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Remembering President George H.W. Bush's Life In Public Service; Final Words From Father to Son; White House Confirms Trump Had "Informal Conversation" with Putin; Cease-fire in China Trade War as Trump Freezes Tariff Increase; U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Denies MBS Connection in "The Washington Post" Journalist Murder; Inside the Bush-Clinton Friendship; "SNL" Pays Tribute to Late President; Mexico's New President Vows Transformation; Iran Tests Medium-Range Ballistic Missile. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired December 2, 2018 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Remembering the life of the 41st President of the United States, that is where we start this day on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm George Howell.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I'm Natalie Allen. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

Funeral plans are set for George Herbert Walker Bush, who died Friday night just months after the death of his wife, Barbara, earlier this year. Mr. Bush was 94.

HOWELL: At the White House, the place where President Bush spent four years of his life in service, the U.S. flag flying at half staff. It's 4:00 am Eastern time. In Houston, Texas, a red, white and blue wreath placed at the entrance.

ALLEN: Services begin Monday; for three days the public will be able to pay respects, as his body lies in state at the Capitol building in Washington.

HOWELL: On Wednesday, a national day of mourning. Family, friends, dignitaries all alike will come together for a state funeral. Another funeral service will be held Thursday in Houston, Texas, where the former president lived. Then he will be laid to rest at George H.W. Bush Presidential Library beside his beloved wife, Barbara Bush.

When George Bush passed away on Friday, he was surrounded by friends and family.

ALLEN: Among them were his son, Neil Bush, and his wife, Maria; his best friend, former secretary of state James Baker and his grandson, Pierce Bush. His son and grandsons spoke with reporters shortly after Mr. Bush died.

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NEIL BUSH, SON OF BUSH 41: His sense of service with humility, giving credit to others, lifting others by looking for the best in others, those real character values that are so deeply embodied in him are what I will carry forward with me, Pierce will carry, all the grandkids and the siblings of George H.W. Bush.

And I think many Americans have been influenced by his positive example. So I'm not mourning. I'm celebrating a life so beautifully well lived.

PIERCE BUSH, GRANDSON OF BUSH 41: He had a heart for lifting up others. Always had an ability to put himself in the other guy's shoes to an extent that I wish more humans could do because I think the world would be a much better place.

So I'll remember so many things about my grandfather but most of all I'll remember him as the world's greatest grandfather.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: That was sweet that they came out and talked with people.

As the end drew near, former President Bush was increasingly weak. He had a form of Parkinson's disease and congestive heart failure.

HOWELL: We've learned of his last words to his son, the former President of the United States, George W. Bush. Our special correspondent Jamie Gangel has this report.

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JAMIE GANGEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've learned a lot about the final days and the final moments of former President Bush's life. We've been told that, in his final hours, he was surrounded by his family: his son, Neil Bush; his grandson, Pierce Bush and his best friend, James Baker.

But we've been told that his final words were actually over the phone. There was a speaker phone in the room and he was speaking to his son, former president George W. Bush, who we call 43.

And his son said to him, "Dad, you've been a wonderful father."

And President Bush Sr. responded, "I love you, too."

And those were his final words before he passed.

The story is also very poignant because there is endless fascination about the relationship between these two men. Each one of them used to say to me, Jamie, don't ask about our relationship. We're not into psychobabble.

But the fact of the matter is they were very close. And we recently spoke to former president George W. Bush about their relationship.

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GANGEL: Give me some words to describe your father.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Humble, driven, competitive, willing to listen to the other person, he was a great listener, thoughtful and a person who cared deeply about others who hurt.

One of the more very dramatic words for me came on September 14th at the National Cathedral. I was very fearful of bursting out in tears and the country didn't need to see a weeping president. Finished the speech and went back to the pew and sat down. And I felt his hand reach --

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BUSH 43: -- across Laura and grab my arm. It was just a small gesture but it meant a lot to me. It was a very sweet moment of fatherly love.

