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Interview With Barbara Bush

Aired June 28, 2003 - 21:00   ET


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And mother, everybody loves you and so do I. Growing up, she gave me love and lots of advice. I gave her white hair.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, an amazing life, an amazing lady. Barbara Bush for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Thanks for joining us. She's the First Lady, first mother, and the first guest on what we're calling "King's Classics". These are old shows that are just too good to see in the library and collect dust. We're going to bring you more of these shows in the future. We'll repackage them, freshen them up a little, and we hope you enjoy them.

We know you'll enjoy this one because Barbara Bush is some kind of lady. Not everything's been perfect in her life, and we'll get to that, but we started our 1994 interview by asking about her just released memoirs.


KING: Why, Barbara, did this very private person, which you are, write this?

BARBARA BUSH, FMR. FIRST LADY: Well because my husband couldn't keep a job. No, because...

KING: That's a good pack line on the book tour.

B. BUSH: Right.

KING: Now why...

B. BUSH: You've been there.

KING: Why did you write it?

B. BUSH: Well because I really didn't plan to write a book. Three publishers came to me at the White House after George lost and said, we would like to publish your book. I said, well, I don't have a book, and they said well it's a well known fact that you have kept diaries. And then they offered me a sum I couldn't say not to -- I'm going to tell you the honest truth.

KING: That kind of offer.

B. BUSH: That kind of offer. It was very nice and Larry, it turned out to be absolutely the best thing that could have happened to me. I loved writing it.

KING: Why?

B. BUSH: Well because I always knew that I was lucky and that life had been good to me, but I really remembered again how really good it had been.

KING: For some people when they face the catharsis of a book and in order for a book to be successful, it has to be honest...

B. BUSH: Mine was honest...

KING: ... have a difficult time...

B. BUSH: No...

KING: ... letting it out.

B. BUSH: ... I loved writing the book. And let me just give you an example. I told George this on the phone this morning or last night before I went to bed, he called. I awakened Monday morning in New York City having said good-bye to George Bush and I left and the airplane went into the White House, and a lot of things happened. The pope, Arafat met with Rabin. A lot of things happened, and I sat and watched the news. Darling Jessica Tandy died and Hume Cronyn, I thought about Cronyn and I thought, you know, I knew every single person or place that was on that television set thanks to George Bush, with the exception of Arafat, and George didn't meet him this year. But every other person knew me and I knew them.

KING: What a life.

B. BUSH: That's an amazing life. I knew it from writing the book, but I told George, I said it really struck me how really great a life you've given me.

KING: But also from looking at the book, aspects of it Barbara Bush didn't like.

B. BUSH: Well, of course. Nobody likes a child to die or losing an election. Nobody likes, you know, the ugly parts of politics...

KING: Did you...

B. BUSH: But I loved...

KING: ... for public life?

B. BUSH: Sure.

KING: You did?

B. BUSH: I love people. I really loved living in the White House, but I don't miss it at all. I miss the people...

KING: Explain that.

B. BUSH: Well I miss the people...

KING: Don't you miss what you loved?

B. BUSH: No. No, because I've got more. We're having the best time you've ever known.

KING: Well you've never looked better and George has never looked better...

B. BUSH: It's terrific.

KING: ... unbelievable.

B. BUSH: We've been on three cruises. We took 11 of our 13 grandchildren this summer and seven of our 10 children on a cruise to the Greek Islands and we had the best time. We were there eight days and no one fought --not a child, even the adults didn't. I mean we've just had a great time. We've played golf in Korea, Hawaii, Colorado...

KING: What did the president think of the book, of your writing the book...

B. BUSH: He read the book.

KING: In diaries before...

B. BUSH: No, he read it chapter by chapter, I would say. I hate to ask you to do this, but I don't want you to wake up one day and say oh my gosh, what have you done? And he read it, and he didn't take a thing out. The only thing he added and it was so sweet, I would say that George did the bill for disabled Americans. And I think the ADA (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a long overdue bill, and I was so proud of him...

KING: Americans for Disability Bill...

B. BUSH: Americans...


B. BUSH: More people benefited. Now like 40 million people suddenly can join the mainstream, and George would say -- put a little thing it, he'd say, with the help of Boyd (ph) and Gray (ph) and so and so, so and so, so and so, and so and so...

KING: Giving credit.

B. BUSH: ... giving credit or I would say I was so proud of George he did something or other. You ought to know when you read this book I love George Bush. I'm very proud of him. I'm not critical of him...

KING: That comes through...

B. BUSH: But anyway...

KING: You do disagree as any couple would.

B. BUSH: ... he added good stuff.

KING: Did he say to you when you revealed for the first time...

