Category Archives: Bush Family

Former Lt. Gov. John Hager Honored by Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership

Photo courtesy of Del. Richard Anderson.

Former Lieutenant Governor John Hager. Photo courtesy of UVa Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

The University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership dedicated its Spring Gala earlier this month to honoring former Lieutenant Governor John Hager for his services to Sorensen and to the Commonwealth. The Gala, an annual fundraiser dinner held in Richmond that brought in Sorensen alumni and friends, also included a silent auction and a jazz band.

John Hager, who has worked closely with Sorensen and is the immediate past Chairman of the Sorensen Institute Statewide Advisory Board, is a pillar in the ranks of Virginia Republicans and a supporter of the party for decades who served as Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth from 1998-2002 during Governor Jim Gilmore’s administration.  Throughout the years, John Hager was Director of Homeland Security for Virginia, Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education, Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, and served on numerous other boards and organizations. He also served as Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services from 2004-07, nominated by President George W. Bush in the years before Hager’s son, Henry, met and married the president’s daughter, Jenna, in 2008.

During the program that included remarks from notable leaders, the Lieutenant Governor was presented with an award that was inscribed with the Sorensen Institute logo and the following words:

John H. Hager

In recognition

of extraordinary service to the

Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership

and to the Commonwealth of Virginia

April 3, 2017

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George W. Bush To Attend Ed Gillespie Fundraiser

Ed Gillespie will have help on his gubernatorial campaign when a fundraiser to be held this weekend in Texas will be attended by his old boss, former President George W. Bush.

Gillespie, who was the state chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia in 2006, left to serve as the president’s top aide toward the end of the Bush administration. Gillespie also served as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

CNN reported:

“Ed will travel to Dallas this week to raise money for his campaign. He’s proud to have the support of President Bush and conservative leaders from across the commonwealth and the country,” said Abbi Sigler, a Gillespie spokeswoman. “This is a crucial campaign for Virginia Republicans, and Ed will work tirelessly to ensure we have the resources necessary to defeat Ralph Northam or Tom Perriello in November, and bring conservative leadership back to Richmond.”

The latest polls show Gillespie 25 points ahead of his nearest competitor, and ahead of both Democratic candidates in a hypothetical head-to-head contest.

Here are the numbers:

Head to Head Match ups:

  • Gillespie 40, Northam 39
  • Gillespie 39, Perriello 39
  • Northam 41, Stewart 33
  • Perriello 40, Stewart 34
  • Northam 40, Wagner 34
  • Perriello 38, Wagner 35

Among Independents:

  • Gillespie 40, Northam 30
  • Gillespie 40, Perriello 30

The Republican Primary is June 13 when Gillespie will be on the ballot with Corey Stewart and Frank Wagner. The winner will go on to compete in the general election against either Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, or former Congressman Tom Perriello.

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George W. Bush Addresses Media, Travel Ban, Russia on ‘Today Show’


In 2006, after 10 minutes of hilarious self-deprecating humor, President George W. Bush ended his remarks at the White House Correspondents Dinner by thanking his side-kick, comedian Steve Bridges, and the dinner attendees with these words: “I want to thank Steve for being part of this fun evening. As most of my predecessors have known, it’s really important to be able to laugh in this job, and I thank you for giving us the chance to laugh with you tonight.”

“It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves.” -President George W. Bush (February 27, 2017)

Former President George W. Bush sat down with Matt Lauer on the “Today Show” on Monday, and answered some tough questions head-on. For a president who stays in the background and refuses to be critical of current or past presidents, this time he was frankly honest as he responded to issues currently plaguing the Donald Trump administration.

Even as Trump’s war on the media continues and even ramps up, the video above reminds of the self-deprecating humor of George W. Bush during his years in the White House. As he noted in the video, “As most of my predecessors have known, it’s really important to be able to laugh in this job, and I thank you for giving us the chance to laugh with you tonight.” This was after he had been excoriated by the press and Democrats for six years; yet, he did not stay away from the correspondents’ annual dinner or stand them up. He played along, and was hilarious while doing so.

Here, in a nut shell, are the subjects touched on with Matt Lauer, as compiled by my journalist sister.