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GANGEL: We know that President George W. Bush, the son, in fact, will be one of the eulogists this Wednesday at that same place in the National Cathedral. The Bush men are known to be emotional, that they cry easily.

And no question, when he is memorializing and celebrating his father's life on Wednesday, it's going to be a very emotional speech -- Jamie Gangel, CNN, Washington, D.C.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ALLEN: Let's bring in presidential historian Mike Purdy now from Seattle, Washington.

It's good to have you with us, Mr. Purdy. Thank you for joining us.

MIKE PURDY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thank you. Good to be here.

ALLEN: I believe you said politics did not come natural for President Bush. But he pulled it off, didn't he?

What did he have that helped him succeed?

PURDY: He pulled it off. He was at the right place at the right time many times. He was helped by his patrician upbringing. His father was a U.S. senator from Connecticut. And Bush just seemed to rise at the right point, at the right time.

But what he lacked is what he called the vision thing. He was known for his being adept at foreign policy but less so at domestic policy, which is one of the things that probably sank his re-election hopes.

He was seen as out of touch with the common people. There's the classic debate in 1992, where he's asked, what's the impact of the recession on you personally?

And he was very defensive and gave a non-answer; whereas, Bill Clinton was really empathizing with the questioner.

ALLEN: Yes, I remember during his presidency -- I was anchoring at CNN back then. We didn't see him that much on the domestic front. But then again he rose to the occasion internationally.

We certainly know his achievements there, with the reunification of Germany and taking back Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. He was a true Republican but he governed in the era of compromise and collaboration, didn't he?

He personally pulled together the coalition for the Gulf War.

PURDY: He certainly did. He was a great collaborator, a consensus builder. He lived in an era where there was more civility in government. And he saw government as service. He devoted so much of his life, so many of his years to service.

It's very different today, of course, isn't it, where civility and compromise and consensus are kind of dirty words. They're not used. It's a very polarized world we live in today. So Bush in some ways is kind of one of the last of these statesmen who is able to develop these coalitions.

ALLEN: Yes. You've got to wonder if the Republican Party can ever find another person kind of like George Bush. You would think maybe we could get there. I want to ask you what do you make of the friendship that emerged between Democrat Bill Clinton and Mr. Bush and what lessons can we learn today from that era, Mr. Bush's civility and his decency as well?

PURDY: Right. I think your word decency is what I would use to characterize Bush most, that he had a basic common sense of decency. And I think it's a very heartwarming story of Bush and Bill Clinton's reconciliation.

And actually more than reconciliation, a very deep friendship that developed between them after their presidencies. And this comes after a very bitter 1992 campaign, where Bush called Clinton a bozo and it was not a good campaign.

Sometimes in the heat of politics, people say things that maybe they don't mean to say but I think it shows that this reconciliation between Clinton and Bush, that we can work together, we can work together across political ideologies.

ALLEN: Well, as a presidential historian, I know you have a book coming out. It's titled, "Fathead: 101 insults by the Presidents about the Presidents."

There are that many insults out there. So I think that President Bush might have had something negative to say about the current president. He not only called Clinton a bozo but talk to us about the insults between presidents. PURDY: Yes. So there's actually more than 101, I'm just keeping the book to 101. Maybe there will be another book coming out with more. But Bush's opinion of the current president was not good. He called --

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PURDY: -- President Trump a blowhard and, in fact, you've got Bush, who was the former Republican Party chair, a Republican through and through his whole political life. And yet, in 2016, he did not vote for Republican Donald Trump; he voted for the Democrat, Hillary Clinton.

But we've seen insults between presidents throughout our history. Donald Trump did not invent the art of the political insult. But he has certainly brought it to a much higher, more vitriolic level than we've ever seen before.

You can look at some between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were certainly not good. William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 campaign were pretty vitriolic. The title for my book, "Fathead," comes from the fact that that is what Theodore Roosevelt accused Taft of being, in addition to saying he had the brains of a guinea pig.

