tv President George H.W. Bush Interview CSPAN December 1, 2018 4:14am-5:17am EST
i can remember when i started thinking seriously about it and that is after i left been director of central intelligence. and icarter was president came back to texas and somewhere in there, i began to be serious. i did not make any permanent business connection or permanent university connection. did a little casing of boards of directors of business. i got thinking seriously about it. whether i had it crossed my mind earlier, i do not know. everybody elected to congress thinks maybe someday i will be president. in your book, you write that memo on aging and memory what was the point of that?
>> i put it in there because i want my kids to think if i'm disconnected it is because i am. it is a letter to kids talking about what it is like getting older. feel like a spring colt but i do forget stuff. i can remember clearly a long time ago than where i had lunch today. >> there are 38 million pages in this library. are you afraid one of those will be front page news? >> i think there is plenty of stuff that will make interesting do not think it'll be anything for the muckrackers to go crazy. are there audiotapes? >> i don't think there are any audiotapes. overseas conversations.
that is a standard deal. whether they kept audiotapes, i do not know. there are no audiotapes such as the ones done without knowing you are being taped. interviewer: you can see your career unfold. go back to congress. you think about your two tombs -- two terms. pres. bush: i was elected in the fall of 1966 and served through 1978. >> what did you learn? pres. bush: i learned that even though you are in your 40's as i was, you can still make friends. maybe you make your fast friends in school or in college. or in my case, in the service. i made a lot of friends. i remember being somewhat frustrated, being in the minority the whole time.
it trained me for being president when i faced a democratic majority for all four years. i learned a little about that from my four years of service. i loved being a member of the united states congress. hard to get something done. you are part of 435 people. brian lamb: what did you learn? pres. bush: i learned that it works. i learned respect for people that serve without getting credit for civil service. it is fine for democratic politics to berate those who serve in the career service, of any kind, not just foreign service. agencies, ierent learned that there are a lot of
good people serving their country. i learned many lessons. brian lamb: do you remember the wall street journal front-page piece in the 60's, the note on the front page that said watch for two men to become president of the united states one day? george bush and don regal? pres. bush: i don't remember it at all. i am kind of an old-fashioned guy. i remember the bad stuff, not the good stuff. article ridiculing me on the editorial page back in those days. i do not remember this nice squi b. brian lamb: your senate race. two times. pres. bush: i lost in 1964 and in 1970. brian lamb: what do you remember about losing? pres. bush: just losing? brian lamb: the experience. pres. bush: it is a character
builder. i think i am a better person because i have tasted defeat. i work like the dickens to see that i wouldn't be defeated in 1964 and 1970 and 1992. it hurts a lot. you learn a lot. you learn there is a lot beyond your personal defeat. you learn you have to be gracious in victory and defeat. you learn the pain of losing, it is not yours alone. in my case the pain of a lot of volunteers and staff people that helped me. there are so many lessons that you can get out of defeat. there is a lot of lessons you can learn in victory. brian lamb: do you remember why you wanted to be a senator?
pres. bush: i thought it would be a better forum to try and get something done. you are one of 100 people. i could have been able to accomplish more along the legislative lines that i believed in. it was that. i remember in 1964, the party was desperate to get somebody to run. that was back in the phone both days. -- phone booth days. now we are a two-party state. it wasn't a great groundswell of public opinion. i was doing what the party leaders wanted me to do back in 1964. in 1970, having experience in the house, i felt being a member
of the senate would have been a better way to accomplish things. brian lamb: g remember how much money you had to raise -- do you remember how much money you had to raise? pres. bush: it was miniscule. my whole campaign for congress in 1966, i want to say it was $200,000. it was considered huge in those days. i don't really remember on the senate. i knew we had a pretty good fundraising effort. i cannot say i lost because i did not have proper funding. brian lamb: your father was a senator for 10 years? pres. bush: 10 years. filled in in 1952 and the unexpired part of senator mcmahon's term. he was reelected with ike in 1956. he said then, i don't want to serve in the senate after i am 70. he did not run again.