On the questions of RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE in the presidential election last year and Trump team contacts:
“I think we all need answers … I’m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered.”

On the TRAVEL BAN:
“I think it’s very important for all of us to recognize one of our great strengths is for people to be able to worship the way they want to or to not worship at all. A bedrock of our freedom is the right to worship freely.

“I understood right off the bat that this was an ideological conflict and people who murder the innocent are not religious people — they want to advance an ideology and we have faced those kinds of ideologues in the past.

“I am for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and upholds the law.”

On Trump attacks on the FREE PRESS:
“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We need an independent media to hold people like me to account… Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse power, whether it be here or elsewhere… It’s kind of hard to tell others to have an independent free press when we’re not willing to have one ourselves.”

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Jenna Bush Hager Tweets Her Dad’s 2001 ‘Islam Is Peace’ Remarks

Pledging his support, President George W. Bush talks via telephone Thursday, Sept. 13, 2001, to New York Gov. George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.  Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

In remarks that lasted a total of seven minutes, President George W. Bush calmed an uneasy nation and the world just six days after the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11. It was September 17, 2001, and he was at the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C.

In the days following the worst attacks the U.S. had ever experienced on American soil, as the nation mourned the deaths of 3,000 innocent victims, the president knew he had to prevent wide-spread panic. Not far from the White House, he delivered his message, reaching out to the Muslim population as well as America and the global community, with a message of tolerance.

“The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,” he told those in attendance. “That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.”

He continued, “America counts millions of Muslims amongst our citizens, and Muslims make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country.  Muslims are doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads.  And they need to be treated with respect. In our anger and emotion, our fellow Americans must treat each other with respect.”
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Former First Couple Barbara, George H.W. Bush Hospitalized

030906-N-2383B-039 Newport News, Va. (Aug. 26, 2003) -- President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush share applause with Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), as they watch the Navy's parachute team "The Leapfrogs" perform during a keel laying ceremony honoring the building of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). This will be the 10th and final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier as it undergoes the first of four ceremonial traditions that will happen throughout the life of the warship. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Johnny Bivera. (RELEASED).


Newport News, Va. (Aug. 26, 2003) — President George H.W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush share applause with Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), as they watch the Navy’s parachute team “The Leapfrogs” perform during a keel laying ceremony honoring the building of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). This will be the 10th and final Nimitz-class aircraft carrier as it undergoes the first of four ceremonial traditions that will happen throughout the life of the warship. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer’s Mate Johnny Bivera. (RELEASED).

Sad news came from Houston Wednesday morning with the report that former President George H.W. Bush, 92, had been hospitalized after trouble breathing as a result of pneumonia.

By mid-day he had been moved to intensive care, and his wife, former First Lady Barbara Bush, had also been hospitalized as a precaution after illness:

The 41st president was placed in the ICU to address “an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia,” McGrath said. He later told The Associated Press that doctors were happy with how the procedure went.

… Barbara Bush, who is 91, had not been feeling well for a couple of weeks, “and it finally just got to the point this morning where she said she wanted to take it out of committee and have the experts check it out.”

The Bushes recently celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary, making them the longest married presidential couple in history:

The former president and first lady celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary on Friday. After a long-distance courtship, the two wed on Jan. 6, 1945. The lovebirds met at a dance in 1941 when George Bush was 16 years old and Barbara was home from boarding school during a holiday break. They were engaged right before Bush was shipped overseas as a naval pilot during World War II and married in Rye, N.Y.

John and Abigail Adams were married 54 years, the second longest of presidential couples. George H.W. served as President Ronald Reagan’s vice president for eight years before becoming president from 1989-1993. Thoughts and prayers go up to the former president and first lady.

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If Jeb were the nominee

Jeb BushAs I listened to Donald Trump use ISIS as his safe space every time he didn’t know the answer to a question during Sunday’s presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, it reminded of one of the original seventeen candidates, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and his deep and intense knowledge of policy plus his boots-on-the-ground experience from eight years serving the citizens of Florida.

