George W. Bush: The Interview

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Last Hurrah?

Salvatore: This is probably your last campaign together, and I wonder if that makes it a particularly poignant moment for both of you.

President Bush: That's an interesting question. I think it will be. Be somewhat nostalgic. The truth of the matter is we spent our first year of marriage on the campaign trail. And this is the last campaign.

Salvatore: Do you think you'll do things differently on this campaign?

President Bush: I think it's important for Laura to be out there without me because she is such a strong advocate for what we're trying to do, and if we're both together it's not a good utilization of her time. So I hope she spends more time on the campaign trail alone.

Mrs. Bush: Although at the end, I love to travel with the president because it is a really sweet time for both of us. Like the president says, we spent the first year of our married life in the car by ourselves driving up and down the panhandle of west Texas. It's a great way to get to know your new husband.

Salvatore: Who's the better driver? [They point to each other simultaneously and laugh.]

President Bush: She is.

Mrs. Bush: He is.

Salvatore: Mrs. Bush, as you campaign, what is the most important thing you want the American people to know about your husband?

Mrs. Bush: Well, of course I know him in a way that nobody else does, and I want people to have the chance to know him like I know him. I know his characteristics in such a profound way. I know how disciplined he is. I know how steady he is. I know how strong he is. And this job is not for the faint of heart, there's no doubt about that. Really requires a lot of strength, especially in the challenging times like we have.

Mrs. Bush: But also, politics is a family business. If somebody in the family is in elected office, then everyone is involved in some way.

Salvatore: Mr. President, what do you know now about being president that you didn't know before, that you would like to tell your younger self?

President Bush: I didn't know a war was coming. I knew it was going to be a lot of work and a tough job. And I accept that and enjoy that. I enjoy making decisions, and I knew it was gonna be a decision-making experience. I didn't realize Washington was going to be so bitter. Austin [where the Bushes lived when he was governor of Texas] was not a bitter place. It was a place where Democrats and Republicans could get along pretty well and look after the state's interests. Washington turns out to be a lot different town than I envisioned it to be. I think it's a lot of zero-sum politics there. I'm not pointing the finger at anybody, I'm just telling you what it is. But one thing's for certain: When I look back at it, I'm glad I ran, and it's been a fantastic experience for both of us. It's been an opportunity to spread freedom and peace, an opportunity to put policies in place that will leave behind the likelihood that people are going to be prosperous, and that's really important. I've enjoyed it. I really have.

Salvatore: Do you think presidents ought to be able to hold office for as long as they could be elected?

President Bush: No.

Salvatore: So you would not be interested in running for a third term if you could?

President Bush: Not at all. I think two terms is plenty. I think in a democracy it's important that there be change and turnover. I think there are plenty of people with capable ideas. There's something refreshing about change in leadership. And there's something also very refreshing about knowing that change in leadership will come after having spent a lot of time trying to convince voters that you're the right person.

Continued on page 3:  Laura's Legacy


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