B. BUSH: He knew that...

KING: ... that you were pro choice. Did he say to you well, I've always known you're pro choice, Barbara. I'm your husband.

B. BUSH: Yes.

KING: But you don't have to write this.

B. BUSH: No, he did not.

KING: He did not.

B. BUSH: No, because you know, I can't quite get this point across.

KING: Get it...

B. BUSH: I agree with George 99 percent on that particular subject. I mean I agree with George that parental consent is very important. I agree with George that abortion is all right in the case of rape, incest and the life of the mother. I personally feel that abortion after the first trimester is wrong. I feel...

KING: So your only disagreement is in the first trimester...

B. BUSH: Well and...

KING: ... you believe in the choice.

B. BUSH: ... the one thing we agree -- that's exactly right -- and the one thing -- well I'd never have one myself, but...

KING: No, you believe that a woman in...

B. BUSH: ... I can't...

KING: ... her first trimester has the right to...

B. BUSH: ... do that (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but having said that, the thing we really agree on, Larry, is that 1.6 million abortions a year is an outrage and that education is the answer. And you know, it's very sheik to laugh at Dan Quayle, but families have really abdicated from being parents...


B. BUSH: They haven't taught their children.

KING: But the president didn't say to you, leave this out.

B. BUSH: No he did not.

KING: Were there other areas of disagreement?

B. BUSH: No, not really. I mean you're married almost 50 years, you begin to grow together.

KING: Where did you see the role -- Eleanor Roosevelt, who I was fortunate enough to interview before she died, said that she thought it was the role of the good first lady to give her husband her input.

B. BUSH: That's right.

KING: Whether he used it or not...

B. BUSH: And she did.

KING: ... is his...

B. BUSH: And he couldn't get out.

KING: ... she did.

B. BUSH: But she got out and she was the most visible first lady. She wrote...

KING: Wrote a column.

B. BUSH: ... for money, a column.

KING: "My Day".

B. BUSH: That's right. I mean, times are different, but she was certainly the forerunner of the -- you know, the 21st Century wife...


B. BUSH: ... I think.

KING: Now were you a -- you were not a yes woman to George Bush, then, though.

B. BUSH: He didn't ask me to be.

KING: So he wanted your input and...

B. BUSH: Yes.

KING: ... when he asked for it, you gave it to him.

B. BUSH: You're darn right and sometimes when he didn't ask for it. Did he take it always? No and probably not, but I mean he listened and I thought that was my role. Everybody does their own thing. I really felt my role was to have priorities and my sense of priorities tell me that I should really work hard for literacy, and I'm very proud to say...

KING: Why did you pick that?

B. BUSH: ... we got the first act...


B. BUSH: ... 1991 Literacy Act.

KING: Why did you pick that?

B. BUSH: Well I picked it because I knew George was going to run for high office and I'd always volunteered in hospitals and I thought about it and thought I ought to pick a project that will help the most people possible and probably not cost too much more government money and certainly, not be controversial. I mean why pick a cause that's going to cause trouble always in the family? But having said that, when I jogged and thought, now I worry about the pregnant teenager, and I do worry about that, and I worry about high school dropouts and I worry about a ton of things that all of us worry about. We didn't have Aids then or we really didn't have homeless. But, I worry about all the things, the environment, everything. It suddenly occurred to me if more people could read and write and comprehend, time, everything would be better.

KING: We could make a case there's no excuse for literacy...

B. BUSH: That's right...

KING: ... in a civilized...

B. BUSH: And then I got thinking when I worked on it about eight years, maybe six years, then it really isn't just literacy. It's family literacy that counts because children copy their parents.

KING: And in the book you mention that Governor Clinton of Arkansas...

B. BUSH: That's right.

KING: ... wowed them at that first literacy conference...

B. BUSH: That's right.

KING: ... literacy conference that you headed, right?

B. BUSH: That's right. He did a good job...

KING: He came up...

B. BUSH: ... as did many others, I might add, and some disappointed us. But he was very good. He was very good at the education summit too. I haven't heard from him lately, but that was something he was very good at.

KING: We'll talk about that and other things with the former first lady, Barbara Bush, one of the most popular first ladies...


KING: ... in the history of the land. Oh, she -- we'll ask her why she hates...

B. BUSH: I hate that.

KING: ... loves the White House, doesn't miss it, hates popularity.

B. BUSH: No...

KING: We'll be right back with Barbara Bush after this.

B. BUSH: Mom was angry, but before she could speak, Nana said it seems that Natalie is just another one who don't know nothing. You can be anything you want, right, if you put your mind to it. You know that book by heart, don't you? And that's true. You can be anything you want if you put your mind to it.


