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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
41 on 41
Aired August 31, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, welcome to the CNN films premiere of "41 on 41." I'm Anderson Cooper. George H.W. Bush has led a very public life since his election to the House of Representatives in 1966. He went on to serve as ambassador to the United Nations, director of the CIA, vice president, of course, to Ronald Reagan, and finally, served as the nation's 41st president, leaving office in 1993.
For the first time, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is chronicling the personal life of the former president through 41 different voices. World leaders, politicians, friends and family tell their stories of the former president and his life away from the cameras and away from the spotlight. They paint a picture of a man who is often funny, loving and devoted to public service, even in the most difficult times of his presidency. They also describe a man who more than anything else, put his family first. Their stories are sometimes surprising. In the words of George W. Bush, his father is a man who takes himself lightly but his responsibilities seriously.
BARBARA BUSH, WIFE OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH: George's mother was a gentle, wonderful soul, and both his mother and father taught him by example. She gave George this Bible, and I think that poem does reflect George Bush's life.
I would be true for there are those who trust me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be true --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be true --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For there are those who trust me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those who trust me.
BARBARA BUSH: I would be pure for there are those who care.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those who care.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our challenges are great. But our will is greater.
BARBARA BUSH: I would be strong for there is much to suffer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be strong --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For there is much to suffer.
BARBARA BUSH: I would be brave for there is much to dare.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I fought for my country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be brave --
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I served.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- for there is much to dare.
BARBARA BUSH: I would be friend to all but foe the friendless.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be friend to all but foe the friendless.
BARBARA BUSH: I would be giving and forget the gift.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I am running for president because I honestly deeply believe I can change things.
BARBARA BUSH: I would be humble --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know my weakness.
BARBARA BUSH: -- for I know my weakness.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: A thousand points of light.
BARBARA BUSH: I would look up and laugh and love and live.
When we were first married, I had no idea what my life was going to be. Might have scared me if I had known but nobody in the world has ever had the life I've had. I've had none of the responsibilities and all of the joys of being the wife of George Bush.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I, George Herbert Walker Bush, do solemnly swear --
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: George Bush took himself lightly and took his responsibilities to help his fellow man seriously. And he's a man of enormous love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He achieved the highest office in the land, but he did not abandon any of his principles, any of his decency, any of his caring for his fellow man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would always ask you about your family, no matter who he talked to at the White House, groundskeepers, guy cutting the grass, he knew your name. And he never asked you how's your wife or how's your son. He would call them by name.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: In crucial things, unity. In important things, diversity. In all things, generosity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On my Twitter profile, I have one of my grandfather's quotes, and it's "any definition of a successful life must include service to others."
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When people are giving back, those contributions are what clearly bridges all of us, Democrat, Republican, independent, and it's fair to say that you couldn't have a better model for that than George H.W. Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think George Bush saw politics as the path to public service.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think about his service to us as a nation, to be a war hero, to be an ambassador to China, U.S. representative at the U.N., to be the vice president of the United States, to be the president of the United States, to be the father of a future president. This man has affected this country and served this country in so many ways.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He could pound his chest and say look at all I've done, but instead, he would always say this is what I believe in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just has an extraordinary sense of humor. Sometimes it catches you off guard. And when he can turn a prank against someone, it's always delicious for him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has a rare humor, loves a good story. Can't remember a punchline but loves a good story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really wanted to get it down to the bare essence of just -- I keep hearing that President Bush is doing it. Did you see, he did it on TV, he did it again. So he actually became pretty good at the impression of himself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have interviewed or known eight presidents, maybe nine, and if I had to drive from Boston to St. Louis with one of them, the one I would pick to go with would be George Bush Senior.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't be around President Bush and not come away a better person yourself. It's impossible. He will rub off on you.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's the sort of person that you like being around. He makes you want to be a little bigger, a little better. I do believe if there are more people like him, the world would be a better place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I arrived at Andover in 1941 September, and we had a system at Andover where they did a form of hazing for new boys. They had everyone who was new had to wear a little blue beanie so you couldn't escape it. And that first week, as I was on my way for I think lunch, this guy said okay, I want you to come over with me to my room, I've got a big stuffed chair, I want you to get that chair over to my new room. And I weighed about 105 pounds at that time, and I looked at the chair and I couldn't possibly lift the damn thing. And so I'm now outside and I'm trying to move that chair, and finally, I realize can't do it and I say I can't do it, I'm sorry, I cannot move that chair, at which point Peter got me in a hammerlock with my right arm behind my back and started to put pressure on, and I remember my phrase was you can break it off, I can't move it.
At which point, I heard the words leave the kid alone. Peter dropped me like a hot potato, and the next thing I knew, I'm standing there, he's moving the chair back to his dorm and I asked somebody who was standing there also, who the heck was that? And the answer was, that was Papi Bush. I said what is Papi Bush? The answer was he's just the best guy in the school. Then I learned that Papi Bush was a soccer player, and he played baseball, and starting that fall, whenever there was a home game, I was out there just looking at the guy who kept me from being bullied by that S.O.B. And all I knew was I had a hero that has been a hero for my whole life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I think about my grandfather and the incredible man that he is, I think about this incredible strength that he embodies, but it's really a strength that comes through an amazingly gentle soul. He really is of an older age of thought in American society, and I think that World War II was a defining time in my grandfather's life.
ROGER AILES, FORMER POLITICAL CONSULTANT: You know, he joined the Navy at 18. He graduated from high school and had a scholarship at Yale, but he elected to go into the service.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have asked him, why did you sign up, and he said he remembers sitting in an Andover auditorium right after Pearl Harbor was attacked, and there was this spirit that, you know, he wanted to be a part of. He wanted to go defend America. He wanted to be part of something bigger than himself. He became the youngest naval aviator in the history of the Navy at that time to earn his flying wings. And I don't think there's a day that goes by that my grandfather doesn't think about those two men who were in his plane that were shot down, those two young boys -- and they were younger than I am now -- and only one survived. And it was my grandfather, and I think part of him has wanted to live a full life in part to honor those two men.
AILES: I remember asking him about that flight in Chichi Jima (ph), where he was hit with heavy flak going in. Man, I said what did you see, why didn't you bail out? He said, well, I had some flame under my wings. I said that's where your fuel tanks are, why didn't you bail out then? And he looked at me for what appeared to be the longest time, and he said, I hadn't completed my mission. And that embodied George Bush's life. I added a word to his speech that year in which he talked about running for president and he said the words --
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: This is my mission and I will complete it.
