tv Discussion on the Lives of George H.W. and Barbara Bush CSPAN December 31, 2019 10:02am-11:07am EST
attack on the u.s. embassy in iraq. they will be held fully responsible. in addition, we expect iraq to use its forces to protect the embassy, and so notified" the quote came after iraqi iranian protesters entered the u.s. embassy in iraq. -- talks bush grandson about his grandparents influence on him. c-span is live in boston afterwards where elizabeth warren will give a new year's eve speech. later, here the georgia congressional delegation give senatorto retiring isakson. first, george p. bush on the
legacy of his grandparents a george h. w. bush and barbara bush. >> thank you. welcome. i feel like i probably do not need to introduce my fellow panelists here, because everyone knows who they are, but on my left we have george p. bush. speaking on behalf of the bush brand. [applause] >> susan page is the washington andau chief for usa today author of the best-selling biography of barbara bush called the matriarch. she will be signing copies of it after this. [applause] beschloss, one of our most well-known presidential historians who has written so many things, so many books, i will be asking you about some of
the stuff that i found in my worn copy of character of all. something i want to ask all of lost- given that we have barbara bush and george h. w. bush so close together, what kind of reassessment do you think this has brought for the country as to what the bush name and what the significance really was of all of the work that they did in so many arenas of public service? >> looking back on it now coming close to a year, i just think about a life of public service. i think of the world war ii generation. it really wasn't about them as individuals. it was the turning of a page of our country's history in many respects. i was privileged to be asked to give the eulogy for my
grandfather. when we came back to houston, it was a celebration of both of their lives. it was not a celebration of one individual. it was a celebration of our heritage. as texans, their time in the middle and after his military service in world war ii, later rising to political ranks in houston, texas and really the story of a couple seeking to achieve the american dream as it was defined. those simple values and that work ethic was celebrated that week. i will say this also, in texas we had a different celebration, but in dci thought it was refreshing that for three days, the white noise of washington dc shut down. the country came together. it was special to witness. i hope people continue to recognize the contributions of that generation. >> i came in on the 1990 two
campaign when george bush lost his bid for a second term. we know how discouraging that was for him. in that election, there was not animosity toward president bush and certainly not toward barbara bush. there was a feeling that there was a time for a change after three terms of republican presidents, but there has been a reassessment of both bushes since that election. there is no appreciation for the skill with which george bush war, which wasd not a cinch to work out. i also think that the administration of president trump has prompted some americans to appreciate the tone,ty, the bipartisan the willingness to talk across party lines, some of the qualities that president bush brought to the white house are
newly appreciated today in the way -- in a way they were not appreciated previously. i think that barbara bush's reputation continues. to get better as we understand how important she was. i agree with everything that has been said so far. if you are looking for conflict i suspect this is not the place to come for it. i think we are all great admirers of both. i am interested in susan's point because if you go back to 1992 and the year that george h. w. bush was defeated for reelection, the arguments that bill clinton was making is that he is out of touch, his skills are not needed in a post-cold wasera, even though it george h. w. bush that ended the cold war so that you could have a era of peace so you could focus on the domestic side, but
to me it shows something that is very profound about history. to think that as history goes on you begin to change your views. getime goes on and as you access to letters and diaries because things i can guarantee you do not look the same about a single -- sitting president as they will 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 years later. preferably a longer. of time. as time went on, it allowed us to see and allowed more americans to think about this to understand that it was not at all foreordained that though cold war would end as it did. the cold war ended in 1990 one on terms that harry truman and all these other cold war presidents could only have dreamt of. one of the central reasons that
that happened was that every cold war president made a contribution. god whenrotected by george h. w. bush was president during the last years of mikhail gorbachev because if i was looking for qualities of presidents that would turn out to be important, i would want someone with the human qualities to build a relationship with gorbachev so that gorbachev would do things like open the berlin wall and allow the eastern european satellites to go and later on to join nato in that that he did not feel georgia -- george h. w. bush would make fun of him or embarrass him in certain ways. i think we now see much more clearly how lucky we were to have him as president. the other thing i will say, and i want to ask particularly susan