If Jeb had been our nominee, we would not have had the just-released audio tape with Trump making lewd comments directed against women in the most crude of ways. We would have a man who would have known policy to the nth degree in Sunday’s debate, and would have been able to meet Hillary eye-to-eye … and rise above. He would not be facing lawsuits, possibly more damaging tapes in the remaining four weeks until election day, nor the revolt of fellow Republican leaders calling for him to step down. Jeb as a lifelong Republican would not be an embarrassment to the GOP.

The civility is very much missed. The respect is very much missed as is the truthfulness and honesty.

Will we ever again have a respectable candidate to represent the Republican Party?

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

 

George W., Laura Bush, Barack Obama Speak at African American Museum Dedication

It’s called civility.
The picture of “the hug” between President Bush and First Lady Michelle Obama
has gone viral around the world.

In 2003, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Senator Sam Brownback (R-Ks.) to create a National African American Museum of History and Culture was sent to President George W. Bush’s desk in the White House. The president insisted the museum should be located on the National Mall.

Thirteen years later President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush, who worked with the museum, were speakers at the dedication and opening ceremony along with the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama.

From the Bush Center, here are the remarks by Mrs. Laura Bush and former President George W. Bush at Saturday’s dedication of the National African American Museum of History.

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Jeb Bush Makes Cameo Appearance With Jimmy Kimmel at Emmys

Jeb Bush made a surprise cameo appearance at Sunday night’s Emmy awards. In the opening minutes of the show, he and host Jimmy Kimmel had a hilarious exchange with Jeb as the Uber limousine driver. Stephanie Merry with the Washington Post was impressed:

Kimmel tried to get into the presidential limo with “Veep’s” Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). She declined, but her chauffeur offered to let him sit up front. And the driver was none other than Jeb Bush. “I’m between jobs,” he explained. He was even wearing a uniform, topped off with a little [chauffeur] hat.

His comic timing was surprisingly impressive as he delivered a few choice lines.

“Are you nominated?” Bush asked Kimmel, and the late-night host replied yes. “Wow, what’s that like?” Bush asked.

Bush then asked whether Kimmel thought he could win, but Kimmel wasn’t so sure.

“If you run a positive campaign, the voters will ultimately make the right choice,” Bush said. Kimmel seemed heartened until Bush said, “Jimmy, that was a joke,” then threw him out of the limo.

Pumping his fist in the air, Bush exclaimed, “Jeb exclamation point!” and peeled out, showing that well-known self-deprecating Bush family humor. As one commenter noted, “Restoring my faith in the political process, one zinger at a time.”

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

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9/11 Memories, 15 Septembers Later

American flag 2

American flags in front of our house every 9/11. We will never forget.

When the White House was evacuated on that fateful day in 2001, my sister, part of President George W. Bush’s administration, was among those working at the White House. Instructed by Secret Service to evacuate and then to flee as fast as possible from the White House, women removed their heels as staffers in the White House and Old Executive Office Building ran for their lives, fully aware that United Flight 93 was approaching the nation’s capital. My sister has barely talked about that day … the rawness is still real … but I am forever grateful to the heroes of Flight 93 who prevented a tragedy at the Capitol or White House.

I will never forget September 11, 2001 … and I don’t want to forget. Fifteen Septembers have passed, and I am still easily overcome with emotion.

That week my husband and I were vacationing in Colonial Williamsburg with our two teenage children. The morning of September 11 we had just arrived in the Colonial area, freshly-purchased annual passes in hand, when a Colonial interpreter told us of the World Trade Center attacks. I immediately quickly walked off to the side to call my mom in Richmond to see if she had heard from my sister in D.C. Amazingly, perhaps because her Austin cell phone was still routing through Texas, my sister was able to call and reassure our mom that she was okay even as tens of thousands of others in Washington encountered jammed phone lines.

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David French Believes It’s Time for Republicans to Honor George W. Bush

George W. Bush 40 9-11 airplane pic
President George W. Bush on Air Force One. September 11, 2001.