ALLEN: That's good one. I'll look forward to that book. That's kind of the era we are in right now, insults. And that's why it's rewarding to talk about Mr. Bush and the kind of person he was. And we appreciate so much you joining us and sharing your thoughts with us, Mike Purdy from seattle, thank you, Mike.

PURDY: My pleasure.

H.W. That's interesting, Natalie. The insults, they went back and forth. At the same time, you found these presidents had a relationship beyond the rhetoric. And it's definitely something that is nice to see.

As we just heard, George H.W. Bush had a special relationship with his successor, former president Bill Clinton. We look at how they went from bitter rivals to best friends.

ALLEN: Also ahead here, the presidents of the U.S. and China strike a deal over dinner to put their trade war on hold. We'll talk about that as we push on.

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ALLEN: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Other news we're following today, the U.S. says it will delay hiking tariffs on Chinese goods -- at least for now. That's what came out of a two-hour dinner between U.S. president Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

China agreed to buy more U.S. goods while both sides work toward a comprehensive trade deal over the next 90 days.

HOWELL: Also hearing from the Russian president. Vladimir Putin saying that he and Mr. Trump talked briefly on the sidelines of the G20 even though Mr. Trump had canceled that formal meeting earlier. He said they discussed the recent confrontation between Ukrainian ships and the Russian navy.

So some big issues discussed and we are following both angles this hour, CNN's Steven Jiang live in Beijing and our Matthew Chance, live in the Russian Capitol of Moscow.

Steven, let's start with you on the progress that seems to have been made between these leaders on tariffs. Now, rather than more tariffs, it seems they're putting tariffs on ice.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: That's right, George, but it's a pause in escalation, not in the trade war. Remember, the existing tariffs from both countries on billions of dollars of imports from each other, they're still very much in place.

Now they say the devil is in the details. The one detail a lot of people will be focusing on in the coming months is that 90-day negotiating period you just mentioned because these talks will focus on the core demands from Mr. Trump; that is, China needs to change its economy structurally and stop its unfair trade practices against the U.S.

That means China needs not only to buy more from the U.S. but also to stop stealing U.S. intellectual property and stop subsidizing its companies and industries. These are the points long resisted by Mr. Xi and its government because they view this as a strategic move by the U.S. to stop the global rise of China.

So at this juncture, it's very still difficult to evision a mutually agreeable permanent solution to this issue, given how far apart both sides remain. But Mr. Trump wants the market to rally and Mr. Xi is said to be under mounting pressure domestically because of the slowing economy here.

And some would also argue he's probably just buying time. But no matter the reasons, George, at least in the short run, this temporary deal will probably make a lot of people breathe a sigh of relief, not only investors but also American farmers, Chinese manufacturers as well as consumers around the world -- George.

HOWELL: All right, certainly it is a change from what we've seen before. Steven, thank you.

Now our colleague, Matthew Chance.

Matthew, the president said he canceled his official meeting with the Russian president, as he said, because of what's happening in Ukraine. But we do understand through Mr. Putin that Mr. Putin made his position known to President Trump. So they did speak. Again, we're hearing from the Russian president.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. There was always going to be, despite the fact that President Trump canceled the planned twohour head-to-head meeting between him and President Putin of Russia, there was always going to be impromptu opportunities at this gathering of world leaders in Buenos Aires, where Presidents Trump and Putin would come into contact with each other and exchange remarks.

There was some disappointment expressed by the Kremlin initially when they saw this tweet, extraordinarily from Donald Trump, saying that that meeting had been canceled because of the naval confrontation in Ukraine, and initially brushed it off.

They then issued a statement that the fact that they are not sitting down to discuss these important issues between the two countries could lead to more tensions around the world.

But there was an opportunity, we're told now, by the Kremlin, for these two leaders to exchange words. Take a listen to what Vladimir Putin said was discussed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Of course, we were there. We talked to each other. I had a brief chat talk with President Trump and I answered his questions about the Black Sea incident.

