Gary Susman
June 01, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

One person who won’t be watching Michael Moore’s ”Fahrenheit 9/11” — though he already calls it a ”vicious attack” on President George W. Bush — is the president’s father, former president George H.W. Bush. ”I have total disdain for Moore,” the elder Bush told the New York Daily News. ”It’s a free country, so he’s free to say whatever he wants. But I don’t appreciate it. I don’t like it.”

Moore’s documentary, which takes swipes at the current president’s policies, also criticizes the entire Bush family for its business ties to prominent Saudis, including the bin Laden family. Even former first lady Barbara Bush is cited in the film for her comment at the beginning of the Iraq war, when she said: ”Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths? … Why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” Responding to Moore’s use of this remark, her husband said: ”For him to take on Barbara is just beyond the pale. She’s a decent, wonderful person, and to have to answer anything about what that slimeball says is just too much.”

For his part, Moore noted to the Daily News that the former president had once requested a Camp David screening of the filmmaker’s 1989 movie ”Roger & Me.” ”I appreciate all reviews of my films from the Bush family,” he told the Daily News. ”And if they love the film this much, without having seen it, I can’t wait for the reviews when they actually see it. I’d be more than happy to set up a White House screening.”

One family that doesn’t think Moore is a ”slimeball” is that of Nick Berg, the businessman who was beheaded by terrorists in Iraq last month. Moore revealed last week that his ”Fahrenheit” crew had interviewed Berg last year before he left for Iraq, but that he had chosen not to use footage from the 16-minute chat in the movie, and that he would let the Berg family decide whether or not the footage should be made public. Since then, the Associated Press reports, Sara Berg has seen the tape of her brother’s interview, in which he acknowledged the risks to his safety he would face in Iraq. Brother David Berg says the filmmaker has shown ”dignity, respect, and discipline” in his discreet handling of the tape. ”Michael Moore has really been a total class act with this whole thing,” he said. ”He could have sold this to the media or stuck it in his movie.”

The movie is now likely to see a release date of June 25 or July 2, Variety reports. Miramax co-chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein have completed their acquisition of ”Fahrenheit” from parent company Disney for a reported $6 million, since Disney forbade them from releasing the documentary under the Miramax imprint on the grounds that it was too partisan. The brothers are now free to seek a third-party distributor to release the movie in U.S. theaters.

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