he would have won. brian lamb: what was your relationship? pres. bush: my dad? love and respect. i don't think there is a man i have ever had more respect for. big strong,eat tak principled man. wrote what people the academy of a senator ought -- epitome of what a senator ought to be in terms of stability and honor. brian lamb: what did you learn about politics from him? pres. bush: not much because i was living in west texas when he was in the senate. people forget that. i was not in his campaigns. my brothers were. so did my sister. i was in west texas working for a living. i could not go back there.
once in a while, i would go as a guest, as his guest they are. i learned respect for the institution. lyndonber my dad saying, johnson is a great leader and the reason he is is because his word is good. he tells me his vote is going to be at 10:00, it will be at 10:00. there was a certain civility in the senate that dad respected and contributed to a. . i learned more about that than i did about any legislation. brian: there is a picture in your library downstairs probably from 1969. people talk about it a lot. it is when lyndon johnson left the air force space. why did you go out there to the airport to say goodbye to a democrat? pres. bush: i was a junior texas congressman.
lyndon johnson was a senior political figure. a texan who he had been elected president of the united states. it was the suggestion of a woman who worked for me. i wish i could say i thought of it. she said, you ought to be out there to pay your respects to lyndon johnson. i differed with him on almost every legislative initiative. but i went out there and stood in line. he saw me, walked by, could hardly believe it. he turned around and came back. and spoke to me. thatrd over and over again the johnson family took note of this and appreciated it. i've discovered in life it is not hard to do something that might appear to be kind or
thoughtful or proper. i think going there was all of those things. i know that president johnson mentioned to me after i got back from texas he appreciated it. brian lamb: have you learned anything from lyndon johnson or other presidents about how you wanted to live your time after the presidency? pres. bush: i am sure i have learned something from others but i've stayed off of all boards of directors. i have tried to avoid activities that might diminish the office i was so honored to hold. i don't think any particular president has been a role model. i have great respect for the way others have conducted themselves. jimmy carter is doing a lot of good work but he is involved in some things i would not want to be involved in. i think his motivation is
wonderful. he has made a great contribution to helping mankind in africa and wherever else it is. i don't want to be having an opinion on foreign affairs anymore, being out in a way that i look like i am trying to influence the government. i had my chance. i was beaten fair and square and i told president clinton the day i left the white house, you will not get a lot of grief out of me. for the most part, i have avoided the criticism. i think it is better for me to sit back. i have two sons that are the governor of florida and the governor of texas. that is all a dad can ask. barbara and i are trying to be what i call one of a thousand points of light. we are trying to put something back into the system.
if we can teach a handful of kids public service is noble, better than you think it is. try it, we will be doing something good. audience, i do not know if they can see it because of where we are located. there is noise in the background, a little bell, that's your dog. what's your dog's name? pres. bush: sadie. she is about four and a half, five. she was trained to be a great hunter. hunted her yet. she is a great rabbit chaser. she is the joy of barbara's life and mine. she is fast as lightning and she is a kind dog. she makes friends easily. pres. bush: how often does she go with you? brian lamb: always when we are in texas. when we come home, she rushes to the shutters and looks out. dogs and kids is what life is
about for me now. pres. bush: go back to the chronology. the u.n. came after your defeated for the senate? how did you get that job? brian lamb: president nixon -- brian lamb: go back to the chronology. the u.n. came after you were defeated for the senate? how did you get that job? pres. bush: president nixon said, we would like you to do something. he wanted john connolly to going to the secretary of the treasury. i walked in i was told i would be "taken care of." i didn't expect it. he suggested i might be coming to the white house as an aide. i didn't want to. i knew that yost was leaving as an ambassador to the united nations and i said, what about going there, even though i had no experience. theew how nixon felt about
new york establishment. i think he saw, here is a guy that knows something about politics and can learn about the intricacies of foreign affairs. he sent me up there. i loved it. brian lamb: were you thinking then about the presidency? pres. bush: i do not know. brian lamb: how long were you at the u.n.? pres. bush: two years. brian lamb: what did you learn? pres. bush: the united nations is like a parliamentarian body in a sense. i learned to treat other countries large and small with respect, even the small ones, once i went to the burundi embassy. it consisted of three people. word spread through the united nations that the united states ambassador was going to reach out. that helped. when you get down to close votes and you can win votes that
way. i met a lot of people my life would interact with later on, with various foreign policy agendas. i loved it. brian: had you started your note writing habit by then? pres. bush: i am sure i did. i started it when i was a teenager and i would write notes to different ambassadors. sometimes those meetings got pretty boring. i found most ambassadors, including the cold warrior from the soviet union, had a sense of humor. i would send the messages with a beautiful woman. i would write it down looking very serious. he would look over and smile. it was fun. that part was fun. you could relax with people. i gave a party for the 10 most overrated new yorkers. my name was on the list.
