly revealing comment at the time it was made, they too did not publish it. Not until now, that is.

"George W. Bush’s bombastic return to the world stage has reminded me of my favourite Bush anecdote, which for various reasons we couldn’t publish at the time," The Financial Times's Alex Barker wrote. "Some of the witnesses still dine out on it."

He noted that Bush made the remarks about McCain -- saying "I probably won’t even vote for the guy" and, "I had to endorse him -- to a group of visiting British dignitaries in the Oval Office.

Bush has long had a less-than-friendly relationship with the Arizona Senator. Ever since the 2000 presidential campaigns, when McCain and Bush were fighting tooth and nail for the Republican nomination, a marked bitterness has exited between the two.

In his new book "Decision Points", the publication of which marks his renewed presence in US media, Bush calls his relationship with McCain "complex" and says he was "disappointed" he could not do much help his formal rival.