AILES: And you always had the feeling with him that whatever he said, he would do.
TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: I always thought the larger impact of World War II on President Bush was that he got to know the rest of America. He had grown up in New England in a patrician family, he had anything that you could want as a young man in terms of opportunity and education, and yet he quickly volunteered for service, and then when he was in the service, he got to know working class kids from the middle west or he got to know people from the barrios of the Southwest. He had to read their mail because as an officer, he was censoring what they were sending home. He said at 18 or 19, I learned a lot about the sex drive, for example. And I learned a lot about not having air conditioning when you live in the city. I thought that was probably the most instructive part of World War II for him, in addition to going in harm's way to defend your country.
JOHN SUNUNU, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: George Bush came back as a decorated war hero after World War II and resumed his education at Yale. And ended up being captain of the Yale baseball team that became champions that year. There's a great photograph of Babe Ruth just six months before his death coming to be part of a ceremony with George Bush, the captain of the Yale champs. The president loved the game, even when he was in the White House. I think he recognized how crucial and important it was, and I think part of his extended love of the game is that he felt it was part of the American tradition.
MARLIN FITZWATER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the president enjoyed having sports teams come to the White House just because he was involved in so many sports himself, and he was always inviting teams to come or individuals to come, and the highlight for me was one day when he invited Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams to come to the White House.
SUNUNU: When I was chief of staff in 1991, which happened to be the year of the 50th anniversary for two great achievements by two of baseball's all-time greats, Ted Williams being the last batter to hit .400 -- he hit .406 in 1941 -- and Joe DiMaggio also had his 56-game hitting streak.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I have a confession. I didn't think that I would get to meet royalty so soon after the queen's visit, but nevertheless, here they are. I was 17 years old during their famous 1941 season, and 50 years later, that '41 season just remains the season of dreams.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife Rosie and I were invited down to the Bush library and museum. They maintained an apartment at the library, which Mr. and Mrs. Bush took us up to see, and in the living room, hanging over the couch, were five photographs. The big picture in the center, the one nobody could possibly miss seeing, was of President Bush with Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio in the Rose Garden, but the thing that struck me was what a marvelous photograph it was of each of the three, and each of the three had signed it. And so I expressed genuine enthusiasm for the photograph. Two weeks after Rosie and I had returned to Boston, a big tube arrived in the mail, and it was the picture, and it's one of our family's treasures now. It was just such a sign of not just the president's generosity, but his natural spirit of friendship.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be pure --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For there are those --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the most famous trademark was his note writing and his thoughtfulness.
GEORGE W. BUSH: The guy wrote thousands of handwritten notes to people all around the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter what was going on, no matter what controversy was swirling, he would write that note, he would make that phone call in the middle of absolute pandemonium.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI, BASKETBALL COACH: The best stuff is when he leaves a message on your phone. Hey, Mike, this is George Bush 41, down here in Houston. 903 games. Wow, no one has ever done that before.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Go to a hotel as president of the United States and the doormen open the door for him, would help him, he would write the guy a note.
KRZYZEWSKI: How good is that? That's President Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are those who care.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Time of my life when I was really at my lowest, I was just rock bottom in terms of people I had let down, and of course, kind of just came in, in his classic way, he would send a note and give me the perspective that someone's always got my back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Bush does not have a bad temper.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president never raised his voice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there would be a look in his eye that everybody understood.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The eyes narrow just a little bit and the head tilts forward.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then he will start chewing on his cheek.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would just give this just sort of kind of --
SUNUNU: Kind of.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the only thing to do at that point was run.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw it once only. And it wasn't for me. Dad gave this unnamed famous person the look.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Oh, yes. I said the great gift of his is unconditional love, but I tested the unconditionality part of it.
NEIL BUSH: There is something about my father. There's a boundary that you don't go across. Mom has the rules, dad has the standards. Dad only enforces the rules by being such a great dad that you wouldn't want to disappoint him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The summer after I graduated from college, I was in Kennebunkport, Maine, I went to lunch with my grandfather on his boat. The one material possession that he really cares about is his speedboat. He calls it Fidelity. He's had five editions of it now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a natural captain.
BILLY BUSCH, FISHING BUDDY: The president, that's his passion. He loved driving his boat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad has two speeds when he's in his boat, neutral and all out. The rougher the seas, the better for him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody in my family touches Fidelity because they know how much he values it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We went to lunch and we pulled back in, and the tide was very low, and my grandfather said, you know, Piers, why don't you take it out to mooring for me. This is an amazing moment, to be asked to take the boat to the mooring is a huge amount of responsibility, and he hasn't really offered it to me, so I felt really special. As fate would have it, the boat ended up on the rocks. Did not make it to the mooring. I would like to say that it was not my fault, but because I was the man at the helm, it was my fault, and I felt terrible about it.
JEAN BECKER: I saw it from my office window, and it was just so shocking to see Fidelity up on those rocks. And unfortunately, it sat there for a very long time, because they had to wait for the tide to come in, and to keep it from shattering on the rocks, a bunch of guys, volunteers, Piers, of course, some off-duty Secret Service agents, they held on to the boat with ropes just to try to keep it as stable as possible. It was not a good day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was so down in the dumps about it. To add insult to injury, the next day, my grandmother's a little bit more of a rules person than my grandfather, and one of her rules is you cannot take her smart car without asking her permission. Well, she had just had double knee surgery and I thought she's not going to be driving her car, and I don't want to wake her up from a nap, so I'm going to take my cousin Robert to a movie. Long story short, I returned home, I was down in the dumps about the boat. Gammy gave me an ass chewing is probably the only way to really describe it about taking her car without asking her.
And I literally, I was 22 at the time. I like broke into tears and had to run off the room like a little kid. And really, I literally could not have done more harm in my opinion at this time, and I looked on my bed and there was this note sitting on my bed, and it was addressed to my man Pierce. It was my grandfather's very distinct handwriting. It said this. It said "Pierce, I remember days where I felt I could do nothing right, but then the sun would come up and a bright day would embrace me. Do not worry about the boat or car incidents. You are a good man who got a bad bounce, but all is well. Believe me, I hate to see you worrying in doubt. You brighten my life, so forget yesterday and today's little" -- and he underlined little "incidents. You're the man and I love you. Gammy does too. Gampy."