the guy that wrote the story felt i was worthy of the honor. i invited diplomats. i got a letter saying that it was beneath the dignity of my office. it was fun. bring all these people in, needle yourself and them a little bit. you put a little human face on diplomacy. writing, where did you get it from? pres. bush: i think i first got it from my mother. i would go and spend a weekend in the adirondacks and she would say, have you written your thank you letter? it started that way and it spread from there to be more than just thank you for the weekend. that was the initial exposure. we do that with our own grandchildren now. they are off the hook a little bit because of email. it is easier for them now. barbara would send them an
email. have you written your thank you letter to your grandfather? they push the reply button. thanks. we have always had this at our family. brian: have you kept copies of all your notes? pres. bush: no. i kept copies of everything i wrote when i was vice president, certainly president. every piece of paper that goes off that desk, there is a copy of it somewhere. i know we have good records from the presidency and the vice presidency. the rest were sporadic. the person who worked with me on this book went to the cia and dig out to find little pieces of paper that might fit into this book of letters. our record-keeping was
excellent in the white house. it had a most efficient assistant. she saw that every piece of paper went where it belonged. brian: is there any doubt in your mind those notes had a big impact on people? cumulatively? pres. bush: i don't know. if they have some substance to it, they might have. i do not know that just a thank you note has affect. i will try you what it did do. i would write notes to world leaders. it built a personal trust. they might disagree on this issue or that. i believe in personal diplomacy. part of personal diplomacy is writing a little note, telling a guy how much you enjoyed a speech he gave or thanking him for the marvelous time. in it, you would work in a
little substance. the main thing is the fact of the communication and it did add to my ability when the going got tough to converse with recipients. brian: what was your system? how did you keep track of all the people you wanted to write notes to? pres. bush: i didn't. it was helter skelter, hit and miss. i'm sure i overlooked a lot i wish i had written to. but if something would crop up, it might be a birthday or a swearing in of a successor or an election or having seen them at a conference or something hammers. even people that speak different languages have wonderful senses of humor. we would tap into that wherever we could. brian: do you remember a time in
your political career when you an enormous amount of time to writing notes? pres. bush: you can't always adequately think the people that help you in a campaign or in an administration. because i knew the credit belonged elsewhere for whatever. race, if we got something right, it was a team effort. never saw thee light of day in terms of sitting at the head table. those are the ones i would want to write. have peopleu ever coming up to you saying i have started to collect these and do you have people up there that have nice little folders of george bush letters? pres. bush: we do. absolutely. word got out that we were putting this book of letters
out. there were hurt feelings. my brother said, i thought this was a great letter, it never made the book. it was wonderful. brian: on this book are you , surprised this book is on the bestseller lists? your foreign affairs did not make it. pres. bush: but this is less serious. we are up there with harry potter and i do not know who the latest movie star is. brian: how many have you so? pres. bush: i do know no. i think it is kind of hanging in there. we had a lot of fun with this book. i do not want to write a memoir. this is the closest you will get to a memoir. it is not about substance. there is substance in there. it is about heartbeat. it is about my pulse. it is about what makes my family come together what hurts us, , what makes us cry and laugh.