So let’s go ahead and have a conversation about this white elephant in the room that David French at National Review brought to light on Thursday when he wrote (see The Republican Party Needs to Honor GWB):

Watching the adulation heaped on Barack Obama last night, I was reminded of the shameful way the GOP — and the conservative movement more broadly — has treated George W. Bush. The last Republican to win a national election has become an object of scorn and mockery in many quarters of the Republican world.

Watching the Democratic convention this week, something interesting jumped out at me. Democrats had embraced 9/11 and emphasized how it drew Americans together in 2001. Thursday evening New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state witnessed so many deaths on that fateful day, recalled the terrorist attacks and noted that we did not see ourselves as black, brown, or white that day, but rather we were red, white, and blue. We cried together, he said, mourned together, and then we rebuilt together. We were Americans.

Republican President George W. Bush led that effort, calming a fearful nation and pulling together a coalition of nations to fight the war over there, not here on the homeland. During this campaign, however, he was blamed for 9/11 by the 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

French continued:

It’s almost comical to watch many of the same people who derided Bush as a “big-government Republican” wrap both their arms around a bigger-government populist. It’s sad to see critics who attacked Bush’s anti-terror strategy fail to recognize that it did, indeed, keep us safe after 9/11. His strategy — taking the fight straight to the enemy — rocked terrorists on their heels so much that only three Americans lost their lives to domestic terror attacks during the rest of Bush’s two terms. If you’d told virtually anyone in the days after 9/11 that the next seven-plus years would be almost entirely peaceful here at home, they would have laughed at your optimism. We felt that the next blow would land at literally any moment.

… By the time he left office, al Qaeda was a shell of its former self, and the Iraq war was largely won. By the time he left office, he’d taken all the necessary measures to prevent true financial catastrophe. And, by the way, he not only had a better record at judicial nominations than either his father or President Reagan, he handled an enormous amount of incoming hate and vitriol with class and dignity. Is he not worth respecting? Is he not worth honoring? I sincerely hope that the GOP of 2020 is a more decent organization than it is today, and it gives Bush the kind of moment the Democrats gave Obama. He deserves our applause.

Indeed. It’s been 16 years since the tragedy of 9/11. It’s time to properly honor President George W. Bush for his leadership.

“Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.”
–George W. Bush (address to the nation, September 11, 2001)

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Dallas police slayings: The eloquence and empathy of George W. Bush

Chesterfield PDIn the morning hours after the tragic Dallas Police Department shootings on Thursday night when five police officers were killed and seven others were injured, former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush released a statement that was profane in its grief, honest in its feelings, and horrified at what had occurred in the Texas city.

The president wrote on his Facebook page:

Laura W. Bush and I are heartbroken by the heinous acts of violence in our city last night. Murdering the innocent is always evil, never more so than when the lives taken belong to those who protect our families and communities.

“Laura and I have seen firsthand the dedication, professionalism, and courage of the Dallas Police Department. Their commitment to safety and justice makes us proud to call Dallas home. Our hearts go out to the families of the fallen. We pray for the wounded officers to recover fully and quickly. We commend Mayor Rawlings, Chief Brown, and all our city’s leaders and public servants who continue to organize an effective response to this tragedy. And we join our fellow citizens in saluting the fine law enforcement officers in Dallas and across the country who put their own lives on the line to keep all lives safe.”

Succinct. Heart-felt. Achingly honest. This, my friends, is leadership.

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Longing for the days of civil political discourse

George H.W. Bush 1

In these days when there is so much animosity and vitriol in politics, I am reminded of a story told about former Republican President George H.W. Bush — the dad, #41 — and former Democratic President Lyndon Johnson:

The Bush and Johnson families share a long history and friendship, beginning in the 1950s when Lyndon Johnson served in the U. S. Senate with Prescott Bush, George H. W. Bush’s father. Although from different political parties, the two men enjoyed a productive working relationship steeped in mutual respect. In a letter to Prescott Bush, George H. W. Bush wrote about first meeting Johnson in Midland, Texas, in 1953. When Senator Johnson complimented his father, Bush replied that he was glad to hear such praise from a staunch Democrat. Johnson responded, “Your father and I don’t like to be thought of as Republican or Democrat, rather as good Americans!”