He has this amazing ability to sense when somebody's down and has this amazing ability in his own unique way to lift that person up. In hindsight, I'm glad the boat crashing incident happened, because I'll have this note for the rest of my life, and every time I'm down on something, I will pull it up and you know, my grandfather's words will lift me up.
OBAMA: One of the things about President Bush that I think people uniformly say is he's a nice guy, and it's true. He is as much of a gentleman and gracious and generous as anybody I know. So the question is how did he end up getting to be president of the United States, because the idea is somehow public service precludes nice people.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: My friends, and yes, I do mean friends, in the loyal opposition -- and yes, I mean loyal -- I put out my hand, I'm putting out my hand to you, Mr. Speaker, I'm putting out my hand to you, Mr. Majority Leader, for this is the thing. This is the age of the offered hand.
JEB BUSH: A lot of people don't remember when my dad was elected president, the Democrats controlled the Congress, and so working in a bipartisan way was essential to get things done. And from the inauguration all the way through his four years as president, in spite of an increasing harshness of the political debate, he did what he could to build consensus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think George Bush understood and still understands that the way we judge our presidents is on the basis of what elements of their program they get passed through the Congress, and implemented into law.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: The American people await action. They didn't send us here to bicker. They asked us to rise above the merely partisan.
DAN QUAYLE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: If you go back and look at the four years that George Bush was president, you will see more substantive, comprehensive bipartisan pieces of legislation passed than perhaps any four years in a long time.
SUNUNU: He got a Clean Air Act, the civil rights bill of 1990, he worked hard to get the Americans With Disabilities Act passed. People do remember the budget agreement, and that budget agreement was much more significant than people realize. It forced the Congress that worked with his successor, Bill Clinton, to come up with balanced budgets, which really made a huge difference in the economy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had earned a lot of respect and trust from governors, Republicans and Democrats around the country, and it was an invitation for civil dialogue.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: The agreement that we get won't be the best deal possible, but in my judgment, it will be the best deal possible with this Congress.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He loved to invite people to be part of the solution, regardless of their philosophical or partisan persuasion.
ALAN SIMPSON, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: His method of friendship and legislating was person to person. Didn't matter how liberal they were or conservative they were, if they had to do with doing something for America, he was pushing for it.
AILES: Quietly, George Bush Senior has taken on a lot of very hard jobs. He, throughout his life, has shown great courage. Jim Baker told me a great story. When Bush was a young Congressman, the open housing vote was coming up in Congress.
CLINTON: You know, I was a southerner. I knew how important that open housing law was. He was one of these new Republican Congressmen from Texas, and he voted for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was at the time still a nominal Democrat, as most everybody was in Texas, particularly lawyers, and I remember it was a very, very difficult vote for him because it ran totally contrary to the wishes of many of his backers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Bush got a lot of flack from his district. There was still a lot of bigotry and a lot of discrimination in Texas and the South, because people wanted to be able to exclude people from neighborhoods if they were not of their same race or their same creed, and this law was going to abolish that and make that illegal. And he just said I'm going to support it regardless of the fallout.
AILES: Baker said he went to a school gymnasium with Bush, and Bush walked through the gymnasium, people were screaming no, no, no, booing him, and he got in front of that crowd and he said these men fought with me in the Pacific and they have a right to live wherever they want to live.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, we were so proud of him for doing it, but some major donors pulled out and got very angry. But as in so many cases in his life, he had the courage to do what he thought was right, regardless of the public opinion.
BRENT SCOWCROFT, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The president in making his decisions made decisions not just for the moment, but for the future. Fall of the Berlin Wall is another case where the president didn't take advantage of what could have been very popular, but did the right thing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Berlin Wall is still standing, but its significance as a barrier to freedom has crumbled.
RICE: The day the Berlin Wall came down is one that's indelibly etched in my memory. We quickly got ourselves together and we went over to the Oval Office and talked the president through what was happening there.
FITZWATER: I thought you know, Mr. President, we probably ought to have a press conference or you need to have some kind of statement for the press just to put this in historical perspective and say how you feel. And his first reaction was no, I don't want to do that.
RICE: So we said to him, Mr. President, you have to go to Berlin, you have to go for Kennedy, you have to go for Truman, you have to go for Reagan, all of whom were associated with monumental events in Berlin's history. And he very quietly just said, what would I do if I went to Berlin, dance on the wall? This is a German moment, not an American moment. And we need to make it so.
SCOWCROFT: Marlin Fitzwater called and told the president we can't hold off any longer. You've got to make some kind of a comment to the press. So the president asked the press delegation to come into his office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were shouting and screaming, you would think it was a birthday celebration, and Leslie Stahl goes right up to the edge of the president's desk and Leslie has this long arm, and pointed finger, she was pointing at the president, "Mr. President, what do you think about this?"
LESLIE STAHL, CBS: You don't seem elated. I'm wondering if you're thinking of the problems --
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I'm very pleased. I have been very pleased with a lot of other developments.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The press were jumping all over him about not showing any emotion when the Berlin Wall came down because we had won the Cold War.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The image of East Germans dancing on top of the Berlin Wall is a welcome sight in Washington, but the Bush administration is taking a cautious approach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president said look, I got bigger things, more important things, to do. He was absolutely right. We still had a lot of stuff we needed to do with the leaders of the Soviet Union.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he didn't have to wait long, actually, because he met with Gorbachev the first time in a meeting a month after the wall came down.
RICE: We had prepared a very long opening statement in which President Bush was going to talk about the great events unfolding and the responsibilities of the United States and the Soviet Union for the peaceful end of the hostilities between the two countries, and it was I thought quite eloquent, since I had personally prepared it, but George Bush put the paper aside and he said they've prepared all of this for me to say. I just want to talk to you about the responsibility and the opportunity that we have before us. And I thought wow, that was really something. And Gorbachev relaxed, and you could see the weight come from his shoulders, too, and then they just talked. GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I'm especially glad we had this meeting, and we did
gain a deeper understanding of each other's views. We set the stage for progress across a broad range of issues.
SUNUNU: He understood the pressures on Mikhail Gorbachev, both culturally, from members of his party and government there, members of the Communist Party, and that he had to work as president of the United States to allow these changes to take place in a way that did not make Gorbachev feel like he was losing, and I think that's one of the great talents and arts that George Bush displayed as president of the United States.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Both sides committed themselves instead to achieving a strong effective treaty.
COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Democracy had prevailed. NATO had prevailed. The United States values had prevailed. This was a time when any normal average person would have gloated and said we did it, we're No. 1, we're this, we're that. But President Bush did not do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember at the time recalling something that Churchill wrote. He wrote it, becoming prime minister, he felt at the moment he became prime minister that all his life had been a preparation for that moment. And I think as the Soviet Union trembled on the brink of collapsing, George Bush's experience, George Bush's background, George Bush's nature, George Bush's instinct and George Bush's capacity to bring things together, to enable something to happen, were crucial to helping bring that about. He truthfully might have said of that event that all his life had been a preparation for that moment.
ROBERT GATES, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: What I like to remind people is that there is no precedent in history for the collapse of a great empire without a major war. And the period 1989 to 1991 was one of the most momentous historically I think since World War II, and that some day George Bush will get the credit he deserves for having managed that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bush developed a very close relationship with Gorbachev.
RICE: He always made Gorbachev feel the equal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in the end, Gorbachev was essentially removed from office when the country was dissolved, and the first phone call he made was to George Bush.
RICE: I said to President Bush, I said what was this conversation? This is extraordinary that in the last waning moments of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev called you. And typical of George Bush, he hadn't thought much of it. He's such a humble man that he had really not seen the significance of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gorbachev called him to say good-bye and to say how much it meant to him that they had had this relationship over the last couple of years, and offered to help in any way, and President Bush said my horseshoe pit is always open, Mikhail. Come any time you want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be humble --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For I know my weakness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is truly one of the most modest people I know.
QUAYLE: He would always tell me how his mother pounded into him ever since he was a young child, do not gloat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he scored a soccer goal, she said --
BARBARA BUSH: Don't tell me how you scored, how did the team do, George.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He always says don't gloat. People will know that you're good. So he always tried to be humble. But he was humble with strength.
DOROTHY BUSH KOCH, DAUGHTER: When my dad was at the United Nations, I lived in the Waldorf with my parents, which is where the United States ambassador's residence was. And it was like Eloise at the Plaza, but it was Doro at the Waldorf.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got to know President Bush when he was the ambassador to the United Nations. My admiration for him grew out of the fact that we came from such different backgrounds. He's the patrician, the W.A.S.P., I'm the little Jewish boy from the Bronx who became temporarily notorious for my exploits as a reporter in New York. Back in the early '70s, a smartass reporter named Dick Schaff (ph) wrote a piece for New York magazine in which he listed the ten most overrated men in New York. On the list were the president and myself, and what the Bushes decided was that they would invite all these guys on the list to a party.
DOROTHY BUSH KOCH: So dad, in his typical way, sent out a letter and the letter began "dear Mr. Overrated so and so, I want to invite you to my house so we can look you over and see why you're so overrated."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was Christmastime, and they invited all the guys on the list to the party. The Bushes were very gracious. They served us champagne, and the future president stood up on these red velvet chairs and offered a toast to all those present.
DOROTHY BUSH KOCH: Dad got up on the chair at the party and did sort of a dramatic reading of the actual article.
BARBARA BUSH: We had a nice gathering and the Russian ambassador was there, he was overheard to say what is this overrated thing? It was very difficult to explain to him why we're having a party cheering the overrated. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a flavor of the sense of humor. He was a
guy applauding an article that some more sensitive souls might feel bashed him, and he took it as a badge of honor. I have a card here that he gave me at one point when he was vice president, "Gabe, if you recall that you and I won that distinct honor in 1972. Yes, we were two of the ten most overrated New Yorkers. I was lucky but you earned it. All the best, George Bush."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush was the quintessentially perfect vice president for Ronald Reagan. He knew what the role of a vice president should be. He knew you didn't get out there and talk a lot and find yourself juxtaposed against the president.
DOROTHY BUSH KOCH: I remember how contentious the campaign was in 1980, and he and dad were not friends particularly.
JAMES BAKER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: President Reagan didn't want to pick Ambassador Bush to be his vice presidential nominee, and you will remember at the 1980 convention, all the machinations about maybe getting former President Ford to become the vice presidential nominee.
DOROTHY BUSH KOCH: How weird that was, that a former president would be considered, I mean, how would that work?
BAKER: But the fact of the matter is, those of us in the Bush suite at the hotel, we watched all this happening on television, we sort of thought it was over. In terms of whether we had a chance of being picked for the No. 2 slot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally, George came out and he said Bar and I are going to bed. I just want to say it's been a wonderful evening and sorry it didn't work out. So we go out the door and at that moment, Jim Baker, the campaign manager, said these deathless words in my memory. It's not over yet.
BAKER: I answered the phone in the suite that night when Reagan called. George took the phone and started talking, and after a while he said yes, sir, I could. Yes, sir, I will. Yes, sir, I could. Then he went like this to us.
RONALD REAGAN: I have asked and I am recommending to this convention that tomorrow, when the session reconvenes, that George Bush --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
BAKER: He and President Reagan became very, very good friends. And President Reagan depended upon him quite a bit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very loyal as a vice president, and that was a great signal to all of us who were on the president's staff. If the vice president who ran against Ronald Reagan for the presidency had demonstrated the kind of loyalty that he showed, we should be doing the same as well.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was with President Bush when he was the vice president. I was in charge of his protective detail. We were in Boise, Idaho, a restaurant in the downtown area. The whole front of the restaurant is glass. And over the radio, in the agency or a person in the parking lot with a sawed off shotgun. Very quickly, the agents took the vice president and put him under the table, table cloth coming down on the side, and there's two of them under the table with him. One on each side and between the two of him covering his entire body. And the one was covering his head very closely and his face was right in the agent's armpit. And the agent was telling him play by play what was happening. Okay, Mr. Vice President, it's been resolved, they've got the guy in custody. The next day on the airplane as they're traveling, here comes the vice president back through the plane with a big can of deodorant spray. And he said yours wasn't bad, but I think this one is better. Please use this from now on.
GEORGE W. BUSH: That's pretty typical of George H.W. Bush. He loves a good joke. And when he needled, he never needled for harm or to hurt. He needled to enliven and to enhance the spirit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The University of Michigan won the national championship. We thought we would try to do something different. So I had a basketball court set up in the Rose Garden. And the president came out to check it out. And the president played basketball terribly. He was a terrible basketball player. So I thought to myself, well, we're not giving him the ball. The event transpires, and the president says to Rumeel Robinson (ph), who had made the final second free throw that won the game for Michigan. He said okay, Rumeel (ph), now you're at the White House, this is real pressure, so I am going to ask you to make a free throw in our court.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Right here, we have a little demonstration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's all this buzz about oh, this is kind of fun. And Rumeel very dramatically takes off his coat. Walks to the free-throw line, he dribbles a few times, he stops. Dribbles a few times more, he stops. And then cool as a cucumber, he throws the ball up. Then what was not in the script was Rumeel Robinson takes the ball and he turns to President Bush and he says, your turn. I'm sure my face went white because now the president is going to try to make a free throw. It was one of the most ungainly free throw attempts I have ever seen.