B. BUSH: Whether you're talking about education, career or service, you're talking about life and life really must have joy. It's supposed to be fun. One of the reasons I made the most important decision of my life to marry George Bush is because he made me laugh. It's true, sometimes we laugh through our tears, but that shared laughter has been one of our strongest bonds. Find the joy in life because as Ferris Bueller said on his day off, "Life moves pretty fast and if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you're going to miss it."

KING: We'll hopscotch and then we'll go to your phone calls. Our guest is Barbara Bush. The book, "A Memoir" from Scribner's Bill B #12 (ph) this Sunday on "The New York Times" best seller list. This is LARRY KING LIVE. I want to remind you tomorrow night President Clinton will address the nation on the Haiti situation. We will follow that with a debate on that subject following the Republican response. That's tomorrow night. It all starts at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

Our guest is former First Lady Barbara Bush. We'll hopscotch some things and then we'll go to your phone calls. You mention in the book how you watched on this very program the Perot/Gore debate and I'll bet you did not think that you would be routing for Al Gore...


KING: ... to win the debate.

B. BUSH: Well because George, you know, was the father of NAFTA and I did... KING: I was there the day they signed that in...


KING: ... San Antonio. That night...

B. BUSH: That's right.

KING: ... he was on our show.

B. BUSH: Well I would like to point out that the vice president did a fabulous job. He really did. And I was routing for him.

KING: What did you make of the whole Ross Perot thing?

B. BUSH: Read my book.

KING: You didn't like him?

B. BUSH: Well, would you?

KING: But you must have known him a long time.

B. BUSH: I did know him a long time and he fictioned a little bit about George.

KING: Was there a time you were friends?

B. BUSH: Yes I think so. He offered George a job.

KING: With his company?


KING: And you liked his wife a lot?

B. BUSH: I love his wife. I still love his wife, and I love his children.

KING: They're great kids...

B. BUSH: I mean one of his daughters worked in the White House when George was vice president and they're wonderful kids, a great son, a great family.

KING: Now were you shocked by that whole episode?

B. BUSH: Yes. And I think a lot of his friends were too.

KING: What did you like -- what was the least thing about the White House you liked? In other words, if you didn't have to put up with again, fine. What did...

B. BUSH: That'd be very hard for me to say. I'm not a negative person. I loved the White House. I loved the people that worked there. I loved the life. I loved the fact that every day you could get up and do something that helped other people. But the marvelous part is that does not stop after you leave the White House. It turns out that George and I are both serving on hospital boards and we can raise money and we're working for America. Yes, we're going to go off at the end of this tour to a Central America country and take food...

KING: Where are you going?


KING: All over...

B. BUSH: No, just a Central American country. Don't ask me because I'm a little tired tonight. I've forgotten...

KING: What about the isolation of the White House? There is an isolation...

B. BUSH: No because I had...

KING: ... you are...

B. BUSH: ... great friends. I will say, though, if you have a friend in the White House for heavens sake call her or him. People don't call you, but I had, you know, Andy Stewart (ph) and Phyllis Drafer (ph)...

KING: In other words, people think...

B. BUSH: Oh, she's too busy to talk and I had wonderful daughters and sons who lived here, who came by pretty regularly and...

KING: All right. How do you feel about two sons in politics, both running for governor of two huge states?

B. BUSH: I think we're -- just the country is lucky to have them. They're the two best qualified, finest young men you've ever known.

KING: Were you surprised at either one of them entering the political arena?

B. BUSH: Not really because they've worked so hard in their communities and in their parties for years. Both of them are pretty successful businessmen and have very strong families and I tell you, it touched both George and me because you might have thought they'd have been turned off after the ugly 1992. They love their father and he adores them. And for them to get into politics and if you're listening, you bad boys, you made your dad and mom very, very happy.

KING: That's very nice.

B. BUSH: Well it's true.

KING: Do you feel this -- do you get this -- are you angry at Governor Richards and Governor Chiles...

B. BUSH: No, no...


KING: I mean...

B. BUSH: No. I want the best man to win and we know who they are, don't we?

KING: Do you think they're both going to win?

B. BUSH: Yes. I'm very hopeful...


B. BUSH: And don't go by what I think, though...

KING: I know...

B. BUSH: I mean others have told me, if you want to know the way to go, don't go with me. I'm always wrong, but...

KING: Do you go to the fund-raisers and the like...

B. BUSH: If they ask me, I hate to say that out loud, but I'm ready.

KING: Your son, Jeb, said that it was about four in the afternoon the day of the election, he told me that you knew you weren't going to win.