Bush embraced the spirit of bipartisanship when he was elected to Congress as the first Republican representing the Houston area. Although it hurt him politically, he voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which was passed by President Johnson. In a speech in Houston, shortly after he cast the vote, Bush explained the motivation behind his decision. “I voted…because of a feeling deep down in my heart that this was the right thing for me to do. That this was the right thing for America.”

A year later, when President Johnson’s term ended, Congressman Bush left the Inaugural festivities for Johnson’s successor, Richard Nixon, to bid farewell to the former President and First Lady at Andrews Air Force Base among a crowd of Democrats. Mrs. Johnson later recalled, “I remember the warm glow Lyndon and I felt when we learned that a young Republican Congressman, George Bush, had been in that assemblage, rather than at the Inaugural activities of the President of his own party.”

In that same spirit, when President Bush was defeated by Bill Clinton in 1992, Bush smoothed the transition for the new president. Famous for his hand-written notes and letters, he left a letter on the new president’s desk in the Oval Office welcoming him to the White House. That letter, seen above, is now making the rounds on the internet.

Civility. May it some day finds its way back into the political discourse.

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Purple fingers give hope, symbolic as ‘I Voted’ stickers

Purple finger

The purple-stained finger is the Afghanistan equivalent to Americans’ “I Voted” stickers on election day with a huge difference: Afghans take their lives in their hands as they defy the Taliban’s threats of election day violence.

Melissa Charbonneau wrote at the George W. Bush Presidential Center blog:

Millions of Afghans witnessed a colorful display of democracy in action as voters flocked to the polls to vote in historic presidential elections. Twitter and Facebook are brimming with images of Afghan women emerging from polling centers cloaked in blue burqas, some wearing headscarves, others carrying  toddlers – but all holding up fingers stained with purple election ink, a gesture of defiance against Taliban intimidation and a return to past oppression.

In a country where women are trying to find their place and are outnumbered 2-to-1 by male voters, a determined lot braved Taliban threats to not only vote in Saturday’s elections but also to proudly show off their purple ink-stained fingers:

Millions of Afghans witnessed a colorful display of democracy in action Saturday as voters flocked to the polls to vote in historic presidential elections. Twitter and Facebook are brimming with images of Afghan women emerging from polling centers cloaked in blue burqas, some wearing headscarves, others carrying toddlers – but all holding up fingers stained with purple election ink, a gesture of defiance against Taliban intimidation and a return to past oppression.

Read more about the women who have been oppressed under Taliban rule but who bravely stepped out to vote for the future of Afghanistan and young women in that country.

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Former President George H.W. Bush celebrates 92nd birthday

George W. Bush 1 with his dad

Happy 92nd birthday to former President George H. W. Bush! World War II hero, congressman, U.S. Ambassador to U.N., RNC Chairman, U.S. Ambassador to China, Director of the CIA, Vice President of U.S., POTUS. Husband to Barbara. Dad of President George W. Bush and Governor Jeb Bush. Gentleman.

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“If you can’t say anything nice …”

George W. Bush 47 with GHW BushWe all heard it while growing up: “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”

The news Wednesday that former President George H.W. Bush and his son, former President George W. Bush, would not endorse in the 2016 presidential election nor be actively involved is their choice. Endorsements are earned:

For the first time since his own presidency, George H.W. Bush is planning to stay silent in the race for the Oval Office — and the younger former president Bush plans to stay silent as well.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush entered the 2016 presidential race in December 2015 with $100 million dollars to run for the Republican nomination. Dynamics eventually saw him leave the race but not before he was verbally bashed at every opportunity by an unpresidential-acting Donald Trump. Staunts like that are not forgotten.

So if you can’t say something nice … hard to do sometimes … but #41 and #43 have chosen to stay out of the mix and not participate in the national convention in Cleveland. With a link to the article, I opined on Facebook, “Hands down my favorite national convention was 2000 in Philly when George W was nominated — my mom and sisters were there, too — followed by 2008 (McCain) in Minneapolis-St. Paul when daughter Katy was with me. Like W, I’m happy to stay out of the fray this year.”

Buckle your seatbelts … it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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