sunday and 12:00 a.m. on monday. and you can also watch "after words" on line. go to booktv.org go to booktv.org and click on "after words" in the booktv series and topics listed on the upper right side of the page. >> next on booktv person george w. bush discusses a biography of his father with andy card who served as white house chief of staff for bush 43 and secretary of transportation for president bush 41. this is about 50 minutes. [applause] >> today is a very special day in the life of the george bush presidential library foundation and is special because we gather for the book launch of "41" a portrait of my father fittingly on veterans day. today we have both the author and subject, son and father.
the 43rd in the 41st president of the united states here at the bush library center. this morning will consist of them moderated discussion about "41". our moderator served as deputy chief of staff to the 41st president 11th united states secretary of transportation. he also served as chief of staff to the 43rd president of the united states and most recently as acting dean of the george bush school of government and public service here at texas a&m university. ladies and gentlemen please welcome be honorable andrew card. [applause] >> thank you. ladies and gentlemen the 46th governor of the state of texas and the 43rd president of the united states be honorable george w. bush. [applause]
>> thank you. >> mother. >> thanks mother and dad for being here and thank you all for coming today for this distinguished author series. i don't qualify. anyway i have written a book. at kind of a surprise to people in our country that i can write much less read. [laughter] i will tell you right up front that this is a love story. it's not an objective analysis of president bush.
it's a story about an extraordinary man who in my judgment is the finest one-term president our country has ever had. [applause] and a wide -- anyway my old pal andy card is it going to ask i'm sure difficult questions and i'm proud to be here with fred mcclure and ryan thank you very much for serving. i see we have ambassadors here. thank you for being here and thank you for serving our country as well. >> mr. president it's a thrill to have you on the campus of texas a&m in the bush school and the bush library the bush bcm. this is all exciting for us because believe it or not we have tremendous pride in you and your dad and your entire family and this book that you wrote it's more than a love story. it's a story written about how to fall in love. not only with people but with
public service and the bush goal which is the greatest legacy that your dad left for the future which is a place for the invitation to be a noble public servant is offered, trained and performed so it's great to have you on the cap -- campus of texas a&m. but why did you write this book when you did? >> i wrote it when i did because i wanted dad to be alive. [laughter] to be able to see how much not only i care for him but a lot of people care for him. secondly his presidency in many ways was overshadowed by his predecessor and that's understandable. people were beginning to reassess the presidency of 41 and i want to be a part of that process and i wanted him to know that the process was going to take place. he was a great president and
since the beginning of people understanding that i wrote it because david mccullough's daughter planted the seed. she told me one time at the ranch i wish my dad always wished he could have read a book by john q. adams about his father john adams. i said i can do that. [laughter] and so that is why i wrote it so thank you very much for your interest in it. it's a pretty good read. we have a big print version for some of you. [laughter] >> it's funny you should mention john adams and john quincy adams. your dad was actually born in massachusetts. >> on adams street. >> on adams street named for both of the adams's and your
grandfather had a tremendous influence on your dad but ended up being an influence on you. could you tell me what you think the legacy of love gave to your dad that allowed you to get the legacy? >> is that public service matters. we are blessed to be americans and part of that requires us to serve others. plus if you are lousy golfer, play fast. [laughter] he was a great golfer. dad was a good golfer. i am not a good golfer. at any rate prescott bush a very successful wall street guy ends up being the town moderator. a lot of his buddies were probably drinking martinis and playing gin at the country club. he is working on behalf of others. his service set an example for his children of which i was one.
>> it's funny i remember when your dad was first running for president in 1979, he held a press conference right around when he announced his candidacy. he was in boston. i remember a reporter saying why were you born in milton massachusetts? i was impressed with this response. he said i wanted to be close to my mother. [laughter] >> that's kind of funny because when i was running for governor of texas i kept saying mother why was i born in connecticut? [laughter] >> but in this book you have written about the phenomenally close relationship that your dad had with his mother. >> very close and i tell the story about, so she passed away right after the 92 election.