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PUTIN (through translator): He has his position on that and I have mine. And we didn't change those positions. But I informed him about how we view the incident. I think it's a pity we didn't succeed in having a full-fledged meeting because I think the time is ripe.

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CHANCE: Well, the Russians have also said, look, we still are keen for a full-fledged meeting moving forward. They're still expecting to have a head-to-head meeting at some point in the future.

One of the other issues that wasn't discussed and may well be the real reason for this cancellation is the fact that Trump's business dealings in Russia have once again fallen under the spotlight with revelations from his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, that actually negotiations to build a Trump Tower building into Moscow went on much longer, well into the presidential campaign, than had previously been admitted.

So that has added additional pressure on President Trump in terms of this Russia investigation. HOWELL: Though it seems the Russian president controlling the narrative coming out of the G20 and the questions of Russia, Matthew, continue to loom large here in the United States.

Matthew Chance, live for us in Moscow, and Steven Jiang, live for us in Beijing, gentlemen, thank you both for the reporting. We'll keep in touch with you.

ALLEN: Let's talk more about what they did discuss with Scott Lucas. He teaches international politics at the University of Birmingham in England.

Scott, thank you for being with us. Certainly President Trump canceled a news conference because of the death of President Bush. That may be why we're hearing more from the Russians than the Americans right now.

But the big headline, the U.S. and China arriving at a tariff truce or, as Steven just said, maybe a pause in the escalation.

How important was this breakthrough?

SCOTT LUCAS, UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM: It makes for an important headline but it's not an important breakthrough. Let's be very clear here. What both sides wanted was a photo out of the G20 and some type of statement that we weren't going to a full escalation of the trade war.

But if you look at what was agreed, it was not very much. The White House has said on its side that it's going to delay a rise in the tariffs, not a removal of the tariffs, but delaying a rise in the tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on Chinese products. That was due on January 1st.

On its side, China has said, OK, we'll buy more U.S. products but has given no specific amount. And to add to all of this, what the White House has said is, OK, we're going to renew trade negotiations on issues like intellectual property, on the claims that the Chinese have been stealing technology. If we're not happy with those negotiations within 90 days, we're going to go ahead and resume the 25 percent tariff level.

So it is a bit -- and I think your correspondents had it right -- a bit of breathing space right now because these tariffs have affected both sides, especially agriculture in the United States and it was rattling the markets and investors.

So at least for a couple months, we see if the trade talks can go anywhere and we hope that both sides, especially a man on his Twitter feed, can refrain from inflammatory statements.

ALLEN: Yes, and there are negotiations to be had in this story. We'll continue to follow it.

But President Trump, as far as meetings with other leaders, he avoided the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin. We know they talked informally.

In doing so he did not tackle head-on the death of Mr. Khashoggi, the journalist, or Russia's dealings with Ukraine at a certain depth level.

Was that a missed opportunity?

LUCAS: Oh, it's just because Donald Trump was effectively boxed in. Let's be very clear, the Russians have put their statement out today that their priority was now a one-on-one between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. They're a bit irritated it got canceled quickly.

But what they're looking to do is to box Trump, for example, on Ukraine. Now what they have done is not only continued to hold the Ukrainian ships and the sailors that they seized recently. But Vladimir Putin this morning is reportedly saying that a war -- and he did call it a war -- with Ukraine will continue as long as the current government is in Kiev.

And that's sort of, OK, what are you going to do about it?

And remember the other dimension here you referred to and that is that the United States, specifically Donald Trump, has given up any leverage over Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. And that means that pressure for a cease-fire in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is a key player in that conflict, that is gone.

There is one image that will stay with me from this G20 and that is, of course, on the first day, when Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Salman high-fived each other and had effusive smiles.

ALLEN: Right.

LUCAS: If you look very carefully behind them, there's a guy who isn't smiling, staring, going what happened to my two best friends?

That man is Donald Trump.

ALLEN: Yes, I saw the picture. We saw the picture.

Want to talk to you about one thing that is being said, that the president, Mr. Trump, was seen as less disruptive at this G20. His protectionism views maybe not as prominent.