JIM NANTZ, CBS SPORTS: It was a snapshot into this, like, boyish enthusiasm for competition and games and this playfulness.
You almost don't know how to react to it at times. And it's hilarious. .
RICE: The Scowcroft award was a wonderful tradition in the Bush White House. It was the person who fell asleep most often in important meetings.
BAKER: Named after Brent Scowcroft, because Brent is almost a narcoleptic. He would fall asleep anywhere anytime. You would just be sitting there in a meeting with him, and he would just go --
GATES: And what people didn't understand is this was serious business for the president. And there were criteria on which people were judged to be candidates for the Scowcroft award. So first, the president would evaluate people on duration. How long did they sleep. The second was the depth of their sleep. And snoring and whistling always got you extra points.
And then the third criteria and perhaps the most important, was the quality of recovery. Did you just kind of come back up out of your snooze and open an eye and completely back in the meeting? Or were you one of these folks that awoke with a jerk and spilled your coffee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We loved the Scowcroft award because it was classic George Bush humor. And it was done in the same way as the ranking system as he made up who got to play tennis with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perfect lob.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He'll sometimes talk about imaginary things. He'll talk about a ranking committee. This is a big Bush family tradition that's actually started by his mother. She loved to talk to the kids about, well, we'll take that before the ranking committee. And it's lived on through the president and through the next generations as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Bush family are very, very competitive and athletic. They have a ranking committee for every sport. Golf, Dennis, you name it. And you're not allowed to challenge someone unless you're next to them on the ranking chart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the ranking system was mythological in the sense that only the president knew what the rules were because he made them up. And mainly he made them up so he didn't have to play with losers like me who wanted to play but weren't any good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ranking committee is a misnomer because it implies there's more than one person on it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one ever knew who the ranking committee was. So on Mrs. Bush's 75th birthday, President Bush said I'm going to reveal for the first time ever the members of the ranking committee. And of course, he was the ranking committee. There was only one person on the ranking committee, but he had arranged for this photo to be taken. It was five members of the ranking committee. And of course, they're all him. President Bush as a biker. That was his favorite. President Bush the golfer. Then there's his secretary, and then I think I'm -- I don't know what I am.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a side to President Bush when it comes to competition that might surprise some people. There is a little bit of a pseudo trash talk side to President Bush.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH: Watch and learn, Jamie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the prediction for the match. 7-6 in the second set.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never was insulting or belittling or bullying, all the characteristics I've seen in virtually all other presidents I worked for.
GEORGE W. BUSH: He didn't want people around that were sycophantic. He want the people to give him good advice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He sat there behind his desk, occasionally chewing his lip and listening to the presentation, then he opened it up to questions. This was the pattern I would see it over and over again. He did not answer anything. He did not insert himself. He let us debate each other so all the issues got out on the table. He listened carefully. And then he might have asked a question or two, but once he had satisfied himself that we had thought of all the up sides and down sides, he would merely say go, let's do it.
The summer of 1990, the Iraqis invaded Kuwait and the president was faced with a choice of what to do. We briefed him on what are possible military options were right away. And he made it clear that we would use all the diplomatic efforts that we could and all the options that we had politically to see if we could get Saddam Hussein to get out of Kuwait, but if f he did not get out of Kuwait, we would do something about it.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Iraq will not be permitted to annex Kuwait. And that's not a threat or a boast. It's just the way it's going to be to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president met with the national security council at the White House, then got on an airplane and flew to Aspen, Colorado, to meet with Margaret Thatcher who was giving a speech at the Aspen Institute. I remember sitting in that session with the two of them. And Mrs. Thatcher said I believe Saddam Hussein is going on into Saudi Arabia, that he is not going to stop at Kuwait. He wants the oil fields and it's going to be one country after the other. And President Bush said I agree, and I think he must be stopped. And he said let's go around the world and see who's with us and who's against us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the extraordinary things about George Bush is when he became president, he knew most of the other leaders around the world.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: It's only with friends that you can take off the gloves and talk with the heart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he cultivated those friendships. They weren't just acquaintances for him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was absolutely the pioneer the (INAUDIBLE) diplomacy. His capacity more than anybody else I ever knew simply to pick up the phone and talk to people, there suddenly out of blue was a leader of the free world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He called when there was no purpose to the call. When he wasn't asking for anything. And well before the Gulf War, he built a web of relationships across the entire world with leaders that when it came time to put the coalition together, you had people who were willing -- they were always going to do what was in their national interest. But they wanted to do this for George Bush. Because George Bush was their friend and they trusted him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gathered to them and those remarkable coalitions of nation since the second world war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very, very doubtful that anybody else would have been in such a good position to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came back from Aspen. And I was at home watching on television as he landed on the south lawn of the White House. And reporters started shouting at him. And his simple answer was --
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: This will not stand. This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.