B. BUSH: Our son, George, came and told us.

KING: And you had a great line. You said, how do I make airport -- or no, how do I get a driver's license, right? You hadn't had to go and apply for one.

B. BUSH: I'm driving. You all watch out.

KING: You're back on the road again.

B. BUSH: I'm on the road again.

KING: How painful was...

B. BUSH: Well...

KING: ... you've had defeat before.

B. BUSH: Someone you love -- well that was painful too. I don't want to tell you that was easy, but if you adore your husband, that's hard. But, George Bush would tell you that I, the minute we lost and maybe a couple of days later, had started sort of mentally packing myself and I was home by the time we got there. And people have been so nice to us and Houston, Texas -- are you a Texan?

KING: No. B. BUSH: Well...


B. BUSH: You ought to be lucky...

KING: I'm the Brooklynite.

B. BUSH: That's right. If you were lucky, you'd be from Texas, but I mean, our house was unpacked. The garden in the rented house was planted. There were yellow ribbons all over the city. People still act almost two years later like they're glad to see us.

KING: Was the lame duck aspect those last few months in the White House tough?

B. BUSH: Well, it's hard for -- George was so busy still being president. We had Somalia and we had...

KING: How about for you?

B. BUSH: ... Saddam. No, because it was tough when I sat down and thought about it, but we had Christmas to get through and I'm really not going to kid you. I loved everyone from the maintenance man to the janitor to the plumbers to the florists to the ushers to the butlers and all the rest of them. I loved every one of those 93 people, and I think knew them.

KING: What was the day like the day you took Hillary through?

B. BUSH: It was fine. She made up her mind and I made up my mind it was going to be fine. It was just fine. She couldn't have been nicer. And we had a nice talk and unfortunately, that was the day George's precious mother died right while she was upstairs and I was down.

KING: You're both in the house at the same time...

B. BUSH: Well she was upstairs looking at the house. We didn't tell her, but they were very kind about it later. But I mean that happened.

KING: We'll take a break and come back and go to your phone calls. The guest is former First Lady Barbara Bush. The book is "A Memoir". There's a great -- there are a lot of great pictures in this book, one great one. We'll talk about that later. Back with your calls after this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that feeling.




KING: One of the pictures that we're going to show you now for the benefit of our television viewers, we're also simulcast on radio is -- there he is...


KING: ... Larry and the dog.

B. BUSH: No, Larry and Millie.

KING: Sorry, Millie. I like the little caption you put in this, "Interviewing Millie", sharing her thoughts on the election. That was a great night.

All right, we're going to go to phone calls for Barbara Bush and we start with Norfolk, Virginia. Hello.

CALLER: Hello. Thank you Mr. King for such and honor and a privilege. You do a great job.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: Mrs. Bush, I'm Don Wood (ph) from Norfolk and I would just like to ask you with the Haiti situation, how -- what did the president and you go through, President Bush go through when you had to make the decision to actually commit troops to the Persian Gulf? It must have been a tough decision.

B. BUSH: Well it was my husband's decision and I went through it only with him because I made no decision...


B. BUSH: It was awful, terrible. George having been to war knows what it's like to send someone else's son or daughter to war.

And I want to thank you very much for having me and for giving me the opportunity to tell you how proud and how grateful we are of all of you. Please know that George and I love each Marine as though they were our very own son and daughter and that he's working night and day to end this dreadful war honorably. God bless you. God bless our troops and bring them home safely to us. Thank you very, very much.

It was a very terrible time, but you know I very and modestly think that George Bush taught us how to keep the peace.

KING: That's the hardest thing for any chief executive to do and the wife is involved, right?

B. BUSH: That's right.

KING: I mean...

B. BUSH: But involved -- it's much easier to...


B. BUSH: ... yes. It's very hard to make the decision.

KING: Arkadelphia, Arkansas, hello.

CALLER: Oh hello. Hello Mrs. Bush.

B. BUSH: Hello.

CALLER: I'm tickled to see you. I always smile when I think about you.

B. BUSH: That's nice.

KING: What a nice thing to say.

CALLER: I don't know if it's proper to ask this question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I was wondering if your husband has been asked for any advice from our current president, especially about foreign affairs.

B. BUSH: You know, I can't answer that. I must say the current president has been generous about briefing my husband and I don't know -- I think I might have heard, but I don't think -- I don't want to say he hasn't because I don't know that.

KING: But he is briefed?

B. BUSH: Yes.

KING: And some presidents don't do that...

B. BUSH: Well my president did it...

KING: He briefed...

B. BUSH: ... to brief all the former presidents.

KING: To Pocatello, Idaho. Hello.