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ALLEN: And that allowed for a final communique, which didn't happen at a meeting with Asian leaders two weeks ago.

How did they achieve that this time?

Did they sidestep some issues getting there?

LUCAS: Well, the big thing is the Americans are now off to the side on climate change. So you had 19 of 20 leaders agreeing on that; whereas the U.S. is outside the shop. Because you had the headline ceremony or attempted ceremony with China and Mexico about the revised NAFTA, you didn't get a break -- you know, a falling apart between allies over that.

Donald Trump was muted for two reasons. One is, there really wasn't any space for him to take the lead at this summit, apart from possibly the talks with China and, secondly, because he's rattled about what's happening back home, which is the Trump-Russia investigation.

ALLEN: Scott Lucas, we always appreciate your insights. Thank you for joining us.

LUCAS: Thank you.

HOWELL: Ahead, more on the two who were political rivals at one time but ended up becoming long-time friends.

ALLEN: Presidents H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton shared something special. We'll have more on their unlikely friendship next.

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HOWELL: Welcome back to viewers here in the United States and around the world as we recognize the life of the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush. His death on Friday at 94 years old marks the end of an era. I'm George Howell.

ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. He was the last president --

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ALLEN: -- to have served in World War II, the oldest living president in U.S. history and the patriarch of an American political dynasty.

HOWELL: He led the United States through tumultuous times, the first Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union. Mr. Bush dedicated his life to public service.

ALLEN: Memorial services begin on Monday, when he lies in state at the Capitol building. On Wednesday, a national day of mourning; family, friends and dignitaries will gather for a state funeral in Washington. Another funeral will be held Thursday in Houston, where Mr. Bush lived.

HOWELL: One of the most complex and remarkable relationships in President Bush's life was his relationship with the former president, Bill Clinton. Despite their political differences, the two developed a strong bond after leaving the White House.

ALLEN: President Clinton wrote an op-ed in "The Washington Post" Saturday, calling his relationship with the man he succeeded one of the great gifts of his life. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has more about it from Houston.

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SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: President George W. Bush often jokes, calling President Bill Clinton his brother from another mother because of their close relationship but also with his father as well.

It was a bitter fight back in 1992 and essentially it was Bush Sr. who called president Clinton at that time during that race a bozo. It was also his son later who would publicly criticize Clinton, saying that he would usher in a new era into the White House, one with integrity; that being a reference to Bill Clinton's scandal and impeachment that actually had haunted him.

And so they were very critical of him. But then something happened, something changed. And that was George W. Bush's victory in 2000, that controversial victory. Just days afterwards, he reached out to President Bill Clinton. The two of them had a lunch, 90 minutes or so, in Washington.

They both ate a bit of humble pie, we are told, and buried the hatchet. And then it just grew from there. One of the key things that happened was he asked and tasked both President Clinton and his father to try to come up with, in February 2005, a relief effort for the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia, killing tens of thousands of people, a massive effort, and whether or not they would be able to raise money as well.

They were able to raise millions and millions of dollars in that effort. This was just after -- shortly after his first term. And then months later is when Katrina hit. That was in late August. And, again, he tasked his father and President Clinton to try to raise private donations to try to help out in that relief effort.

At the time he was undergoing a great deal of criticism for his administration's slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Those two presidents sat down with me at the White House at the time and defended his administration.

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MALVEAUX: There are some people at the New Orleans Convention Center who say that they have been living like animals, no food, no water, no power.

And they are the ones who are saying, where are the buses?

Where are the planes?

Why did it take three days to see a real federal response here?

Mr. Bush, you, whether it's fair or not, had gone through, your administration, some criticism about your handling of Hurricane Andrew.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I sure did. MALVEAUX: Do you believe that this is legitimate?

BUSH 41: Yes, I do. What happened, we were all sighed with -- not legitimate. But I believe that they ought not to be as upset. But I can understand why they are. I believe the administration is doing the right thing. And I believe they did -- or have acted in a timely fashion.