dad and my sister go to see nanny and they opened up a bible. he was actually reading the bible to her and these letters that he had written to her from the were some. they were very close. she's an angelic person. a very competitive needless to say. it runs heavily in our gene pool, competition. but she is a sweet, sweet lady. i was fortunate to get to know her and dad was really fortunate to get to be raised by her. >> you are fortunate to be raised by as well. >> you don't know andy, you may be stretching it a little bit there. [laughter] i used to say in these campaigns i had my daddy's eyes at my mother's mouth and you are learning why i said that. [laughter]
>> i was touched early in the book you described how your dad wrote a letter to his girlfriend and he said i want you basically to be the mother of my children and what a wonderful children they produce. >> well, i'm glad. that's right. there are letters that dad has written scattered throughout the book. he is a great letter writer and it seems to be a lost art so one of the things this book will do is remind people how important writing letters is. so scattered throughout the book is a series of letters some of which he wrote to mom and some of wood which he wrote to me when i was president. and it mattered. and he was there. it mattered to be able to get these notes from dad or in that in he was president he knew what
the pressures of the job are like in the new moments could be trying and to have them interject some humor and/or a love note made a huge difference during my presidency. i recognize they are selective -- a lot of psychobabble about a relationship. people can't possibly comprehend it and hopefully this book will help you understand better that when you admire somebody is much as all of us admire george h.w. bush and he offers help or comfort it means more than any advice he could possibly give. in the post-presidency and during my presidency i've been asked are you calling him for advice and in the book i make it clear that not really. it shocks people to hear that in one reason why is i said help, knee-jerk bias and he would have
said send your briefers. this is a man who would make presidential decisions. he makes -- he knows you don't make presidential decisions off-the-cuff and attended as we got plenty of decisions off-the-cuff. you need to talk to people who have experience like crocker who will help you make informed decisions that george h.w. bush knew that better than anybody said his great contributions to my presidency was the comfort he provided. and by the way i had to comfort him at times because there worlds got reversed. i was miserable at times when he was president and didn't handle it very well. mother used to call me and say you need to call your dad. and i would say, why? because he just read some editorial and he's upset so i would call and he was taking you believe what they said?
i was a dead to worry about it, it will be fine. so our worlds got reversed and kind of a unique way. this book will bring the life of a presidency from a father-son perspective through a story that only one person could tell. >> this book is a biography of your dad, little bit of a biography of your mother. it's an autobiography a few but it is also a unique story about how to carry burdens, how to deal with failure, how to be humble in success and your parents had a lot of struggle. >> yeah they did. >> that had an impact on you growing up, losing a sister, being involved in the challenges of moving, different jobs and
whatever. can you talk about some of that aspect of the book? >> here's a guy who runs for senator texas twice and loses and runs for president of the united states in the primary against ronald reagan in the state of texas and loses and ends up being president. and all the time being a great father. defeat did not define george bush. there's something greater in life than chalking up political victories are political losses. it taught me and i'm confident it taught jeb that you don't need to fear failure. if you fear failure it will cause you to make decisions that would probably prevent you from living life to the fullest. george bush is a great risk-taker. running for the senate and 64 was risky. no one had heard of the guy. he's running against ralph yarborough. of course there are a lot of graces he can't win like golf. if you don't get enough strokes
he can't win the contest. he couldn't win the race in retrospect. goldwater landslide. nevertheless he ran and here's the thing that fascinates me about dad. a lot of things fascinate me about him but catch this. so he is all worldly. phi beta kappa in two and half years. that part of the gene pool got diluted. [laughter] he is the captain of the yale baseball team that came in second in the nation. he is married with a kid and big-time on campus. his father is wall street and his grandfather is wall street and everybody says wall street. and he moved to odessa. [laughter]
it's an extraordinary person to make that decision and by the way an extraordinary woman to say i'm with you. [applause] so as i say in the book we get out there and dad finds us a place to live. it's a duplex on seventh street with one of the few indoor bathrooms on the street. a bathroom we shared with two ladies of the night. so much for the silver spoon stuff. [laughter] what happens is people develop myths about you. i'm sure there are people that have an image of dad that is not even close to reality. this book will help people understand what he is like.