CALLER: Hi Mrs. Bush. I'm a big admirer of yours and my question for you is what, if you would have finished your college education, what would you have -- what would have been your career if things, if the times were different.

B. BUSH: I understand. I'm not sure. I suspect I would have majored in, you know, English or something.


B. BUSH: But I wanted to be sort of a nurse later. I mean I worked in the hospitals for many years as a volunteer and I think that's where some of my talents lay at that time anyway. I don't -- I like to be with sick people, if you can make them feel better. I think I would have liked to have been a nurse. Now that may partially be... KING: Here you are getting an honorary degree. That's a big thrill...

B. BUSH: Yes.

KING: ... Smith College.

B. BUSH: Honorary, but I think that was maybe because I saw a lot of wonderful nurses when our daughter was sick and I admired them.

KING: Zurich, Switzerland, hello.

CALLER: Thanks Larry. Good morning Madame or good evening.

B. BUSH: Good morning.


CALLER: You enjoy great admiration in Europe as well.

B. BUSH: That's so sweet. Thank you very much.

CALLER: And I'm pretty sure that if the young women in America and elsewhere (UNINTELLIGIBLE) followed your responsible example, perhaps a tragedy like the O.J. Simpson one could have been avoided.

B. BUSH: Oh.

CALLER: My question is, which of the two styles do you think would serve the modern presidency better? Your son-in-law, if your son becomes that president, would you advise your daughter-in-law to be your style or Hillary Clinton style?

B. BUSH: I can't answer that.

KING: Good question.

B. BUSH: That's a good question, but one of the things, sir, that George and I have agreed upon is that we will not knock the Clintons. I mean it's very hard to be the president and maybe it's hard to be the wife of the president. I didn't find it so, but I don't want...

KING: Are the styles of Jeb and George's wives similar to yours or similar to Hillary's or are they -- distinctly their...

B. BUSH: I think they're distinctly their own people. They're wonderful young women. But I mean everybody does their own thing and I don't criticize the Clintons. Their job is not easy.

KING: We'll be back. No one knows that better than the former first lady. Barbara Bush's book, "A Memoir" from Scribner's. It's going to be number 12 this Sunday on "The New York Times" best seller list. It can only go up from there. Don't go away.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations...



KING: We're back on LARRY KING LIVE with former first lady Barbara Bush, author of "A Memoir" from Scribner's. Before we take the next call, I forgot. Why don't you like the word popular?

B. BUSH: Well, because I don't think it's true and I don't know how to cope with it, and I just don't like it. I don't...


B. BUSH: ... want you to stand up and say here comes the least popular woman either...


B. BUSH: I mean, I just don't -- it just makes me very uncomfortable.

KING: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi Mr. Larry. I'm really delighted and thank you for your efforts.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: Hi Mrs. Bush. Good afternoon. First of all, I would like to convey my deep regards to our best friend Mr. Bush.

B. BUSH: Aren't you nice?

CALLER: And secondly, I would like to ask you what were your last thoughts while leaving the White House?

B. BUSH: What were...


B. BUSH: ... my last thoughts when I left the White House.

KING: You look very sad in the picture.

B. BUSH: Well, I wasn't very happy in a way. But I was -- I hope I was just remembering all those wonderful times. But we did love the people and I haven't been back to see them, and I hope they know I love...

KING: Why not?

B. BUSH: I just wasn't ready. George went back, but I'm just not ready.

KING: You're not emotionally ready?

B. BUSH: Well no. I -- they're doing their thing, the new president, and they ought to do it and they know I love them.


B. BUSH: If not, I'm telling you now.

KING: But if Hillary called and said please come...

B. BUSH: They did ask us for the night, which was very thoughtful during the NAFTA signing time and George went and he enjoyed it immensely, said they were very hospitable. I just wasn't ready.

KING: Are you ready now?

B. BUSH: No.

KING: Arlington, Virginia with Barbara Bush, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Mrs. Bush, first I want to tell you that I think you are one of the most gracious first ladies this country has ever had and I thank you for that because you've set a wonderful example for young women across the country. But having said that, I'd like to know if it was difficult for you, given that you do have your opinions and you are very intelligent. Was it difficult for you to not be more aggressive and more like say Hillary Clinton, and come out with your opinions more often, especially on the issue of abortion?

B. BUSH: No. No, it wasn't difficult for me at all. Abortion, number one, is not a major item with me. It's not a top priority with me. But, you know, I think the person who has the courage to run for the office is the one you should hear, not the wife or the husband. Having said that, of course, I told George how I felt. But you know when you're as close to your husband as I am to mine, he knew how I felt. I had told him and I knew how he felt, and I never questioned the sincerity of his beliefs.