and karen about this because both are and have been writing about first ladies, i have been doing this for almost 40 years and i have written primarily .bout the first lady i have met a number of them, including barbara bush. and also nancy reagan. karen, how far along are you? >> i am getting there. >> it is a terrible thing for an author to ever ask that question. in any case, one thing i would generally say about first ladies, and tell me if this sounds right to you, that is that you ask a first lady about --ething that you know they will always essentially say it was not me, it was the president. i may have had some influence,
but he carried the load on this. give him the credit. more time you spend studying the howt ladies, you find vitally important to these first ladies were, both in their own right and in these presidencies. i cannot think of an exception to that. maybe the best example of that would be best truman. -- beth truman. beth truman was thought of by the general public as a someone who barely knew what her husband was doing professionally, spent a lot of time in the truman home in missouri, wasn't even in washington. there was this huge event that truman was in the middle of -- world war ii, the integration of the military. when they're both gone and we got into the letters and
diaries, you saw how essential she was, not only to him, but to the presidency. all i'm telling you is if you would hear a first a lady in real-time, or a first house -- as a man will be a first spouse, i hope soon -- does that sound right to the two of you? i found that speech to barbara bush -- behind the scenes that she was very influential. but generally as a partner to george h. w. bush through his whole life, she was indispensable to him. about 130 people for the buck and almost every person i interviewed, i would end the interview by saying "if george bush had not married
barbara pierce, would he have done the things he did, including being -- becoming president?" i asked george h. w. bush this and he thought about it and he said "yes, i think i would have." if you are married, that is the wrong answer to give. person iery other interviewed, not quite everyone, but almost everyone said "no, he would not have done all he did without being married to barbara pierce." the younger the person to answer, the more likely they were to say that she was crucial. themrandchildren, some of did not seem to understand the question. like "how could you ask that question, of course!" he had notsk you, if
married barbara pierce would he have done the things he dead? >> no. absolutely not. she was later labeled the silver fox, but i think she would have inferred the enforcer. >> actually, enforcer was later on in life. was the gray fox, which seemed a little insulting. the enforcer, even if the label came later, it more clearly reflected -- >> oh, yes, in the entourage and the family. george.my question to same time, later on, as life went on, people realized that she also had a very tough side. does that sound right to you? >> absolutely on point. >> i'm sure you never saw that.
>> i was never the recipient of that. [laughter] that skill set to raise george w. bush. she clearly was the enforcer of the family. she at times was the bad guy, if you will, in terms of executing discipline. that started in the days of midland all the way to the 18 grandkids and walker's point up in maine. we all respected my grandma. she made sure we stood up straight -- set up straight, spoke with correct grammar. we are going to miss her so much. that is the spirit that she had. i would say politically she was an advisor to my grandfather. she was not the one who ruled
the roost. whowas the first person askd ask for -- we would for advice on. >> sitting now as we are in houston, texas, the bushes come are twond and they kinds of exotic species that we did not see much of in texas. they were connecticut yankees and they were something that was even rarer at the time -- they were republican. houston,y moved to your father takes ever the republican party, in part because there is a messy battle going on between the berkshires and the corporate republicans. crucial tomily is so
implanting the dna of the republican party into texas politics. the kind of republicanism that you see today in texas in many ways doesn't resemble that that much. there sense that it is and do that there can be a return to it perhaps? >> there is a silent majority of republicans that do not have the time to go and be an activist. solution oriented leadership, whether it is in austin or washington dc. regretfully because of the conflicts we have seen in texas within our own party, we have lost our super majorities, especially in the statehouse. here i am on my soapbox saying i'm one of the few republicans trying to bring people together as we head into a redistricting
decided by the composition of the house and senate. truly the state trends more blue. >> one of the really interesting things that you came across in your research, actually asked misses bush, "do you still consider yourself a republican?" what did she say? >> when i interviewed her we were coming up on the one-year anniversary of president trump selection. it will stun you to know that she was not a big fan of president trump. i asked her and she said "yes, of course." what turned out to be my last interview with her in 2015, i iid" when i first talk to you ask you if you're still a republican.