And that was my order, whether I knew it or not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will not stand. It took my breath away. And I thought to myself, how does he propose to effectuate that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he was debating whether or not to go to war, I went in to see him and I said I know you know that this matter has all of the elements that have brought down previous presidents. $40 oil, body bags, and great dissatisfaction at home. And his answer to me was yes, I know all that, Jimmy, but we're going to do this because this is what's right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the decision being made at a period of time when the U.S. was still suffering from what a lot of people have called the post Vietnam syndrome, where there was a reluctance in the country to use military power anymore after Vietnam. In a way, that made George Bush's decision to do so tougher.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were protesters out of love with signs, don't go to war. You're a warmonger. He pulled the curtain aside and he said look at that. He said I hate war. I was in war. I was shot down and picked out of sea by luck. I could have been dead. And it just pains me terribly to look out there as if I was the war president. But he said this will not stand on Kuwait. This man will not take over a country while the world looks on. It will not stand.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Saddam is making the mistake of his life. If he confuses an abundance of restraint and patience with a lack of resolve --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a little office just next to the oval office. And there was a TV set in there. CNN cameras were there in Baghdad, panning the city. The president and vice president Scowcroft sitting there with me, watching this television screen waiting for the war to begin. You could see on the president's face when that happened that he had what I think happens to every commander-in-chief, the realization that he had made a decision that was unfortunately going to cost lives but had to be done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think George Bush's attitude to all was intensely human and intensely personal. He knew you couldn't talk of soldiers on mass. Each one was an individual. His life was at risk, that parents, perhaps a family and certainly friends. And to George Bush, their lives were infinitely precious and ought not to be put at risk unnecessarily.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a greatest respect for the troops. He really loved them. It meant so much to him that they were putting themselves in danger to achieve a noble purpose and that relationship he had was so meaningful to him, but not just to him, to each and every one of us in the armed forces to know we had a commander-in- chief who believed in us, took care of us, and respected us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the gulf war, it would have been easy for us to say OK, we've done that, now the road to Baghdad is open, let's take over, throw out Saddam and create a new Iraq. But we wanted to behave in a way which would set the rules for world behavior in a post global war. And that is we had U.N. authorization to liberate Kuwait. We did not have U.N. authorization to go to Baghdad. And it was the president putting into play once more the long-range thoughtfulness that builds on current circumstances to make the future better.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people went kind of crazy for their soldiers. I'll never forget when we had a parade in Washington. We wanted it to make it clear. We said this is for those who did it. Not for me.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: America endures because we dare risk our most precious asset, our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our husbands and wives. The finest troops any country has ever had.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't the president out there taking high fives. And the modesty that was engrained in him by his family, by his upbringing, that's who he always was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Serving on a ship with the name "USS George H. W. Bush," it is the only aircraft carrier with a living name say. And that is significant because the presence of that namesake is felt throughout the ship.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the wonderful days in the life of the ship was the Christening. And I had the opportunity as the sponsor to stand with my dad and with my brother to Christen the ship. And I had been told that you can't just lightly tap the champagne against the ship because it's hard to break and it's not good luck if the bottle doesn't shatter. So I literally mustered every ounce of strength I had to smash that bottle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: May God bless all who sail her.
I was not going standing between two presidents and not properly Christen the ship. The commissioning took place January 2009. And it was one of the very last things that my brother George was able to do as president.
GEORGE W. BUSH: Laura and I are thrilled to be here to help commission an awesome ship and to honor an awesome man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One surprise we had for President Bush was there was a fly-by of an avenger, the airplane that he flew. And it caught him by surprise and I think that just flooded the emotion gate for President Bush.
After that, he spent the night and I get a phone call and I think it is like at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning saying hey, captain, the president is up wandering around the halls shaking the hands with sailors. Yes, of course, he's supposed to be in bed. I'm trying to sleep. And I just said fine, let him walk around. He's enjoying the heck out of it, you know, and he did it. The next morning I said Mr. President, I heard you had a sleepless night. No, I just know I hadn't met every single sailor. He was trying his darnedest to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dad loves the carriers, loves the sailors on board. It is combination of everything in dad's life that is important to him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We try to emulate our namesake and we serve with integrity. And so, everything we did on that ship was a reflection of president George H. W. Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he got in to his 70, he viewed him life as (INAUDIBLE) where sails are ceiling feasibility unlimited.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's what naval pilots would wish for and that is blue skies, blue clear skies. And that's what dad had in his life. When he talks about that, he's talking about the blessings in his life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had so much to be grateful and, you know, part of that was be surrounded by family and main.
He put this plaque at back of the house. So I think when he thinks of Cavu, he thinks of sitting out there on the back porch at Walker's point with my, you know, cousins surrounding him and the sense that, you know, this value system that he's been a huge part of will continue long past the time when he's gone.
GEORGE W. BUSH: He's the kind of guy that likes an anchor to the windward as he would say. And Marcus point provided an anchor for him throughout his life.
BARBARA BUSH: Just in this world alone, I think of so many things his grandfather used to sit at a card table over here and play solitary. And I think of his mother. We had her birthday party here, and she was really older then. And one of them said mom, what's within your best birthday? And she leaned over and held his hand and said this is my best birthday. I'm holding the hand of my son, the president of the United States.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: My mother told me not to brag about myself and bend my knees when I volleyed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I must say that crisis never seemed quite as bad when we were in Kennebunkport as they did when you were in Washington. Now, that's pure psychology, but it's that psychology that I think gave the president the kind of reaching to his roots and restoring his strength and self-confidence.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Bush has a great love to the sea. He loves to fall asleep listening to the wave. Walker's point has been the one constant in his life since the day he was born.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was with President Bush when he returned to Kennebunkport after the nor'easter storm in November 1991. And the whole first floor of the house was destroyed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Water came in one side and out the other side. It took everything with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of the personal mementoes and photographs and autograph books were all strewn in the Bushes and valuable personal treasures scattered over the lawn. There was a foot and a half of rock on the tennis court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were picking up pieces of photographs and keepsakes that they had. And he would say hey, Barbara, look at this. And she would say George, come over here and take a look at this. And you could see that it was just a terrible shock for them. But at the same time, you saw strength in both of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My first reaction was how sad it was for my parents. And of course, both of them, being so optimistic, they were like don't worry about it. Everything is going to be fine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't even flinch. He looked at that devastation and the president of the United States put on a pair of rubber coat coveralls and immediately started shoveling sand out of his living room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was pretty depressed. But he also said, we're going to put it back together. We're going to fix it. This is still going to be my favorite place and I'm going to come back here. That perfect storm defined what he felt had happened in his life that year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be strong. There is much to suffer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He made some big decisions. They were not easy. But it was not me, me, me. He did it because he was brave and he had the strength to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me tell you, George Bush took some real shots, many of them totally uncalled for, and all of that to those of us who knew him as the most decent man that I've ever known in or out of politics know that he was strong. Her was Herculean the way he handled things.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Strong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Strong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Strong.