brian: go back to the chronology. you became the republican national committee chairman in what year? pres. bush: the winter of 1973. brian: why did you do it? pres. bush: the president asked me. brian: why did he ask you? pres. bush: he thought i would be the best to be the chairman of the party. he said he wanted everyone's resignation on the desk before they close of business today. it was not the gentlest of approach but we sent the letters in. then we were all summoned to go to camp david. things he suggested to me was to be the deputy secretary of the treasury. george schultz was secretary which would have been a high honor. he said, what i want you to do is be chairman of the national committee.
i believe still if they president asks you to do something, you try to do it. i did. it was a headache. brian: you have a lot in your book. you have a letter to your children, your boys. nixonitiqued president and you basically say he lied? pres. bush: i think he did on the smoking gun tape. i defended him, trying to keep the parties sex part -- party separate from watergate. i was trying to be as loyal as i could be to the head of the party, richard nixon. it was not easy but there was a final blow where i saw he had not leveled with the american people and felt he should leave
office, as he did. when i became president, the person i got the most advice from was richard nixon. brian: you say the sentence in your note -- the man was amoral. what did you mean? you don't: i mean if look your cabinet in the eye and say one thing and have it be the complete opposite. there was some wonderful sides to nixon. as we have seen with tapes there , was kind of an ugly side. he would be critical of people in a personal mean way. ,that was hurtful. brian: this is august 5, 1974. a note for the record you wrote and i want to read one paragraph. you are talking about the prediction that the president
would not survive but we would look back when we were both 80 and say this is one of the great presidents of our time. you are 75. i am: i -- pres. bush: close to saying that now. not looking at his flawed character in this way but looking at his global perspective and his knowledge of foreign affairs and his determination, his strength. he will be recorded. his presidency will always be ugliness ande finale the of the lie of watergate. brian: after the republican national committee, you got the china job. in between that there is talk , about you being vice president. pres. bush: there was some
tomier on in 1968 when dooley suggested to nixon -- i had only been in congress for two years. some of my colleagues in congress thought this would be a good idea. nixon later told me you had a fine campaign going to be vice president. it did not happen. when nixon left office, gerald ford had to pick a vice president. i was asked to take a poll. with some embarrassment, i send the results with the names down to the white house and i led and there was some speculation in the columns that had my name involved. the day ford announced his pick,
he was going to walk into the east room to announce who he wanted. my phone rang. it was the president. now to, i am going in announce nelson rockefeller. i want you to know this is a , hard call for me to make. gerald ford is one of the most considerate men i have ever met. to take the time -- i could see it on television -- here he was me because he didn't want hurt feelings. there was speculation. i didn't expect that. brian: had you thought about running for president? pres. bush: i do not know. as i told you my real thinking , about it began after. this, maybe.e for i didn't want to waste any time on it. brian: why did you go to china? pres. bush: i thought that was
the future. president ford was very generous, saying paris is open, london is open. i knew i wanted to try to do more in the foreign affairs. i said what about china? , david bruce, the senior diplomat, was coming home. he said, let me check. not like it because i defended the dual representation policy in the u.n. you better check with henry kissinger. he said he thought it would be all right. the chinese sent someone else to president ford right away. it worked and i loved it. brian: you try to learn chinese? pres. bush: every day for five days a week. brian: how did you do? pres. bush: i gave a going away speech in chinese. i think all of them understood i
was speaking in chinese all of , the people that worked around the embassy. the language teacher was in the back, a quiet little lady. i loved it. brian: you have some old chicken scratches on chinese downstairs in your library. pres. bush: i did not write characters. that must be somebody else. brian: you are trying to do the characters. pres. bush: i could not read characters. all i did was speaking. brian: what did you learn from your experience as a chinese liaison? pres. bush: i learned how to buy noodles in chinese. i learned the importance of china. i saw the disadvantages of a totally closed society. having been there, i appreciate that there are far more human liberties and human rights in china today than when we lived there.