what you think now? " no.she said she felt she no longer had a home in the republican party. george h. w. bush voted for hillary clinton. barbara bush did not like hillary clinton much either, so barbara bush road in jeb bush's name for president. it says -- wrote in jeb bush's name for president. for theof them voted republican candidate in the last election of their lives. is, we talk thing about probably the accomplishment of george herbert walker bush that is going to get him the biggest place in history just ofr guiding, not the country but the hold world -- whole world through the end of the cold war. he was so surefooted.
now whoa president talks about america first, but george bush had relationships with a lot of the key players in that decade, whether it was the envoy to china, or the head of the cia. do you think that this kind of internationalist strain of the republican party still exists or has donald trump taken it to a different place? >> he is the leader of the party, so he does define foreign policy, republicans do not have to agree on every single issue there is. if you look back on the time of my grandfather, whether it was liaising with china, he viewed that as one of his favorite posts of all time. in terms of his international relationships, he spoke with his vice president about the string of soviet premieres died.
he prided himself on his frequent flyer miles with chase untermeyer and other aids and developing those relationships and making sure our national security objectives were being achieved. whenever you could actually get him to talk about politics, which was very difficult to do as a grandchild, he would beam with excitement when it came to foreign policy. , thechael, again surefooted nests, the degree to surefootedness, you also saw that in the international coalition he got going into the first gulf war. >> for sure. it was very much him. not only the fact that he had a diplomacy, fit for but he had been ambassador to the u.n. since 1971, relatively early in life.
that is what you do up there. a lot of the people he knew as ambassadors were leader of governments by the time he became government -- president. let me follow up on something we were talking about before -- i that barbara say did notd nancy reagan have the closest relationship on earth. they did not have a lot in common other than that they both went to smith college. married to people who were optimistic, liked to make friends, liked to see the best in people. those two women, if they walked into a room, i think i would say this for both of them, and there was someone 18 rows back who did not have george bush's best interest at heart, barbara bush
just had a sense for sensing that person in the room that that person was a danger or needed some work. i think nancy reagan did too. does that sound right to you? >> i think barbara bush was more likely to remember. and exact a price. george h. w. bush was more likely to either forget about it or forget. do you think that is true? >> absolutely. my grandmother had a long term memory. i have the scars to show it. that applied to politics. it would be a discussion and she would say so and so -- "so-and-so crossed you in texas. " she was the first to jump in on previous political conflicts. >> that is what was meant by the enforcer. >> is that something that was
essential to his political career? would he have been able to succeed without it? >> he obviously had great advisors along the way, but there is nothing like the spouse stepping in. he had no other agenda than to beat -- too forget how brutal that 1980 republican primary really was. other.ally went at each >> you want to remind us what happened in dallas, in case everyone -- >> there was voodoo economics. forgeteagan did not that. that primaryend was very, very difficult. several people i have talked to
about all of this suggested that often it is easier for the husbands to let go of this than the wives. >> or the candidates. >> do not want to identify this person who i interviewed for the buck, an elected official who is , antage now -- the book elected official who is on stage now -- [laughter] >> i'm not sure if you remembered this. "sometimes it is necessary for the candidate are the official to have amnesia, so it is useful to have someone else you trust who does not." i think that is right. sometimes you need to let bygones be bygones, but
sometimes -- maybe it is useful to have someone to say "that is an -- they are not with you." jfk, "why areld , because so nice to x i thought he has done such terrible things. " cannot be inyou politics if you have that in mind all the time. is an important to have someone who does have that in mind? can we ask the officeholder? >> especially in the twitter era. , --ou read your comments it is important to have someone who can keep an honest
appraisal, who can remove yourself. as somebody in politics, it is difficult to remove yourself. that is the vital role that my grandma played. for that matter, so did the kids. my dad and my uncle worked extraordinarily hard and all of us did to make sure that they were successful but also to give that honest appraisal whenever have to decision's will be made. -- whenever tough decisions will be made. my grandfather in maine talked with his political team, but my -- soliciteds conversations at the dinner table. we had our vote and we had our say.