CLINTON: He left me a wonderful note in the desk in the oval office telling me not to get discouraged when times got tough, and telling me in the end, the only thing I would remember when it was over was whether I did what I thought was best for the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 1999 budget deal was probably one of those difficult moments in the presidency of George Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The deficit was so high that the president was reminded of it every day because it was given as a reason why we weren't getting a recovery in the recession. And the recession was causing greater and greater anguish. And the president, of course, wanted to get the recession resolved.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: It is my deeply held conviction that I must go all I can to get a $500 billion deficit reduction that can't be turned over next year or the year after.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The conservative wing of the Republican party was adamant there would be no new taxes as the president had said at the convention.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: My opponent will rule out raising taxes, but I will and the Congress will push me to raise taxes and I will say no. And they'll push and I'll say now. And they'll push and again and I'll say no. And they'll push again and I'll say to them read my lips, no new taxes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So when the budget negotiations began, Congress wanted taxes. He wanted spending restraint. And it became clear after a while that he wasn't going to get any spending restraint of any meaningful kind without some tax increases.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said well, you know, if I do that, that really shows that I'm a liar. I'm not being true when I said read my lips.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Bush said a sour economy forced him to break his read my lips pledge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the budget was finally announced in late September and it included a tax increase, all hell broke loose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president felt really bad about breaking a promise that he made.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did it out of good motives. He was trying to get something done, he was trying to, as he said, govern. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The said for the good of the country, we have to
do this. That was a profile and courage. And he did pay a high price for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NBC News has projected Bill Clinton the new president of the United States.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I just called governor Clinton over in Little Rock and offered him my congratulations. I wish him well in the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we returned to Washington the day that my dad lost the election to President Clinton, my dad and I were in a limousine, and I remember driving through the streets of Washington with my dad. And he was uncharacteristically quiet. And at one point he began to choke up a little bit. And I was wondering what's going on. And he just uttered something to the effect of I feel like I let them down. And he was talking about all the people who had worked so hard to get him re-elected and all the people on the staff who worked so hard for four years to make America a better place. And he just felt like he had let them down. And it was a tough moment for me to watch him suffer like that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was disappointed, but he was not bitter. He was a man of dignity and a person that was confident and wanted to move on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After President Bush lost the election, 15 days later, maybe less than that, his mother passed. And now the election was still devastates, but not near so much as losing his mother. Almost like his guiding light. And it's a huge page in a man's book of life when their mother passes. And you could see that in him. And it almost took over from the loss of the election.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a tough time because his mother was the greatest influence in his life. She instilled all of these qualities of family, faith and friends into dad. And he lived his life with that coming first always. .
BARBARA BUSH: I think his faith is very strong. Very strong. But he's very quiet about it. You don't really talk about your faith. You act your faith.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dad taught us a lot about Grace in defeat when he lost the election. One of the first things he did was to cheer up his staff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on the phone with the comedian Jon Levitz and I get call waiting and what I hear is this -- this is the White House operator number one, hold for the president. So I have to go back to Jon Levitz. I said Jon, I have to go. I said what, you have a bigger name? I go, well it's actually the president. I don't know if he really believed me. President Bush comes on the phone. How you doing, Dave? Wondering if maybe you would like to come out and visit a little bit. People are down a little here. Maybe you could cheer up the troops.
A few weeks later, my wife and I are, you know, a he gate. We go into the White House. It is gorgeous, you know. It's all dressed for Christmas basically, all the red flowers and everything.
Meanwhile, my wife and I are kind of levitating. Our heads are exploding that we are in the Lincoln bedroom. And later on, a lot of people wanted to know whether my wife and I made love in the Lincoln bedroom. And I thought that was such a silly question. You know, I didn't want to answer but my son's middle name is Abe. And so, anyway, so the next day I had a meeting with the president. Everyone was there and I'm going to go to the east wing. They play "hail to the chief," the whole staff is going to be assembling.
Actually, I stayed in the Lincoln bedroom last night. And I couldn't resist, you know, I called up the secret service on the phone and I got the president, I want to go jogging tonight in the nude. My wife and I were looking on the locker at midnight. These guys were -- totally unclothed. The pre to do the president, Mr. Roger, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Then you add little John Wayne and you have George Herbert Walker Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To bring a comedian that sort of made fun of you all these years to your White House staff after you've lost an election, that's classy.
CLINTON: One of our enduring traditions in America is that after a presidential election, when the incumbent president is leaving office and a new president is coming in, the president elect pays a courtesy call to the president at the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Clinton and Ms. Clinton were brought in to introduce them to the butlers. He was telling them that, you know, these are the guys that are going to take care of you upstairs and everything. And you know, they'll really be good to you. But it wasn't good for us because the first thing President Clinton and Ms. Clinton saw was a bunch of guys in there with tears in their eyes crying. And he told me, he said don't pay them no mind. He said they'll be the same way with you when you leave.
CLINTON: I remember how gracious they were and brave and dignified. And, you know, I always really liked him. So, I could just feel how hard it must have been. And I really admired the way they did it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the great experiences given to our country was when a friendship was formed that ran against the norm. That was the friendship between president Clinton and President Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're an odd couple, but it's very sweet, their relationship that they developed. I think their work together on behalf of good causes. It is really one of the nicest chapters in the history of American presidents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will be a friend to all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one at 10 downing street can remember the last time a world leader shook hands with the doorman at the prime minister's home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush just has so much love for people, whether they agreed with his politics, his point of view, it didn't matter. He didn't have a mean spirited bone in his body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just knowing what I know, the kind of guy he is, if he wasn't your friend, he would make you his friend. Just the way he makes people feel, comfortable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it was a totally different time period where people like me really thought our jobs were on the line if our bosses maybe knew we were gay. But at this point, I was President Bush's chief of staff having had worked for him for maybe ten years. A couple of months after I became chief of staff, I told Jean Becker that I was gay. And she asked then if I was going to tell the Bushes. And I said, you know, that's not something I feel I could talk to them about. It was just too personal and they meant too much to me. And I just didn't think I could have the conversation. And then I expressed to her I was worried that he would be embarrassed of me. I didn't know if he would want to fire me. Or if he would be ashamed.
Several months later he told me he wanted to talk to me about something. So he says I asked Jean if you were gay at which point I was like shell-shocked. And I really couldn't look at him because I was totally caught off-guard. It was not a conversation I ever thought I would have with George Bush. And he began to tell me the fact that he loved me no matter what. He wanted me to be happy, first and foremost. He would never be embarrassed of me or ashamed and he didn't care if anybody knew that I, his chief of staff, was gay. And he said you know Barbara loves you and it really didn't matter to them. He just wanted me to be happy.
