George Bush On Fox News' 'Hannity': Tea Party Shows 'Democracy Working,' Jeb Bush Should Run In 2012
Fox News host Sean Hannity sat down with former President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, for an hour-long interview set to air tonight at 9PM ET.
Key excerpts from the interview are below:
On the rise of the Tea Party movement:
"I see democracy working. People are expressing a level of frustration or concern and they're getting involved in the process. And the truth of the matter is democracy works in America. When Senator Brown wins, the attitude began to change. People showed up and voted. And people are concerned enough to take to the streets. And to me to watch people participating in the democratic system is good. It's a good thing for the country. It inspires me to know that our democracy still functions. What would be terrible is if people were frustrated and they didn't do anything."
On whether he thinks his brother Jeb will ever be President:
"I wish he would. He has to run first. And he has made it clear he is not running in 2012. And when the man says, 'I'm not running,' he means it. I wish he would run.
On being a wartime President:
"I was, sadly. And I wouldn't wish that on any president. You know, the -- the toughest decision a president makes is to send you know some -- somebody's boy into combat, or somebody's daughter into combat. And that the consequences of combat can be awfully devastating."
On being the President during unexpected moments like 9/11:
"Now, it's interesting that the presidency often turns out to be something you didn't expect. And I bet that's probably the case for all presidents. It's the unexpected that really helps define whether or not you're capable of leading the country. And in my case the unexpected of course was 9-11 and Katrina to a certain extent, and the financial meltdown."
On how he feels post-Presidency:
"I am at peace. I was honored to serve the country. I gave it my all. I'm not desperate to try to shape a legacy, because I fully understand that there needs to be time for history to be able to analyze--for historians to be able to analyze the decisions I made. I'm a content guy. I've got a great marriage. I've got a lot of friends."
On the media and public scrutinizing the semantics of his speeches:
"Words matter. The modern president is of course every word is analyzed. And sometimes I didn't get my words right. And I never tell these audiences I speak to, you didn't elect me cause I was Shakespeare. And I didn't pretend to be. The truth of the matter is you speak a lot as the president. And of course you're going to say things that when you look back at it, you wish you could put it differently."
On Obama taking shots at him:
"I understand that tactic. It really doesn't bother me. One of the biggest sacrifices for running for President if you are fortunate enough to win is a loss of anonymity. And I know I'll forever be known. On the other hand, staying out of the limelight restores a certain sense of anonymity."
On inviting foreign leaders to his Crawford, Texas ranch during the Presidency:
"I think Prime Minister Koizumi came here. I think Tony Blair came here. I can't remember everybody who came here. But I like to show them this, because it gives them a good feel for the topography. And the truth of the matter is conducting diplomacy on the ranch was easier, because people tended to relax. And if you put a person in an informal environment, you're more likely to be able to get a better feel for how they think. And once you get a feel for how a leader things, and you know what their interests are, and their concerns, then it makes it easier to conduct diplomacy."
On working with former President Clinton:
"He's a fun guy. And we're the same age. And I like him. And we're working the Haiti project together. And you know, Bill's got a good soul. He's not a mean spirited guy. And it's fun to be with him. And it's fun to share insights into the presidency. We don't debate. I'm through with debating. I debated enough."