it is not perfect by a long shot. i learned the family was still a strong entity in china. i went out there in 1970, thinking the family is falling apart in china. kids have been sent to the countryside to be indoctrinated. the minute i got there, i saw how wrong that was. inaw the beginning of growth china. society was closed. you could not go in a person's home and people were scared to talk to you. you were followed. i learned a lot. i learned a lot about the blessings of freedom. brian: you fly into the houston international airport and your name is on the airport. you drive out to dolly madison highway, and there it is. the george bush cia, named after you. there is a major conference
going on as we take this interview. that was your next stop. how long were you there? pres. bush: one year. it was perhaps the most fascinating year of my lifetime. i don't know that i left a mark, but they left a mark on me. the mark had to do with the importance of intelligence, had to do with dedicated, selfless, honorable public service. the mark had to do with the fundamental importance to a president of the best intelligence in the world. the mark had to do with being outraged by some of the critics of the cia. i was proud and privileged to defend it. we corrected abuses that had taken place in the past. we were involved in trying to point out the importance in
congress and ever where else of having the best foreign intelligence in the world. brian: why did you leave the job? pres. bush: thrown out. president carter wanted to put his own director in. he nominated ted sorensen. i went home. brian: are you studying as you go through all these jobs? the presidency? the government? -- i bush: it would be would think about the individual assignment. interactw does that with the state department. made thatcisions would affect china policy. the cia. how do you make sure the decisions of the past would never take place again. do you have the proper executive orders from the white house to guarantee the cia was properly supervised. i would learn from individuals. i do not remember but i don't
think i ever put it in the context of each step being a step towards an inevitable presidency. brian: let me ask you about vietnam and watergate. either from what was going on in your life or right now what do , you think the legacy of both of those -- i was watching a tape the other day of president nixon saying that vietnam created watergate because of the attitude. that created a bunker mentality. what do you think the legacy of those two things are? pres. bush: the legacy of vietnam is, if you are going to be in a war, fight it and when -- win it. vietnam is not to disservice those who serve honorably.
i think the military had its hands tied. that was a bad thing to say in those days but my lessons from watergate are different than some others. i would agree that you ought not to get into a war where the mission is not clear. once you are in it, fight it and win it. do not dishonor those who serve their country and wear the uniform. one of the great things about desert storm, because we fought it that way, let the military fight and win and give them resources to do it. there was instant pride and respect in our country and a lot of those wounds of vietnam are healed because of that experience. i am perhaps old-fashioned about vietnam.
i am not a revisionist. i am not one who thinks we have to honor those who ran away. brian: what about watergate? pres. bush: an aberration. was such a small thing until the lies, the cover up. if somebody had said what a huge , mistake, here is how it happened -- what a stupid operation. going into spy on -- i cannot even remember who it was. still my papers and they would not learn a thing. to have it covered up and get the fbi to corrupt the process of government, that was the seriousness of watergate. i learned from watergate, be sure everybody plays by the rules, be sure the laws are enforced, and don't violate it for political reasons. i saw a good man, richard nixon,
brought down because of an ugly cover up. brian: then the vice presidency came along. how did that happen? pres. bush: i came in second to ronald reagan running for president. i saw that i was to faded even defeated evens though we won a couple of big primaries. i went out and paid off a huge debt. i went across the country. mississippi was the last stop. jackson, mississippi. i said, i want to go to michigan, to the republican convention. i do not want to go a dime. to she people out yf what they are entitled to b y
owing money. i went to jackson and with a successful fundraiser, we paid off every dime. i went to michigan not expecting anything. there were rumors that president reagan was going to invite gerald ford to be his running mate. that blew up. i was sitting in the hotel. the telephone rang. it was ronald reagan, asking me if i would be his running mate. brian: did you ever think about not doing it? pres. bush: no. all this stuff about people saying i do not want to be vice president. they do. brian: when did you make the decision, to say i'm going to go for the presidency? pres. bush: probably 1977. i ran starting off a as
n asterisk. nobody knew who i was. i have a network of friends. i was able to raise enough money to get my message out. the next thing i knew, bigger names had fallen by the wayside. i was left standing. ronald reagan wasn't standing very long because he dusted me off somewhere after michigan and before california. brian: what did you learn? pres. bush: about loyalty and government and foreign affairs. everybody ridicules the vice presidency. there is a lot of substance to it, provided you work for a man you respect and a man that will delegate certain ,esponsibilities, in my case regulatory reform, antiterrorist studies. in return, i owed him my loyalty. i was lucky.