And I understand that people being critical. It happens all the time. And I understand some people wanted to make, you know, a little difficulty, criticizing the president and the team.

But I don't want to sit here and not defend the administration, which, in my view, is taking all the right steps. And they're facing problems that nobody could foresee. Breaking of the levees, the whole dome thing over in New Orleans coming apart. People couldn't foresee that.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that's important to point out because when you -- when you say, well, they should have done this, that or the other thing first, you can look at that problem in isolation and you can say that.

But look at all the other things they had to deal with. I'm telling you, nobody thought this was going to happen like this. What's happened here is they escaped -- New Orleans escaped Katrina but it ran all the water up the Mississippi River and all into Ponchartrain.

Then when it started running out and that levee broke, they had problems they never could have foreseen. So I just think that we need to recognize right now there's a competent effort underway. People are doing the best they can. And I just don't think that it's the time to worry about that. We need to keep people alive and get them back to life, normal life.

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MALVEAUX: President Clinton said it was one of the greatest gifts of his life to work with President George H.W. Bush. They would continue with projects throughout the years. They would often play golf to raise money for various charities as well.

Most recently, what we saw is a tweet from President Bush, a visit from Clinton. This was in June of this year, when he had his own book tour. The two of them smiling, laughing and joking, of course wearing his colorful socks as he's been known to do.

This one, President Clinton on his socks also introducing him to his service dog, Sully. The two of them close to the very end, a very rare, rare example of bipartisanship and simply meeting and developing a friendship that really turned into love -- Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Houston, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Let's get some context now with Lori Cox Han. Lori wrote the book, "A Presidency Upstaged: The Public Leadership of George H.W. Bush," joining us via Skype.

Lori, thank you so much for your time.

LORI COX HAN, AUTHOR: Thanks for having me.

HOWELL: With the passing of this late president, the prevailing narrative is summed up by words like service, humility, mission and duty, these themes that come in sharp contrast to the politics of the day.

But it's also very interesting to look back at those important touchpoints that rounded out Mr. Bush's presidency, as you did in your book. And the main focus was on the style of communication at the time.

HAN: Right. His style was very different than his predecessor, Ronald Reagan. It's not very easy to follow the great communicator into the presidency.

I was also interested in his legacy since he also preceded President Clinton, who was the first Baby Boomer president and was so skillful in using media. I found he was a very substantive in terms of his message and he really did care about the messages that came out of the White House and really cared about the people who would be listening to him and how his words would affect people.

But his style was just so different than Reagan because he was really committed to moving away from the stagecraft of the Reagan years.

HOWELL: I want to talk more about the differences between the president that came before him and the president that came after him.

From your research in creating this book, were there things that surprised you about George H.W. Bush?

HAN: I think one of the most interesting things that I discovered is that they had a very intense communication strategy. I mean, there was a lot of attention and a lot of effort put into this, as has been the case for quite some time, and that they were very concerned with how President Bush was being portrayed in media, really across the country.

And they wanted to shape a very positive image of him but the news industry itself was changing so dramatically during the four years that he was president that it often seemed that he would have been better suited dealing with the news media in the 1940s or 1950s instead of this vastly and changing environment, especially with the new technologies of the Internet and satellite transmissions and everything that was happening during that time period.

HOWELL: It is quite fascinating to put it into context, coming right off the heels of Ronald Reagan but there were breakout moments. When you think back to the campaign of 1988, Mr. Bush remembered for running a very aggressive campaign, unlike anything that had been seen before from Republicans at the time.

But then as president, there were things about his style that you pointed out that seemed to fall short in connecting with voters who elected him.

HAN: Yes. I think one of the things that was probably most frustrating to them, and I certainly found it in my research, is whenever he gave a major address, really up until late 1991 into 1992, a lot of the news media coverage always compared him to Reagan.

So even after he had been president two or three years, there was still this benchmark about how Reagan would give the State of the Union or a major address. And he was always being compared to that, where his style was just so different. He was never going to be that kind of communicator.