which thed a venue by family would weigh in, including grandkids. that is a role that successful politicians -- >> who won the family vote? >> i do not recall. other names that you remember that were raised? lugar,ink dickel indiana. >> zero looking at a senator from indiana, dust -- >> you have forged your own path, your own identity beyond your name. often kind of taking on the establishment. republicantire texas establishment was behind it david dewhurst, you backed ted cruz.
he famously you helped donald trump in the state. earlier this year the president was here for an event and he introduced you as truly -- the only bushs who got it right." i when i entered politics, don't think anyone could have predicted what would happen in 2016. i worked very hard for my dad when he ran. in 1980, we talked about that being an ugly campaign, but 2016 was pretty bad. one of the lessons i have learned in my family is that politics can be a dirty sport. things are said that we all sometimes regret, but we all have to move on, if you want to move forward in politics. i have paved my own way, i have supported the president, i intend to do so this cycle.
i have also stepped away from the party on a variety of issues, including white nationalism after the shooting in el paso, which was written about in the atlantic. i have stepped out on a variety of another -- other issues. a lot of lessons learned from my grandfather's time and my grandmother that i try to use in my formal public service. after tropical storm them elda lda, i and my team went out and mocked and cleaned -- mucked and cleaned homes. it was great to see nonprofits out there fighting the fight before the government did. i think in many ways, the appreciation of the bush name is, you cannot divorce that from
the contrast of the current occupant of the white house. of georger obituary herbert walker bush for the washington post it was probably a 180 inches story and i did not mention donald trump's name until the third to last paragraph and i got all these emails from trump reporters "why did you slam trump in this article that was supposed to be about george h. w. bush's life?" that he ran on character above all and experience -- >> if i can interrupt, the most popular bush commercial in 1980 features the narrator saying,
"the more you know about george bush, the more you know that no been betters ever prepared to be president of the united states." does that sound right? >> yes. make you play it over and over again? >> one take johnny. >> do you remember the day that that was done? no, not today. >> i think that is why the bid for reelection was so crushing for george h. w. bush. character was so important to him. felte time, both bushes that bill clinton did not have the character that george h. w. bush dead. they were surprised that
americans do not agree with them on that. they elected bill clinton. -- barbara bush invited hillary clinton to take the dutch 80 days after the election, barbara bush election, after the barbara bush invited hillary clinton to take a tour of the living quarters. she obviously had not processed to the fact that they had lost. she said to hillary clinton, "i still cannot believe we lost. i'm still in shock. aren't you? " said, "no, clinton i'm not." >> one of the reasons i applied to rice was to be closer to my
grandparents. they spent in a turn it he in public service. it gave me the opportunity to grab tex-mex on a sunday afternoon with them in between classes. it took a while. he built a great relationship with him after. it speaks to his character that he was able to let it go. and continue that service, whether it is raising $100 million for the tsunami in indonesia and working after katrina. my uncle tapping both of them to come together to raise money for the recovery effort in louisiana. where myd such a point dad and my uncle called bill -- their son son from another mother. >> i was on a trip with your father early in the 2016 campaign where it appears, if
you had to put smart money on dutch -- iember sitting with him remember sitting with him in a aer garden in germany and -- beer garden and your father said, "well, i have not gone soft like the rest of my family has." >> she would sometimes not be as much of a fan, but my grandfather was all about bill clinton. they developed -- and they knew whentogether they could -- you actually work in a divided government together, you can actually accomplish something. >> bill clinton's biological father died before he was born. he never knew his biological father. psychologyeen that
that toward the end of their presidency is, george h. w. bush became in away the father that bill clinton never had. of the oral histories for the university of virginia, i do not know what is in them, but one of the people involved in that talks in a really compelling way about that aspect of his relationship with george h. w. bush. it is extraordinary. two presidents from different parties, and one defeated the other, dust -- helped getyou think your grandfather out of his monroe's estate after the election. --i would say that it is state afteroor
the election? >> i would say it was austen. i think that it was important -- itm in terms of the was austin. personal.s ultimately healingpect another event was seeing his son defeat l clinton's vice president. what was it like for your defeat bill-- clinton's vice president. what was it like for your grandfather to manage his relationship with his son in the white house? he understands the kinds of decisions he is making better than anyone but may be to other people in the world? how does he manage being there
with backing off and letting him be his own president? >> he led by saying i am a father first and a president second. that meant i love you unconditionally, son, if you ever have any questions or advice, feel free to -- and i am sure that he did, particularly as it related to foreign policy, but we still would meet up in d.c. during holidays and get together, but a lot has been written in terms of him opining, and yes he did have his subordinates and others within his administration who critiqued foreign policy, which will lead historians to litigate, but when it came to actually -- actual decisions and that fateful moment after he got sworn in, he comes to the oval office for the first time. he sits down and my grandfather is right there.
