Mark K. Updegrove’s PARADE interview with President and Mrs. George W. Bush
Apr 20, 2013
This Sunday’s PARADE features an exclusive interview with the former first couple, George W. and Laura Bush. After staying mostly out of sight since 2009, the couple, both 66, are back in the spotlight this week with the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, part of the larger Bush Presidential Center, which also includes the Bush Institute, a public policy initiative focused on the issues the president remains passionate about. They spoke with PARADE contributor Mark Updegrove. [Editor’s Note: The interview took place prior to the Boston attacks.] See highlights, below:
What was the biggest adjustment after leaving the White House?
George Bush: Not to have this sense of responsibility that you had when you were president and first lady. You know, one day you’re being briefed on world affairs and asked to make decisions, and the next, you’re in Crawford, Texas … and the biggest decision is when do you go mountain bike riding. [laughs]
Can you tell us about the George W. Bush Presidential Center which includes the Bush Institute?
GB: Well, I wanted to stay engaged in policy but I didn’t want to be involved with politics. Fourteen years was enough for me … but I do want to stay engaged in issues that matter to me.
Is the world safer today than it was 12 years ago, after 9/11?
GB: I think it is, because there’s a recognition that there are people who are willing to murder the innocent to achieve their objectives. As a result, our country went on the offense and hardened our defenses … And so, yes … my administration and President Obama’s administration have gone on the offense against people who would do us harm.
What could the GOP do to better position itself for the White House in 2016?
GB: The party ought to nominate somebody who can stand by principles and explain why conservative principles are better for the vast majority of the citizens. I’m not one who believes that the Republican Party is doomed forever.
Your brother Jeb has been talked about as a potential candidate for president. Is the country—I mean this respectfully—ready for another Bush?
GB: That’s for Jeb to figure out, you know what I mean? [laughs] I would hope that people would judge [him], if Jeb were to run, on his merits and his track record. … So I hope he will run.
How are you preparing for your new role as grandparents? Did you have any name suggestions?
GB: [We got] the “How to Be a Grandparent” manual. [laughs] I suggested Georgia, but somehow, they didn’t want it.
Click here to read more of Mark's talk with Mrs. Bush (including the story behind her husband’s passion for painting). Check out Sunday’s PARADE to find out President Bush’s thoughts on Afghanistan and Iraq; the impact of the Arab Spring; what trouble spot in the world most concerns him today and why; and how he’d like to be remembered.
New library will present George W. Bush’s side of the story, but presidential centers eventually evolve [dallasnews.com]
Bush library dedication was tame compared with its Austin precedent [dallasnews.com]
George W. Bush to Dedicate His Presidential Library Today [parade.com]
Bush Library in Dallas Opens with Rare Presidents Club Reunion [swampland.time.com]
Bush, like past presidents, faces scrutiny over his library’s version of history [yahoo.com]
The other presidential libraries in Texas [www.dallasnews.com]
Rewinding History, Bush Museum Lets You Decide [www.newyorktimes.com]
US Presidential Libraries Contribute to Research, Education [www.voanews.com]