And I think the media environment hindered him in being able to develop his own style and be a little bit more comfortable and have people appreciate that more, just because of that long shadow cast by President Reagan.

HOWELL: Again, it is interesting to look at what it meant to come after president Reagan but then following President Reagan and then Bush, the former president, Bill Clinton. His style unlike anything that had been seen as well.

Looking voters directly in the eye, connecting with that personal message that efficiently said I feel your pain. Tell us about the Clinton contrast to President Bush during the campaign and how impactful was that difference --

[04:40:00]

HOWELL: -- in the election?

HAN: Yes. It made a big difference. There are the famous scenes from the debates in the fall of 1992, the one where Bush is seen looking at his watch.

I always say, well, he was president at the time. I presume he had a lot of other important things that he needed to do, not that the debate wasn't important. But between Clinton's ease and comfort with walking into the audience and talking with people or Ross Perot candid, frank comments about things, Bush looked a lot different.

I would just say that the disconnect between what we expect in presidential candidates and then what we expect in governing showed that Bush wasn't the greatest campaigner. But those aren't necessarily the skills that you need to be an effective president.

HOWELL: Lori Cox Han, again, thank you so much for your time.

HAN: Thank you.

ALLEN: And one of the things that George H.W. Bush is remembered for is his cool, calm and collected demeanor.

HOWELL: The former U.S. president also had a lighter side. He wasn't afraid to laugh at himself. On the show "Saturday Night Live" in the U.S., they paid tribute to Mr. Bush and his sense of humor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COLIN JOST, COMEDIAN: President Bush was famously a very warm and gracious man, who always understood the power in being able to laugh at yourself.

DANA CARVEY, COMEDIAN, "GEORGE H.W. BUSH": Thousand points of light still operating, coming in from all those areas.

Not going to do it. Not ga da.

BUSH 41: George Bush here. I'm watching you do your impression of me and I've got to say, it's nothing like me. There's no resemblance. It's bad. It's bad.

CARVEY: Well, I'm sorry, Mr. President. I think it's a fair impression.

BUSH 41: Don't see it.

CARVEY: You don't?

BUSH 41: It's totally exaggerated. It's not me, those crazy hand genstures, pointing thing. I don't do them. And also not ga da, never said it.

In all of my years of government service, I never once said not ga da.

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ALLEN: Cute. Comedian Dana Carvey, who you saw there, lampooning Mr. Bush as he did regularly on "SNL." They've been doing that to presidents for quite a long time.

He released a statement about the former president, saying this, "It was an honor and a privilege to know and spend time with George H.W. Bush for over 25 years. When I think of those times, what I remember most is how hard we would laugh. I will miss my friend."

HOWELL: Now to show you a personal moment, revealing another side of the life of the former president, George H.W. Bush. In 2013, he shaved his head in support of the son of one of his Secret Service agents, 2-year-old Patrick, Patrick who was battling leukemia.

ALLEN: It was a cause dear to the former president's heart. He had lost his daughter, Robin, to leukemia when she was just 3 years old.

HOWELL: We have more ahead on the life and legacy of president George H.W. Bush, like his love for adventure. He even took HLN's Robin Meade up in the air on a skydiving trip. More on that.

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BUSH 41: It was a great, exhilarating feeling. I don't feel a day over 84.

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ALLEN: He's amazing. That's former President Bush in 2009. He had just made a parachute jump to celebrate his 85th birthday.

Who can do that?

That, of course, would not be the last time he went on a skydive.

HOWELL: Just full of energy. Excited to do it. He loved the adventure. He also celebrated his 90th birthday parachuting out of a helicopter in Kennebunkport, Maine. That jump in 2014 was his eighth and final skydive. Over the years he invited others to join him on these birthday jumps.

ALLEN: HLN anchor Robin Meade, took him up on one of these offers on President Bush's 85th birthday, she rode with him on the plane and the two took their turns skydiving. She spoke with our Wolf Blitzer about that experience.