ronald reagan, when i ran for president after eight years, i would not have moved away from him if it meant the election. i would not have jumped sideways and say, i have known all along he should have done this differently. i would not do that and i didn't feel that way. iran-contra thing. fortunately, that was resolved to the satisfaction of the american people. if i'd have been there, i wouldn't have done this. you can't do that and live with yourself in terms of loyalty and character. brian: who taught you loyalty? pres. bush: my mom and dad. brian: who taught them loyalty? where does it come from? pres. bush: in those days, people were not afraid to teach values in school.
i do not know whether they got it in school or from their family. they had values. they values were not just tell the truth. values like, be kind to people. help somebody when he is hurt. values like, give the other guy credit. those served me well when i was president. brian: were you surprised in the recent book that your comment about they did not invite you upstairs got such attention? pres. bush: i never made such a comment. look in the archives. at every state dinner, we were upstairs with the head of state coming in. he did not have to invite us. we were upstairs many times. i do not know where he got that.
it is totally wrong. brian: did you ever talk to him for that book? pres. bush: i probably did. i do not remember. there we go, again. if i did, it would be here in the library. i am sure he did. brian: you did not feel that way about president reagan? pres. bush: no. and i never would have said that if i had because of what i told you earlier. you can't be loyal on some things and try to gain a notch on the other guy by pushing him down. my relationship with reagan -- after this came out, we had calls from nancy reagan, a lot of people, fred ryan about reagan did not feel this way about you. there was some put down in the book about how he disdained
barber and me. we were there. ronald reagan's marvelous secretary called me and she said, i feel so hurt reading this. i was there. i heard him talk. does george know this? be sure georges informed. -- george is informed. we had a close relationship. to have it diminished, quite hurtful. brian: what did you talk about when you met with president reagan at lunch? pres. bush: no agenda. it was a good opportunity to see my view on whatever it is. it was more, i hope for him, relaxing. if there was jokes something going on in a big way in the world, we would talk about that. it was totally relaxed.
we had the white house mexican plate because it was wednesday or thursday. i think he knew i wasn't going to blindside him. we had a lot of people call me and say please tell him we have , to do this on the airline strike or something. i would not do that. he knew i would not do it. brian: you kept a diary? pres. bush: a sporadic one. brian: did you make notes after every meeting you had with the president? pres. bush: no. i wish i had. i'm not sure it is in the library. maybe it is here. you won't have access to it for a while. i don't want stuff that hurt people's feelings. there is not a lot of stuff that will hurt people's feelings. if there is one or two things, i don't want it there.
let us wait until everybody is dead or too old to get hurt. brian: did you ever notice in your meetings with president reagan he was beginning to lose contact? pres. bush: i never did. if that book alleges that after he was shot he lost it, i don't think it did but if it did, it would be wrong. i remember reagan seem to me the year before he left the presidency, do you have trouble remembering stuff? i said, of course. we would compare notes on what it was he was asking about, somebody he had seen or was going to meet. i would see him every day. i was given the privilege, the only one who could walk into the oval office anytime i wanted to. his secretary would confirm that.