it's an objective? not at all. not even close. >> there is a pretty objective part about little toy soldiers. tell us about the toy soldiers. >> throughout the book i try to explain how he disciplined me and by the way in contrast to mother one time she caught me in the hedges and washed my mouth out with soap. [laughter] [applause] dad on the other hand i'm playing with these little feeble looking little toy soldiers and he said where did you get those? i didn't have a very good answer because i had stolen them. the next thing i know i'm marching back and he is taking me back and keep in mind i'm six, not 26. [laughter] so we go back to the store and
per his instructions i am to walk in and apologize to the manager. it wasn't simply putting them back in the bowl that i had taken them out of. it was apologizing and burning responsibility. that was it. there was no follow-up, no harsh follow-up you will be confined to your room. none of this. it was like this is what we expect that the way he disciplined was instructed to me as a future father but it also stayed close to him. we tested their patience i can assure you. i can't speak for my brothers and sister had one of my favorite stories that is not in the book which speaks to dad's leadership is the time mother said to me your dad and i would like to take you to dinner. i am 18 years old and it didn't
happen that much. so i'm saying to myself okay, sure let's go. we get there and she can barely contain herself and she said i discovered an ashtray under your bed. you smoke. [laughter] dad looked at her and said, so do you. [laughter] and that was the end of the conversation. [laughter] i mean, very wise. think about that anecdote for a little while. he is a silent guy. >> your dad has had a remarkable experience in life where he has joined the military. on his birthday he goes off to war and the story of your dad writing letters back to barb and
the story of her dad losing a friend and it ended up being the first of many letters that he had to send them that you had to send that you never wish you had to send once let alone thousands of guys. >> you were there and nobody wants to be a wartime president. nobody should hope to want to be wartime a wartime president but i watched this good man be, great commander-in-chief because first and foremost he cared deeply about the troops is served underneath him and their families which is a central if you end up having to be the commander-in-chief. he wrote letters. one of my favorite stories in the book, so jenna asked him on his 90th birthday. you might room for that moment
when he dives out of a helicopter at age 90. an amazing feat and says do you still think about the people with whom you served and he said he thinks about delaney and white all the time. those were the two guys on the airplane who died when they got shot down. it's amazing 70 years later what he thinks about all the time is delaney and white or what i didn't realize until i researched this book is that dad had invited delaney and white service to the oval office when he became president. it was still on his mind. he was still thinking about how to help heal the lens of the sisters that never really got to know their brothers. and that's just one of the difficult aspects of the presidency is to be the comforter in chief and i learned that from the master. >> here we are on veterans day and we pay respect to all of those who did make the sacrifices for us.
i also know the burdens of the presidency are pretty great. you help your dad carry the burdens. how did your dad help you carry the burdens? >> first of all i served as a great example. you never know what it's like to be president until you get in there but i had a sense of what it was like particular on a family. it's not a burden to serve something you love and i love america. it's not a burden. you maybe don't sleep as well as you should at times but it's not a burden. secondly if there were was a worry it was about barb and jenna. i put in the book that when dad decided to run for president one of the things he never worried about is my being able to handle the job. it's a liberating feeling and for me and are the burdens were
how the experience would affect our girls. they were not very happy about the fact that i was president. you have ruined our lives. you can't win. you are not as cool as you think you are. [laughter] i heard it all. but you know i had seen family grow stronger and i knew that would be the case. in terms of dealing with the pressures, he helped a lot by checking in on occasion but i also know when you surround yourself with confident compassionate decent people it helps do the job. your chief of staff was a fine staff. by the way very tough job he had any handled it with grace and people loved andy in the white house. >> that's a good transition to an uncomfortable time.
[applause] on september 11 after a whispered in your ear those fateful words, a second plane hit the second tower and america was under attack and you rose to phenomenal responsibility and you lead decisively with optimism. i remember being on the plane and you are telling us we were going to go back to washington d.c. and i was suggesting that you really didn't want to make that decision at that time. >> i was hot. i made it clear i didn't like your recommendation. >> correct. >> however i took it. >> or remember the fun phone number will constrain you had for your parents and you ended up tracking your parents down and they were in wisconsin or minnesota or something.
>> i said where you? we are terrible. >> not as bad as he says. >> e. either that or denying certain information which case you are terrible. [laughter] let me just say we had trouble making connections and we finally found mother and dad. dad got on the phone it was so comforting because he's an unbelievably thoughtful person. one of his great strengths and the reason he was president because he could think about the other person and how does the other person feel. that is how he was able to be so effective about gorbachev for example. he was very comforting. mother got on the phone and said where are you? she said wisconsin. wired view they are? she said you grounded airplane.
[laughter] man did i need to laugh at that moment. i think andy was in the room when i did that are in a cabin when i did that and it was awesome. it was a moment of levity. one of the things dad taught me is that you have got to laugh at life and i'm convinced that one reason those mom and dad have got such a wonderful sense of humor is because they don't take themselves so seriously. if they are not burdened by doubt that they are able -- i don't know if you remember mother used to have a map that said birds soar because they take themselves so lightly. i think it was a bathroom mat. [laughter] very thoughtful of you anyway. >> i have witnessed or been up
brunt of many of the practical jokes that i learned are really a bush trait. i was surprised to read in your book about a rubber onion. >> yeah, so in middle and there was a guy who went to yale. not a lot of yale graduates in midland in 1948. [laughter] his name is earl craig, formal guy from pennsylvania affectionately known as the earl of craig and peace to love to take his martini and dramatically take the toothpick out and bite the all of and in grand fashion. dad puts a rubber all of on there. [laughter] a very funny man.