KING: How did you emotionally deal during that short period of time when there were all those stories and tabloids about infidelity?

B. BUSH: Well how can you...


KING: I mean emotionally how did you...

B. BUSH: Well I had no problem. It never happened. KING: None at all? None at all?

B. BUSH: Nobody ever accused George Bush of anything. Rumors, ugly rumors, political, I had no problem. George and I talked about it and we said, isn't it sick how people do something like this?

KING: The job of his, it appears that you like the least was CIA.

B. BUSH: Well that's because I can't keep a secret. I'm going to tell you the honest truth, and I mean we discussed it and we both know I can't keep a secret...

KING: So he didn't tell you?

B. BUSH: I asked him not to tell me, but he did share with me, but you know, you're talking about the depression I had.

KING: Yes.

B. BUSH: I really -- it was stupid of me Larry. I'm glad now...

KING: What do you mean stupid? You can't control it.

B. BUSH: No. But I could have gotten help. But I was too sort of proud to get help and when George -- he was the only person I told. I didn't tell Andy Stewart (ph), my closest friend in the world. I didn't tell anybody.

KING: What's depression like?


B. BUSH: Awful, painful, and it really physically hurts.

KING: It's been described that no news is good news, that nothing can please you when you're...

B. BUSH: Well, it wasn't maybe quite that bad. I mean I faked beautifully.


B. BUSH: I mean I faked through it...

KING: Mike Wallace worked every day of it.

B. BUSH: Did he?

KING: Yes.


B. BUSH: Well God bless him because it's just a terrible thing to have and you...

KING: How did you lick it?

B. BUSH: I don't know. But George just held me and he would suggest, you know, why don't you go to a doctor and then I'd say he thinks I'm crazy. I only cried at night when I could just keep him awake and I mean it's terrible. But having said that, I was the right age, menopause, my children were gone for the first time. It was a job I couldn't share and we'd had such fun in China and the U.N. and I loved all that being part of his life and the Republican National Committee. And all of a sudden all of that sort of -- but it was really the physical thing and a doctor could have helped me and I was too...

KING: Sure.

B. BUSH: ... stupid to go.

KING: And drugs could have helped.

B. BUSH: Yes. But I just didn't want to tell anyone. I mean I was ashamed of it. My code was you think about other people, stop thinking about -- obviously, you're thinking about yourself. That just isn't true. I mean I worked hard at the Washington home every day. I gave slide programs of China. George took me abroad with him on trips. I did a lot of things.

KING: But inside...

B. BUSH: I just hurt, but I'm over it. I was sad to read in the "USA Today", though, that it recurs to people and I said not me big boy.

KING: We'll be right back with former First Lady Barbara Bush. The book is "A Memoir", publisher is Scribner's. This is LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be right back.


KING: We have shown our viewers pictures of very little Barbara Bush and then a growing up Barbara Bush. Beautiful -- is that a picture of (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

B. BUSH: I love that because you remember -- well you don't remember, but George was 18, I was 17, I guess then. He wrote my mother and asked for a picture, and she sent him one when I was 14 with my dog Sandy.

KING: There it is again.

B. BUSH: And poor George, he was trying to tell people I was 18 and not 17 anyway because he was so embarrassed people teased him about his age, and that's what he got.

KING: Did premature gray run in the family?

B. BUSH: No.


B. BUSH: But I...

KING: Did anyone say why not color it?

B. BUSH: Oh I did color it for years. It turned orange, green (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You can't be married to George Bush and color your hair unless you cover it up and you can't play golf, play tennis, swim...

KING: What age did it start to change color?

B. BUSH: About 34 or five and then when I let it go white, one of my boys said to me oh mother, why did you dye your hair? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the kids think I dyed my hair white.

KING: Tulsa, Oklahoma, hello.

CALLER: Hello Mrs. Bush. How are you?

B. BUSH: I'm great.

CALLER: Well great. Listen, I'm calling from Tulsa, I'm from Texas. I'm routing for your son. Go George. I also want to say that I love and respect you and Mr. Bush a great deal, and my question for you is this. Is the president himself working on a book of his own and if so, how is the progress coming on that?

B. BUSH: That's a very good question. Yes, he and General Brent Scowcroft are working on a book and the progress is getting better.

KING: It was slow for a while.

B. BUSH: It was slow for a while. They discovered they just weren't crazy about writing a lot and...

KING: Neither one.

B. BUSH: ... I loved the first chapter. They worked on it and they sent it back and forth and it was 500 and some pages, so their publisher suggested that maybe they might cut it a little bit.