And then he began to tear up and get emotional because then he said to me, I hope I've never done anything to make you feel like less of a person in all our time together. Having him show that kind of love towards me really showed the kind of man that he is. It certainly made my life easier, because I thought if George Bush knows and doesn't care, it doesn't matter to me if anybody else knows or cares.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was a little girl when President Bush was in office. As I am now I'm an adult and I'm studying and learning more and putting into context some of the memories I recall from his time in office. I see that one of the things you can really learn from his presidency is to be bold, is to really stand for something, and go against the grain at times. And I would say that's one of the major things I learned at the Bush school.
Millennials are a very distinct generation. We do have a strong desire to leave the world better then we found it, which I think directly relates to the president, and not only his leadership in office but his leadership after office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My father had a great vision. Points of life represents, you know, the greatest part of the American tradition of giving to others. And I'm proud of that. I think it's his greatest legacy. GEORGE H.W. BUSH: I will keep America moving forward. Always
forward. For a better America, for an endless enduring dream and a thousand points of light.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He thought everybody can be a point of light. You can do something in volunteerism or some other form of service to your nation that makes you a point of light, somebody who shines out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty three years later, the thousand points of light foundation is the largest multi-facetted volunteer organization on the whole planet.
GEORGE W. BUSH: James Baker, one of my dad's greatest friend and a wonderful person said that George Bush has aged gracefully.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He taught us how to live, how to lead, how to love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just great fun being with President Bush. He is the ultimate camp counselor, just going 100 miles an hour.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's idea of playing golf is the fastest one around the course is the one who wins. He is not the lowest score.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he would hit the ball and he would run and then he would hit it again. And he would run. And by the time it got up on the green, he walked off there and say to me or one of the others, I don't understand why I can't putt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you have tips to give me why I can't play better, just give them to me. And of course, I would say well, the first tip I'm going to give you is to slow down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad is somebody lives life to the fullest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is not a guy who is going to sit around and, you know, neo-point. He asked for volunteers on his 85th birthday, people who wanted to sky dive. My wife did it, our daughter did it, our son did it, and I was too chicken to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I couldn't remember flying over the cloud and watching the 41st president waving at the crowd.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was all these boats on the water. And I think everyone on the boat had these little bells and you can heard these bells ringing from 3,000. I was saying sir, you have to get your legs up for the landing, but he was just so alive. You know, you could see that sense of freedom and enjoyment and feeling young.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I present to you sergeant first class Michael Elliott and the 41st president of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We landed right there at the landing area at St. Anne's church. He says hey, you made an old man feel young again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were at church at the little Episcopal church very near Walker's point and the minister asked one of those rhetorical questions in his sermon. He said who here has a perfect family? And President Bush actually raised his hand. He was the only person in the congregation that raised his hand and everybody sort of chuckled.
GEORGE W. BUSH: People normally ask, did you constantly seek your father's advice? And my answer was no, I constantly sought my father's love.
OBAMA: What always struck me when I see him is the joy he takes in his family and how deeply his family loves him. And to have accomplish as much as he has while still investing the kind of attention and care in his family that shows in how they view him, you know, that's a sign of a life well lived.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Of course, I want to thank my entire family with this special emphasis on a woman named Barbara.
CLINTON: Every parent lives in the mortal fear when their kids grow up, they won't want to hang around them anymore. And it's sort of like the ultimate validation in life when your adult children still want to hang around you. And his adult children like hanging around with him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happens in Kennebunkport stays? In Kennebunkport.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My cousins to chuckle. They are supposed to be older cousins who had -- which is a pornography site, Walker's point, and they done it on my grandmother's computer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So Mrs. Bush discovered out some pictures of scantily clad women on her printer one day. And she was extremely upset about it. And, you know, she couldn't quit talking about it and all hell broke out, needless to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So gampy (ph) to find the culprit, you know, drafted this theme where he pretended to be the district's attorney in Portland, Maine and he wrote a letter to my grandmother saying, you know, dear Mrs. Bush, this is very uncomfortable, but.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has come to our attention that you have been using your computer to go to porn websites.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we have to come down to the Portland office and answer to them. But it was very official and we did dummy stationery and someone droved to Portland and mailed the letter so it had a Portland stamp date. And Mrs. Bush fell for it hook, line and sinker.
The family tradition, the Bushes are in bed, reading paper, drinking coffee and the whole family goes in there. And Mrs. Bush a lot of times would go through her mail in the morning. So he made sure that her mail pouch was sitting right there. And sure enough, a bunch of family in the bedroom, she opens that letter and she is beside herself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he kind of pulled all of his grand kids, I think I was probably the younger age that got pulled into this meeting. And he read the letter allowed. We was like, you know, we know this isn't gammy. I don't think he cared to find out who did it. But it was more the spirit, we're on top of it. And you know, joking was the way to hand handling the situation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard to describe some humor, but we had such a good time. That devil.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I swear, they looked at each other like they did when they were 18 and 19 years old. It's remarkable. And I think it's because they can laugh at themselves, they laugh together.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like up and laugh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then lift.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of gampy-isms in their funny little things that he does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got such a great spirit.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't help but see what a romance and how much love he has for her. There's this fabulous camaraderie. And the fun, they had the best time teasing each other. But they are the most supportive. If anybody said one negative word against either and they would just kill you. You just better watch out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think their long marriage is an expression of the kind of people they are. And they've been through rough times, the loss of a child. That would be a heavy blow to any mother and father.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know how my parents got through it. Robin was my older sister. Who died of leukemia at the age of four. You never get over something like that. But they did a fantastic job of getting through it. Mom would be having a difficult time and dad would be her strength. And then when dad was feeling weak and having a difficult time, mom was strong. So they are very compatible that way.
CLINTON: They're great together. And even in their later year, they still find things to be grateful for with each new day.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH: To me, they're one of the great teams ever. You know, if you're a baseball team, you would want your double play combination to do that as well as they do. If you're a basketball play, you want a guard and a guy filling the lane to feel one another. They do that. And when they do it, it's absolutely beautiful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They now officially have been married longer than any other president and first lady. I remember a couple of years ago, they're going to kill me for telling you this, but they both complained to me separately about how much the other one snored. So after, I don't know, a few months of hearing all the snoring stories, I suggested to President Bush one day, I said maybe it's time that you all sleep in separate beds and he was just appalled by this idea. And he said I have to be able to reach out in the middle of the night and grab her hand and know that she's there.
BARBARA BUSH: Well, a little personal but we say we love each other every night and then we argue over who loves each other more. And that's always a nice fight. I win that one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are so honored we have been friends with George and Barbara Bush since 1982 and we're proud to sing "Amazing Grace" for our president.