that photo of tremendous pride -- it is the pride of a father, not the pride of a former president. >> it is interesting because your generation has gone off and found their way in so many different directions. can you talk a little about that, you and all your cousins everybody haslike found their own niche of how they are going to serve. >> it is a generation focused on public service. you look at jenna with her work abroad in addition to barbara creating a health core, which is focused on addressing global healthcare needs for countries. -- now runswould the houston big brothers big sisters effort so when you talk to my desk you know that it is not about
running for office -- you know that it is not about running for office. it can impact the lives of some new people. particularly in this time, people say to me that the problems of today will not be solved into c. in d c.be solved -- it will be solved in communities. i'm not sure it is going to happen in d.c.. that is the legacy from my personal perspective that they leave for us. >> the title of my book, which will be available for sale later isay, the matriarch, and it a title that she hated. she hated the word matriarch, although there was no denying that she was a matriarch. she didn't like the word dynasty because she thought it dripped with entitlement. >> and it reminded her of
another family which she always --tioned, which was >> which was? >> the kennedys. she interviewed her and said the fat lady sings again. when i talked to her about what i meant by dynasty was i really meant a broader view of what a dynasty comprises. the thing that i meant -- that i think barbara bush was most proud of at the end of her life was her grandchildren and the course they have taken. knows how watches tv much troubled that generation of the rich, powerful, and famous can get into, and that does not characterize that generation of the bush family, who have done some amazing things. >> you must have some news that i don't. >> appears may be running for his grandfather's old congressional seat. there are bush crane children running for office.
said, almost everything -- everyone is doing something to do -- to give back. >> that may be a great breaking off point to go to questions. we have a microphone here, if anyone has anything they would like to ask or comments. mostly ask. what is next for you? >> i love public service. i love politics. it can be ugly at times. hard, doorsreally will open up and there will be opportunities down the road. being in the lane office, it has been a wild ride. we have responded to six natural disasters in five years. we are restoring the alamo.
we are addressing the needs of our military veterans. the high rate of suicide, the high rate of unemployment, we are addressing through the courts. that we are doing is meaningful and i wanted to continue it. texas is a -- once it became arepublican state, it became pretty reliable republican state. democrats continue to hope that that will not always be the case. they see a state that could become a swing state. what do you seek? if you look ahead a decade, where will texas be when it comes to the landscape, the ground of politics here? >> we are a majority-minority state. we will be majority hispanic in a few years.
we are second behind california. that is changing texas politics. here in austin, there is 100 40 people moving here a day -- 140 people moving here a day. it is changing the politics. our state house, which i think is the most reflective of any form of government and our state, we have 150 seats. our margin is only nine seats. who is running the house for the democrats central -- most of these vulnerable districts are in suburban texas. exploited weaknesses in the gender gap, among hispanics and millennials. i'm working to try to communicate better within the three groups. >> what do you think the party needs to do? >> we need to get out of the ivory tower and talk to people.
