May 29th, 2009
12:22 PM ET
5 years ago

Bush: White House pressure made my marriage stronger

Former President Bush said Thursday that it is 'much harder to be the son of the president than to be the president.'
Former President Bush said Thursday that it is 'much harder to be the son of the president than to be the president.'

BENTON HARBOR, Michigan (CNN) – Former President George W. Bush said Thursday that if Laura Bush hadn't been first lady, he isn't sure he could have counted on her vote.

"I can promise you that her life dream when she was growing up was not to be first lady of the United States," he told a Michigan audience in one of his first major domestic speeches since leaving the White House. "Frankly, I am not so sure that if we hadn't married she'd have voted for me."

Bush continued: "There's a lot of pressure in the White House as I'm sure you can imagine. Pressure sometimes can make a marriage stronger or weaker. In my case because of her patience and her enthusiasm, it made our marriage a really good marriage."

The pressure of the presidency, he said, weighs most on family members.

"It's much harder to be the son of the president than to be the president. And it's much harder to be the father of the president than to be the president," he said. "And I used to have to admonish him not pay attention to what they were writing on the editorial pages about his son. I had gone through the same agony myself. And so I am confident that the end of the presidency is a great relief because of our strong love."

Something else Bush called a great relief: having a vice president, Dick Cheney, who had no plans to run for the top spot.

"I was pleased to have someone serve as my vice president who was not running for president, because someone who is running for president, at times, will try to distance themselves," said Bush. "If things got tough, [he] could be one of the first person off the ship, and that would be really unpleasant in the White House."

Bush said he wasn't surprised to lose public support for some of the main elements of his national security agenda. "I was frustrated because the stakes were so high in some of the decisions that I had to make. I wasn't surprised that people would forget the feeling of how they felt after September 11. I was grateful that people were moving beyond September 11. As a president you don't want your nation to be so worried about an attack that people don't go about their lives ... the psychology of the nation concerned me. Which then made it harder to get people to listen to you, to some of the decisions I made."

The fact that Americans eventually tuned out media coverage of the risk of terrorism wasn't surprising to him either, he said - he ignored most news coverage himself.

"The truth of the matter is, I never watched the nightly news, because it was predictable, I thought. Nor did I ever pay attention to the editorial pages, good editorials or bad," he said. "I knew what was in the news. When you're president you can get so obsessed with this stuff that I felt it would cloud your vision. The truth of the matter is there is so much attention paid to you, I thought it was important even in the toughest moments to be upbeat and not to be so worried about myself that I couldn't convey a sense of confidence."

He mused on the transition to a far calmer post-presidential existence. "People ask, what is it like? Well, I have never stopped at a traffic light for eight years," he said.

"The neighborhood we live in is nice. You know Laura bought this house sight unseen. At least she saw. I didn't. It was like a faith-based initiative."

Bush will take the stage with another former president, Bill Clinton, tonight in Toronto.


Filed under: George W. Bush • Laura Bush • Popular Posts
soundoff (393 Responses)
  1. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    Holy cow, an article about bush. How long before the hate-filled liberals start posting about him making all sorts of accusations that aren't true and can't be proven?

    May 29, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. phoenix86

    The Bush presidency made America stronger as well. Unfortunately, Obama is rapidly weakening the US both in foreign and domestic matters.

    History will judge Bush much more favorably than Obama.

    May 29, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. rob

    like anyone really cares what this jerk has to say

    May 29, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. AJM

    Grrr! Arrgg! Bush! Rrrrrr! Grawl!

    May 29, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. John

    Every Word this Idiot speaks is a LIE.

    Yesterday he said, "The information we got saved lives".

    What an Idiot, he is.

    Why did he not get information prior to 9/11. So that 9/11 could be prevented.

    WHAT ABOUT THE INFORMATION OF IRAQ's WMDs. This information was falsely created to mislead for obtaining support for war.

    4300 US Troops have died, and this Jerk says, ""The information we got saved lives"".

    Even a 2nd Grader will not buy his story. Bush is misleading us once again.

    May 29, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Susan

    i am not interested to hear what Bush says. he fooled me twice in elections.

    May 29, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Minnesotan

    Well I'm SO glad his marriage is stronger. But it's still a sin that he left the country weaker, and worse off, than when he came in to office. Thanks for all the failed decisions, failed policies, economic catastrophes, rampant corruption, borrow-and-spend waste, cronyism, doubling the national debt, record Pork Barrel Spending, and the steaming pile of manure you left behind, you incompetent fool.

    May 29, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. elliott

    One of the greatest Americans to ever hold office.
    Wish he was back in office.

    Someone please help us in 2012!!!! Anyone!!!! Hopefully someone with some nads.....

    May 29, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Chris

    Thank God this man is not running our country anymore.

    May 29, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. trish

    He shouldn't be so certain that she DID vote for him.

    May 29, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Hari Esq CPA

    Poor George, still an idiot. "He was an idiot before president, he was an idiot during president, and he is an idiot after president" to paraphrase him.

    May 29, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  12. Polar Bears Against Palen

    This lump of slime belongs in prison for war crimes.

    May 29, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. Pierce

    If I spent 25% of my time on vacation I would think my job was easy too.... as he cuts brush in Crawford, do you think he even realizes he's NOT president anymore?

    May 29, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. Bethie in TX

    "You know Laura bought this house sight unseen. At least she saw. I didn't. It was like a faith-based initiative."

    What? If she bought the house "sight unseen", she didn't see it beforehand. Also, the metaphor is inept. Faith may be based on believing on things unseen, but faith-based initiatives should be made with a clear vision of the project. Weird.

    May 29, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. Kevin in Ohio

    Yep, the vitriol from the liberals is coming forth as expected. Ya know, I thought liberals were supposed to be the ones with a "heart". I guess I'm wrong. Nothing but hate from them. No heart. No brains either.

    May 29, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. Texas

    Spoken with TRUE CLASS!!!!!

    May 29, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. bc

    Can anyone follow where his conversations go yet?

    May 29, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  18. Candy West Virginia

    I am amazed how you can live with your guilt.

    May 29, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. Rob

    Idiot liberals is more like it...godless, you "owe me" morons. obama will go down as the worst president in history when its all said and done. you voted for him...so go to hell with him

    May 29, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. JonDie

    Go away. You literally killed much of what was great about our country. In a just world, you will be sitting at the defendent's table in a court of law.

    May 29, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    Teleprompter of the U.S.A. – sorry but it was PROVEN that he lied to us to start a war that caused over 100,000 innocent Iraq lives and over 5,000 USA soldiers. Those are FACTS. If you can live with that then that is your karma.

    May 29, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Joe in Austin

    his personal reflections are more worthwhile than his political excuse-making.

    May 29, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. Ted Tartaglia

    Bush contends that the pressure of the White House made his marriage stronger. What he did not explain was why Laura, a person we assume possesses reasonable intellegence, would marry a drunk. Do you suppose it was because of his family's wealth and power?

    May 29, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Enlightened Voter

    I wouldn't want his Karma nor any of those who believe in what he did.

    May 29, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Mark Lopa

    We're a better country because of your presidency. Thank you, George Bush.

    May 29, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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