KING: It's all about foreign policy.

B. BUSH: It's the seven major, I believe, seven major changes with George was president and it's going to be a wonderful scholarly book.

KING: One of the similarities, there are many, between Brent Scowcroft and George Bush is they do -- they're not driven by egos.

B. BUSH: Absolutely.

KING: So you don't hear a lot of "I's".

B. BUSH: No and may I tell you, while we're on the subject, you know how I feel about George Bush. Brent Scowcroft, George says is the unsung hero maybe of his administration. He has no personal agenda. He is one...


B. BUSH: ... of the sweetest men that ever was. My children think of him as family. I love him. George loves him.

KING: He is a frequent guest on this program. There's a certain -- sweetness is correct -- I mean he's very bright...

B. BUSH: Great man.

KING: ... and certainly a military hero.

B. BUSH: Yes.

KING: But he enters a room gently, doesn't he?

B. BUSH: No, he's -- that's right. He is a wonderful man and George Bush loves him.

KING: Oceanside, California, hello.

CALLER: Hello Mrs. Bush and hello also from Davis, Oklahoma.

B. BUSH: Oh good.

CALLER: I've got -- you often say that you had two choices in life. That you could like what you're doing or dislike it and you always chose to like it. What gave you the insight and strength to really live by that because it has inspired me.

B. BUSH: Is your name Casey (ph)?

CALLER: It is.

B. BUSH: I love you Casey (ph).

KING: Wait a minute. Who is this?

B. BUSH: She was my aid for years and she's right. I had two choices in life. You can like what you do or not.

KING: Casey (ph), when did you work for Barbara?

CALLER: I was with her 1987, '88, and part of '89.

B. BUSH: You're a good girl. How is the baby?

CALLER: She's wonderful. Thank you.

B. BUSH: Oh I'm so glad. How is Hugh (ph).

CALLER: Great also.

KING: Wait. You say Casey (ph), an inspiration in what way?

CALLER: It's true. I mean she truly taught me that you do have two choices and you can like it or you can dislike it and if you like it, you're going to make everybody else a lot happier too, as well as yourself. And I just have always wondered where she got that. I got it from her.

KING: All right, she got it from you. Where did you get it?

B. BUSH: I don't know, but it's sure true. Like what you do. I love you.


B. BUSH: ... traveled with me three years. I recognized that beautiful...


B. BUSH: ... and Davis, Oklahoma got me.

KING: Tauranga, New Zealand, hello.

CALLER: Hello Larry.


CALLER: Hello Mrs. Bush.

B. BUSH: Hello.

CALLER: I'd just like to say before I ask my question that -- I would just like to say that I think that your husband was the greatest president the United States has had in my lifetime and I have a campaign slogan for 1996. "Bush is back".

KING: Barbara would say no...


B. BUSH: You're a nice man. You're a nice man.

CALLER: And I hope you come down here to visit us sometime.

B. BUSH: We're coming, maybe. I hope so because we're dying to come and George wants to fish down there in New Zealand. We love your country.

KING: There must be a Harry Walter (ph) speech.

B. BUSH: No I don't think...


B. BUSH: ... I hope so. KING: We'll be back with the former First Lady Barbara Bush, author of "A Memoir" from Scribner's. It's number 12 this week on "The New York Times" best seller list. Don't go away.




KING: The first ladies are kind of like a union, aren't you?

B. BUSH: Well I guess so.


B. BUSH: We're the only people in America ever shared that job, I guess.

KING: And there's a camaraderie (ph), isn't there? A kind of...

B. BUSH: Yes, there's a genteelness about it.

KING: You like Pat Nixon a great deal...

B. BUSH: I love Pat Nixon very, very much.

KING: Probably the least known of all.

B. BUSH: That's right, but she certainly wasn't to the congressional wives -- I was one of those at that time. And she just was a great lady and you know, her children are fabulous...


B. BUSH: And that I mean...

KING: Great kids.

B. BUSH: ... something too.

KING: And Jackie Kennedy.

B. BUSH: I loved her. I didn't know her and I was, I think, the only first lady who didn't sort of write something about her, but I didn't because I thought it would be presumptuous, but that didn't mean I didn't admire her enormously.

KING: Lawton, Oklahoma, hello.

CALLER: Good evening. Mrs. Bush, it is such a privilege to talk to you. I wondered, you and your husband have lived such an exciting life and gone everywhere and met everyone, is there anything you never had a chance to do that now you'd like to do?

KING: Good question. B. BUSH: That's a good question. And well, I used to think I wanted to go down the Rhine, the wine country in France on a barge with bicycles, but with all my family. I think I better hurry if I'm still going to be able to ride the bike. But no, the truth is...