>> you inherited the same trait. >> he sent jokes to andy. in the book i put this on. humor really helps. we have a joyful white house. believe it or not in spite of the pressures and they promise that stuff we would laugh and enjoy each other's company a lot. for those of you running organizations are thinking about running an organization would strongly suggest making sure there is a sense of levity where you work. i can't remember what it was but andy comes in and says this is from your father. he said a guy gets arrested first dealing a can of peaches. he and his wife go before the judge in the judge says how many peaches and many peaches in the cam? he says six. he said fine i will sentence you to six months in prison. before he could leave the wife raises his hand, and he stole a can of peas. [laughter]
>> one thing that you said when you were commander in chief that quite frankly surprised me, that was when you said that this was during the early talk of the greatest generation. you didn't want us to talk about the greatest generation as much. he said we shouldn't use those terms. what was your thinking on that? >> refresh my memory. i've i have changed my mind. [laughter] on veterans day in front of world war ii vets of course they were the greatest generation. [laughter] i don't remember that. >> i think you are saying that the greatest generation is also still ahead for that country -- for this country and their servants up every day so we celebrated those who were being great everyday. >> i appreciate that. that's right.
my memory is fading. >> in your book you describe some of the traits of decision-making that you learned from your dad and some of the decisions that you learned because of your dad. do you want to talk about some of the decisions that have to be made? >> in order to lead first and foremost you have to know where you are going to lead. you can't be befuddled for doubtful. there has to be a certainty in vision, clarity and vision in the certainty and purpose. when he said this shall not stand i remember watching this on tv. this was saddam hussein's -- invasion in kuwait. i knew he meant it and the purpose of course was to defend an ally from a ruthless bug and
he defined that in terms of our national interest. it was a clear position and he didn't waiver. there was a lot of bankston pressure. curiously enough when it came time for congressional authorization both of us decided and frankly was his decision to do so was instructed to us at the white house. it was a close senate vote. it was like 52-48 or something like that. it wasn't overwhelming sentiment to supporting this shall not stand. ..
>> >> between the types of decisions we made in the lessons learned making those decisions. >> one of the great experiences to give better judgment is with your dad's presidency. if you were not that engaged as a public campaign you are personally involved. >> i was just shellacked for congress i was not ready to fire back up again.
>> host: but you played us and never get role in the campaign. >> guest: what happened is i merge my independent oil exploration company into a larger company for liquidity. data big meeting at camp david to introduce us to his campaign staff. it was very thoughtful. and his brothers and sisters though to make sure everybody was included in the process. lee atwater the hotshot consultant i was reading how his allegiances may be elsewhere. so he finished the
presentation and i said how can we trust you? what he is saying is if there is a grenade we want you on its first. [laughter] loyalty matters. so lee approached both jeb bush and me and said if you are worried come up here. i've mentioned it to dad. he thought it was interesting. so it was the adventuresome moment and so then i was in the campaign. node title. proximity to power is power that is the way it is in the white house analyzed. i was there as the loyalty enforcer, a surrogate, i did a lot of things.
he ran a great campaign if anybody wonders how to become the nominee of the party from vice president to president and how to succeed , read the book because he handled the timing superbly. president reagan lost eight seats in 1986. in the book i put in there that people get tired of a president after six years. [laughter] >> host: almost as much as chief of staff. >> guest: andrew. please. [laughter] there was big pressure to distance himself from ronald reagan but he would never do
that to a friend. but he also had the wisdom to know in a campaign you want to make sure the person is as strong as possible going into a general election, not weak. so the classic case of understanding human nature of politics. >> host: when your dad's term as president ended, and he moved back to texas, that was the beginning of a transition for you as well and you start to think what you might be doing. tell us about the conversation of entering the political arena and again. >> it was not much of a conversation because he knew a decision a governor or president you have to make up your own mind.
it is not like you have to try to convince him running for office is the right thing to do hate the -- he says once you make up your mind i will not tell you what to do then i will be with you 100 percent but on the other hand, i called up mother when i go up against and richards. she said you cannot beat her. she is too popular. [laughter] go figure. [laughter] dad leaves office i could not have run for governor had he been reelected. imagine trying to beat the popular incumbent of with spend as much time if not most of it defending decisions he made your distancing myself from the decisions he made and that would be difficult to get that traction to draw a contrast.