the idea that he "lost it" is fallacious. brian: did you ever think you were going to be made a temporary president because of him being shot or having operations? pres. bush: i did not know. i remember flying from texas to washington. the latest reports were there ronaldthe reports were that pret reagan was shot and in the hospital. like a friend was hurt and i was wondering what it was like. i'm sure somewhere along the line i thought the burden of this presidency might descend on me. it became clear pretty early on that he was going to make it. eight years as vice president. 100there was one other man
60-something years earlier martin van buren that had gone from that job to the presidency in a long time. pres. bush: the van buren myth continues. wondered why. odds arethink that the stacked against me because the last guide to win was old marty, marty van buren. when you are vice president, you are not your own man. you have to get your own heartbeat and pulse out there. you sublimate your own views to those of the president, provided you want the vice presidency to mean anything or the vice presidency to mean anything to have. if i carve out my own niche as vice president, what kind of
loyalty is that? it would be like john nancy garner said, he wouldn't even have an office in the white house if he didn't permit it. >> your vice president, you run for president, had even studying what you would do differently? pres. bush: i don't remember studies, but i'm sure i had ideas about it. some have written down major objectives. to me, it wasn't running as a departure from the ronald reagan record. having tosed in not say this has been a failure, therefore i'm going to do it this way. i wouldn't have done it anyway. president.a beloved
iran matter quite d down in spite of the press fascination trying to harm me with it. i not remember when i began to make a specific agenda. i had specific views. >> go back to when you started the presidency. you had been vice presidency, you had all of these other jobs, you had watched this office, all of a sudden you raise your hand. did you feel different? what happens to you? felt i would not complain about the loneliness of the job. if anyone understood the burden shoulders they would be more understanding of why i did this or that. i am alone here, i can't turn to
anybody. that is a bunch of malarkey. from day one with a first-class team of foreign policy who knew more than i did, arms-control, and defense strategy. the economic side, very smart knowledgeable people. if you have confidence in somebody else and are willing to delegate, all of this burden stuff is not gone forever, but partially reduced. in, i knew what my team was going to be for the most part. i had seen ronald reagan under pressure. at least i was prepared for the magnitude of the job. not that you can ever think, i am capable of solving every problem. had i never been close or seen it operate, it may have
been even more awesome. it was still awesome. i was sitting with my mother, one of the first pictures i had taken in the oval office was with my mother. there was a symbolism with that. she had taught me a lot about values. a lot about trying to do it right in life. the fact that she was there was setting the tone for perhaps how i would want to treat other people. >> you talk about when you are jumping out of the plane. you did not sleep very well and p.m.'s.ed some tylenol do you sleep any differently? it depends if there was a real crisis. i remember the night before panama. the weight of the world on your shoulders. muscles aching, for me. consider somebody
else's kid losing their life. maybe itn that, are was some great confrontation with the democratic congress, in and adversarial relationship could be something to keep you awake. most of the time i slept pretty well. >> in your book, most of the stuff you wroke, most of the notes -- pres. bush: everything is written, except there are some read in paragraphs. , it -- whyhy is it do president's become so formalized and speechwriters right above and beyond what you would normally say and you stand in front of an audience? pres. bush: our speechwriters were very good, but i know
exactly what you mean. i would go through the state of nion and i would say people know that i am not a toes, i'm just a guy trying be president. maybe i would have done better if the words had soared and i have not crossed out intellectual quotes. i thought this was something i was not and people would see through this. some of the best speeches were written by the people. i was ambivalent about all of this. >> in the context of your presidency, i want you to look at your son. that run foreople president change as the cocoon wraps around them and the press begins its intense look at the situation. how do you avoid that? as you look at your son running,
do you see him changing? pres. bush: there has been some criticism and muckraking, intrusive, unaccountable journalism. gotcha pop quizzes. i think i know something about foreign affairs, and i could not answer some of those questions. friends that know a lot more than i do could not answer them. you have that kind of thing . he is better than his dad, because he can stay connected with people. i was a pretty good campaigner. i could interact with people. fun.s i could interact well, but not as well as my son. i don't think any positive or negative press will keep him from communicating with the guy on the street, the rope line, the school, or whatever.