we have taken it for so granted to have a republican state that we have not engaged the general election. if not study the demographics, we have not looked at the changes in the suburbs. it was rural texas that saved their publicans. -- savedhe reason is republicans. if you look at fort bangka county, if you look at williamson county here in central texas, have a better record of reaching out to suburban texas. that is the battleground right now. time andot spent really engaged. >> here we go. we have several questions back thataway. >> i understand one of you is a
partisan politician. i get that. ms. tumulty and mr. beschloss, how do you maintain your objectivity when you are writing your stories. your writing biographies. i am sure you have a political leaning of some kind, so how do you make sure that you are being as possible when you are writing about history? for theame a columnist opinion section of the opinion section of the washington post, so after be -- decades of being objective, i am being paid for my opinions. that is an adjustment for me. in both cases, i tried to base what i am writing on what i am seeing and talking to as many people as possible. >> i am a reporter. i am not a commentator. think my opinion of
things matters. what i matter is what i find out by doing reporting and talking to the people and trying to offer context and analysis. i think if you have really strong opinions or if you have a clear partisan tilt, you probably should not go into the field. you should go into something else. you should be an activist or a commentator or work for an outlet that has another point of view. it is so important in our democracy to have outlets that everyone believes is telling us the truth. has is something that really eroded in this country. it is terrible for the mainstream media, but also bad for us as a country. and whatied to do other reporters try to do is, it is like you are working a muscle. it is easier for me today to try
to be as carefully objective and fair as i can be than it was for the first story i ever wrote. this is the discipline of being a mainstream journalist who is trying to offer people not what i think, but what i see and what sense i can make of what i see. case, history is more -- objective is not the word i would use -- it is so more -- much more easier when they are not in politics and then you have got the -- some distance. >> i am a first-year grad student at the lbj school. i'm curious about h w and barbara's relationship with lbj and lady bird. >> my favorite story is when my grandfather was in congress. i believe he was in his third term and lbj was departing office. i think there was a floor vote
at the time and he heard that lbj was boarding air force one --air force andrews base andrews air force base. he ran over there and joined the goodbye party and shook his hand. there is a photo, michael, i believe you posted on twitter. photo of him great reaching over like three rows of people into shaking the president's hand. how wexan, it spoke to govern at the state level. i'm not here to talk about d.c.. that is how we work together. when i think about the lbj school and his legacy and a lot of his students now joining the general land office and helping us fight natural disasters as well as bush school students, -- >> can i tell the story that your grandfather tells in his
book about his later meeting with lbj? >> the more colorful the better. >> well, it sure is. george h. w. bush was thinking of making a run for the senate in 1970. thoughtthe time when he his opponent was going to be -- , the state was going conservative, so it -- george h. w. bush wanted to run to his right. he did not dream that his opponent would end up being floyd benson. >> he is what we would call a tory democrat. bush went to the lbj ranch for advice from lbj, who he had known back to his .enate days
said, "mr. president, do you think i should run for the senate or stay in the house?" i cannot quite tell the story given where we are sitting. difference between running for the senate or the house is the difference between blank. salad and chicken " is terrible.ccent >> i agree with you. >> barbara bush really liked lady bird. they had a good relationship. she credited lady bird with giving her advice about how to approach being first lady. you should have a platform and use it. lady bird influenced her in another way. i forget in what year lady bird
died -- she lived a long time. barbara bush goes to lady bird's funeral. she says, "i loved it lady bird and it was a nice funeral, but it was way too long. we need to plan this now." it was only at that point that she really focused on defining her own funeral, which she very much designed. she -- id -- interviewed jeb bush as he was working on her eulogy. this was before she had passed away, but when it was clear that she was in her final days. one of the things she was worried about was the strict time limits that his mother had put on him for the eulogy, but she was very determined to stick she wantedit of what to do, if he went too long.