KING: You've done everything you wanted to do.

B. BUSH: Yes, but I'm still willing to keep trying. I broke 100 in golf last summer and again this summer, and I want to now get down better, but I like...

KING: By the way, election night, are you going to be in Florida or Texas?

B. BUSH: I'll be in Houston, Texas with George Bush.

KING: On the phone to Jeb.

B. BUSH: On the phone to Jeb and on the phone to George in Dallas. I'm not going to be with either...

KING: You won't, but you'll be in Texas.

B. BUSH: Unless you boys call and ask me to be there.

KING: By the way, why -- what if they both call?

B. BUSH: George will go to one and I'll go to the other.

KING: I'll be that happens.

B. BUSH: I bet it doesn't.

KING: Doesn't?

B. BUSH: Well I don't know.


B. BUSH: I kept the day open.

KING: Why do you call your husband by his full name?

B. BUSH: Now that is the darndest thing. I've been asked that all week. That's differentiate between George Jones and George Smith.

KING: Fitchburg, Massachusetts, hello.

CALLER: Hi Larry.


CALLER: Hi Mrs. Bush.

B. BUSH: Hi.

CALLER: I've got two questions, one is a small one. How's Millie and...


CALLER: ... that's good, and would you ever think about running for public office?

B. BUSH: No. I'm 69, number one, and number two, I'm not qualified, but would you vote for me?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ever at any time consider the possibility of selecting a female running mate like say Barbara Bush?

RONALD REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT: Well I came as close to Barbara as I could.

KING: What about -- we have a couple of minutes left -- campaigning? Did you like or dislike it?

B. BUSH: Some days I loved it and some days I hated it. Sometimes I was so tired, as if every candidate and wife, that I just thought I can't move. The hotel windows don't open and the motels have hard beds and they all smell like cigarette smoke. Some days you're in the most beautiful places in the world.

KING: And the same is true of the candidate.

B. BUSH: Yes. Oh definitely the candidate.

KING: Orlando, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hi. Good evening Mrs. Bush. We love you very much. We're excited about your son's hopeful gubernatorial election this year. Most importantly, how's Millie?

B. BUSH: Millie is great and I love what you said about Jeb. Thank you.

KING: When you get back to private life, what's been the toughest part, the toughest adjustment?

B. BUSH: This is honestly true and it sounds a little bit selfish, but it never occurred to me that I could never walk down the street again. I always loved walking in Kennebunkport down the Ocean Drive (ph) to downtown and back. It was a good exercise and I loved doing it. People drive off the road now. They ask you...

KING: You go shopping with George, though, right? You go to...

B. BUSH: Well we race. He stops and signs autographs and I race through and shop. But...

KING: But there's no normal life, right...

B. BUSH: ... he's much more generous than I am. KING: Do you miss your drive in sedans...

B. BUSH: No, no, I drive. I drive.

KING: You drive.


KING: Is the Supreme Court in front of you -- I mean the Supreme Court -- Secret Service in front of you and behind you?

B. BUSH: No, I just drive.

KING: Barbara...

B. BUSH: Watch out for me on the road.

KING: She's on the road...

B. BUSH: That's what George says. Watch out...

KING: Be careful...

B. BUSH: ... she's on the road.

KING: ... folks. How long is the book tour you're on?

B. BUSH: We'll be through about the 28th or ninth. I'm going to end in Florida, and then fly back to Maine and then go off with George to Central America.

KING: That's when, next year?

B. BUSH: No, the 1st of October.

KING: And then you'll be back in time for the elections.

B. BUSH: Oh no, I'll be back two days later to speak in Baton Rouge. I'll be there.

KING: And then if the boys invite you, you're on the way.

B. BUSH: You bet.

KING: Thank you Barbara.

B. BUSH: Thanks a lot.

KING: Great seeing you.

B. BUSH: I loved being on the program.

KING: Great having you with us.

B. BUSH: I'll even come again. KING: Any time. First time she came here, I don't want to be here. The former first lady of the United States, Barbara Bush, the author of "A Memoir" from Scribner's and we thank her very much and we congratulate her on the success of this book. It'll be number 12 Sunday on "The New York Times" best seller list. That's tonight's edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Thanks for joining us. Stay tuned for continuous coverage of the situation in Haiti. Don't go away and good night.




KING: A first lady who will always be remembered and by the way, she's writing another book that's going to come out in the fall and we hear it takes no prisoners.

Hope you enjoyed this "Larry King Classic" on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Stay tuned for more news on the most trusted name in news, CNN.

Good night.


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