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ROBIN MEADE, HLN ANCHOR: He was so human, compassionate, funny, smart and engaged. You know, even at 85 then. There's all kinds of tape of us jumping and the interviews have been played.

The things that were behind the scenes really stick out in my mind; for example, when it came time to jump, I started to panic because I did the interview beforehand and I was thinking about the questions.

I started to panic on the plane and he saw it and I asked, "Where's the oxygen?"

Somewhere there exists a picture of the two of us together with oxygen masks on so I could get settled down before the jump. He didn't have to do that. He knew how to jump. He'd done it before. But he was so compassionate that you could see that he was not going to make me huff the oxygen alone.

So there we were. Now that day, Wolf, it was rainy. And we were going to jump on a postage size stamp of land. There was a church steeple there in Kennebunkport, a flag pole, all kinds of things going on. And they needed a hole in the weather. We were broadcasting it live. So everything was like about timing.

And he asked the guys, "Hey, guys, I want to show Robin my boat. Could you fly around and tilt the plane so I can show her my boat?"

And I said, "Mr. Bush, I can clearly see the boat," and I could count the engines.

"Mr. Bush, why do you need 900 horsepower?"

He said, "To beat the guy who has 800 horsepower."

It was almost like a no, duh, answer. But it was so -- I think evidence of a man who was competitive, even at the age of 85. He needed the horsepower to beat the guy that had 800. And I just loved that about him because you need to be competitive in nature if you're ever going to run for office. And he still had that. He still had that zing then.

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ALLEN: That's a great reflection, isn't it?

HOWELL: It is.

ALLEN: And Robin took the opportunity during her time with the president to ask him about his legacy. Here it is.

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MEADE: Now that you're 85, are you thinking a little bit more about the L word, legacy.

BUSH 41: I'm thinking about the L word being life, life its own self. But, no, I think, my view on legacy is let the historians figure out what I screwed up and figure out what I got right.

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HOWELL: George H.W. Bush at the age of 94 years old. We'll be right back.

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ALLEN: A look now at some international news making headlines today.

More than 200 people were arrested in Paris Saturday after protests turned violent. France's interior minister said huge crowds of troublemakers turned out during peaceful demonstrations over rising fuel costs in the country.

And a government spokesman said measures are being considered to curb any more violence, including possibly imposing a state of emergency. For weeks, demonstrators have demanded lower gas prices and economic reforms. They call themselves Yellow Vests for the reflective gear motorists are required to keep in their car.

HOWELL: In the nation of Mexico, there is a new leader at the helm. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has officially been sworn in as the nation's new president. He took the oath of office on Saturday. He becomes Mexico's first leftist leader in decades. The former mayor of Mexico City vowed to reform the nation by fighting corruption, by fighting crime and poverty.

ALLEN: U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo is accusing Iran of testing a medium-range ballistic missile. He says the test violates a U.N. Security Council resolution, which bans Iran from engaging in any activity related to ballistic missiles capable --

[04:55:00]

ALLEN: -- of delivering nuclear weapons. But reports say Iran denies its test violates U.N. resolutions and calls the test "defensive."

HOWELL: And here in the United States and around the world remembering the life of the late president George H.W. Bush. We're getting more information about memorial services to come.

ALLEN: Here's how it will go. Starting on Monday, the public will be able to pay respects for three days as his body lies in state at the Capitol building there in Washington.

HOWELL: On Wednesday, a national day of mourning. Family, friends, dignitaries alike all coming together for a state funeral. President Trump and his wife will attend.

ALLEN: Another funeral service will be held Thursday in Houston, where the former president lived, his beloved Houston. His final resting place will be the George H.W. Bush presidential library beside his wife, Barbara.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOWELL: And I'm George Howell. Thank you for being with us. Again, we continue to remember the life of the former president, George H.W. Bush, here on CNN. For viewers in the U.S. and around the world, "NEW DAY" is next. Thank you for being with us.