when they were planning the funeral for st. martin's church, this very large church and houston, shen asked her aid if they should plan it for the main sanctuary. with that many people really want to come? maybe they should plan for the chapel. by the way, every seat was taken in the big sanctuary at her service. >> the image from barbara bush's funeral, or those few days of mourning that sticks with me the most was when she was lying in herbert walkere bush, who was very, very frail at that point shows up to sit there in his wheelchair and greeted the mourners who were coming through. courtesy, the politeness that seemed to have been wired into the bush family dna, he was
not going to have all of these people show up and he not be there to acknowledge them. it was so touching. it was such an act of love for your grandmother. similar to my grandmother, they did not think the people would camp out the night before. the casket was there and it was was openut the church for visitors and greeters to come from houston writ large. p.m. and they said, dad, let's go." i think he was therefore an hour just shaking hands. said,ying to think of who ,you need to calm down, grandpa
it's going to be a long weekend," but what a great weekend. i had -- interviewnother scheduled with barbara brush, but the night before -- barbara bush, but the night before our interview, she broke her back and never recovered. when of the final nights they had together, they got together in the den of their house, which is a small tv den off of the , i do not think barbara bush was worried about dying. in all of the interviews i did with her, she knew she was at the end of her life. but she worried about dying for it he did. she worried about how he would get along after all those years without her there. they had this amazing
conversation that final night "i amhe said -- she said, not going to worry about you, george." going toid, "i am not worry about you, barb." she gave him permission to live, and he gave her permission to die. and then they had a drink. >> i do not know many biographies i have seen that have been read in this quickly after the subject has passed with this kind of detail and it a surprise onto every -- on every page. >> i think we have time for maybe a couple of more questions. >> excluding yourself, going yourin history back to great-grandfather, is it possible to say who enjoyed campaigning the most?
>> who enjoyed campaigning the most? i would say it was my uncle. he loved retail politics. even to this day, people, democrats, i was a big clinton and iut i met your uncle, love him. just absolutely amazing. he loves reaching out to people. he does not know a stranger. he has always enjoyed -- it is in his blood. he ran for congress in his early 30's. he made a run at politics that early. he has always engaged in it. anytime i meet with him, he knows every county commissioner race. he is a political animal to this day. >> it goes all the way back though to president bush.
was the secondr generation of bushes in politics . >> not a lot of people know that prescott was dragged into politics. they had to bring him into that race several times. when he did serve, he developed relationships not only with president johnson, but president kennedy when he was in the senate. werewas a time when things a little more collegiate in the senate, perhaps before the filibuster rule when you could actually get things done. i will just say that it was a different era for sure, but prescott had to literally get dragged into it. he had a beautiful family in connecticut. he had a lucrative business career, but was service oriented through his church. serve,the opportunity to had a relationship with general eisenhower who was then president, and he saw an opportunity to get in there. >> do we have anymore?
yes. >> at barbara bush's funeral, there was that great photo of thebushes, the obamas, and clintons. melania, i want to ask your opinion on that photo, given our political climate now. >> i love seeing photographs like that always and particularly lee now at a time when we are -- particularly now at a time when we are so divided. >> i thought it was very special. it was at their church and it was taken right before the actual ceremony. it was thated about it was -- i believe president carter was unable to make it because of his health, but it just speaks to
the greatness of the reunions of former president's. school featured that on occasion. we did it after hurricane harvey. one other story i will share on the current president, when my first lady passed, trump invited the family to the white house to check out the christmas tree, which i thought was an incredible gesture. my uncle invited the president to come over. i did not have a chance to personally witness that. a few members of our audience were. i am looking over to one of my grandfather's former aides and they exchanged a few jokes. madeo say, there is much about politics but behind the
scenes, it was a moment. it is a shame it requires a death to make that happen. that is what i love about that dc part of it. tois good for the country have that for 72 hours. it is good for the soul. >> do we have any more? i'm sorry. we are out of time. thank you so much for being with us today. [applause] [indiscernible] susan will be signing her book. >> buy a few.
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