i think the kind of journal some you are implying about is worrisome, but it should not keep good people from wanting to serve. >> when you were president, did you let those kinds of things -- pres. bush: did it get me down? your dam right. it didn't get me down, it made me angry, because i did not think it was fair. to probably got me angrier than i should. you don't get anywhere getting angry in life. too far, you have to do it once in a while. thelt a certain sense of trail by the nice woman who wrote the article. because of my intervention she got to interview my ailing mother. we try to protect my mother from thing.nd of
she was welcomed into our home by my sister because it was going to be a nice story. it was offensive. i did something i very seldom do. i was vice president, we had a ,eeting with katharine graham the guy from washington all caps off and met with me and jim baker about it. even though the reporter was a valued friend of mine, i said why give him special treatment? i'm not going to give him inside access to behind the scenes campaign if you do a gut-job on me like that. i got angry. letters orrite the editors. . wrote one letter
technology brand-new . most of the other media people reported it that way. machinery, how you could take a crushed package for the first time in history and show the price tag. i thought this is awesome that some lazy reporter that wasn't scan groceries. in the story went on. even though cbs guy said this is unfair. most everybody else jumped on the guy that wrote the story. it is still caught in one of somewhere.ers i saw favorable story about me in the wall street journal this year. it referred to too bad he wasn't connected, and the scanner thing showed that. that kind of thing would get me angrier than it should. ie rest of my presidency,
don't think i ever -- some guy will watch this and say, there i the letter -- i don't think ever directly personally appealed to a publisher. one and saidph this lousy story -- maybe i should have done more of it. >> what are the two or three things that made you what you are as president. we're looking at the last few minutes of this interview. my values. my respect for the office. >> which job. pres. bush: president. >> i mean, which got before that? cia, china? pres. bush: they all stand together. combat. that probably shaved my life when i lost 2 friends in that plane and felt responsibility for their life, yet my life was
spared. a scared navy pilot, 20 years old. i learned something about the pride of the military, duty, honor, and country. >> let's come back to this library. 100 years from now people come into this place and see your career. what is the most important to you? pres. bush: they will see desert storm. they will see that i reached out to try to end this peacefully. >> what is the legacy today of desert storm? will bush: a good neighbor not with impunity take over the neighborhood. linesare certain moral you cannot cross. this was one of them. they cannot let that aggression stand. this aggression will not stand. it is against the backdrop of raping 14-year-old muslim girls
and brutalizing a community, setting afire the environment. if it was going to be one incident, it would be desert storm, with its trials, and tribulations, politics, diplomacy, and eventually its culmination in victory by the best all volunteer force in the world. ,o have that happen on my watch with plenty of credit to others, was wonderful. son is in front of you and you have 2 minutes to tell him some broad, basic approaches to running for president based on what you already experienced. what you tell him? pres. bush: are you talking about my oldest son? i would give them all the same advice. be yourself. be honest. respect others.
and do your best. if you win or lose your life will be fantastic ahead of you. i would definitely tell them that. that is what happened in my life. i speak from considerable experience. i would tell them, give it your best shot, and i will be there to help you if you get hurt. >> thank you, mr. president. pres. bush: not at all. our live call-in program on sunday at noon eastern. his most recent book debuted at number one on the new york times best seller list of. his other books include the
inner circle, the book of faith, and eight other best-selling thrillers. meltzerwith author brad sunday from noon to 3:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span2. leader nancyrity pelosi opposed with a picture fo that the newly elected leadership. afterwards, congresswoman pelosi, who was nominated by her colleagues to be speaker of the house held a news conference on capitol hill.