so is the interesting way his defeat empowered those jeb and me to run for office. >> host: then you both ran and the expectations were little different than some people thought. >> guest: i don't pay attention to that. [laughter] i thought i could win. i really did. i was hoping jeb would win. but people were talking for the wrong reason but the story about election night i called dad to say i am going to declare victory and he said congratulations we are proud of you but his heart was in florida. it should not surprise you that he cares more for the person that is hurting their
winning. it was a sweet moment. obviously it reflects some kind of love or expectation. read the book before you say that again then you get a better feel for what you talk about. >> family makes all the difference in though world to use the bush clan with the best example of the unconditional love. you have experience that with your parents. tell me how you see that. >> is a great example but you never know what unconditional love means until your daughter's turn teenagers. [laughter] then you learn. so i put this i love
you, there is nothing you can do to not to make me love you so stop trying. [laughter] [applause] >> host: that is the great quotation. >> guest: you will not ask me but i will tell you anyway. what is another great quotation? okay. this. [laughter] it is about george bush and his face. preached a sermon daily and if necessary use words. that summarizes the man.kjfm >> host: there is a bit -- debate taking place now in america and the you and your mother has been party to the and it goes to a very close relative of both of yours.
>> remember she said she will not win. keypad and mind and euro -- keep that in mind andrew. [laughter] t712 shares of insight? >> guest: there is a lot of speculation for jeb he should run and would be a great president if he would wind. [applause] on the other hand, he has as good in inside one it is like to be president the two most qualified would tell him. so we can pressure him all we want to. he is making a personal decision. he knows the consequences of his decision. failure or success.
so as he said he will make sure it is the right thing for his family. that should be his priority. so he will make a very informed decision. people say pressure him to run. you cannot do that on such an important decision. only he can decide. that is what he is in the process of doing. we will save. it would be awesome if he runs and if he doesn't we love him. >> host: you? >> guest: one time i heard him say he does not like the idea of of political class and the bush clinton pushed obama bush how does that
sound? how does bush clinton pushed obama clinton? [laughter] you don't get to pick the environment in which you run [laughter] >> you and your family have had a long history of nicknames. your dad's growing up was half half but mine was all half because i was though generous. other when they called him eliot the elephant. >> he was chairman of the
party's. >> during watergate he came out unscathed. a miserable time for the baby boomers by the way. can i was as -- anyway so party chairman, as cia in china and no president has ever had one of those jobs much less all for. >> host: he also voted with president nixon. it was courageous for the chairman of the republican party to write. >> guest: and it is a much more general terms your contributions would be recognized it is time for
you to go. >> but with george bush to would be easy to use our thumping your chest to say i told him to go. it is of very tumultuous time. but he would not do that of course, . but ultimately if the truth is revealed and it is part of the process is getting people to see. and your dad was frequently invited by presidents to take on responsibilities. sometimes they ran counter to the expectation. but i was struck in the book of the of mobile servant is
the invitation of the president once you find a way to say yes. >> so one ankle is and the messenger comes up with a top-secret message and it turns out it was gerald ford asking george bush to come back to read - - run the cia. it was an ugly period for the agency, post watergate watergate, acrimony and very low morale. but as i've understand mom wet because she knew he was heading back given. but it is a letter he wrote to ford and kissinger if the
president asks i have a responsibility to do it. >> host: i ask clinton but they did and ended in one of those unique french ships. but then that they would become like a father figure. to have the great respect for george h. w. bush. with the humility to not allow the election to intercede with is a unique friendship? [applause]
>> i think it is polluted by the anonymity on the block was fear that they can say whatever they want without responsibility. we will see it is kind of hard to watch because you want to make sure the it is not and people look at the arena to say why would i want to do better put my family through that? you are a living example and i was impressed to love america enough with said
>> and i decided to write a book because i grew up been the suburb of seattle i moved here not knowing much about the place i was living. as i was learning more about its history i really wanted to write a book for someone like me who did not grow up here or was not familiar with its history or people
who live here their whole lives. learning about madison's history madison was in constant jeopardy of losing its status. there really began as an idea. there were not people living here when madison would become a the state capital really there was just this guy is the only people living here were along the lakeshore and some fur traders but on hold no one was living here so he comes through to see this isthmus of way and to say it would be a great town.
he hires someone to drive out the boundaries and presented it to the territorial legislature to say "this is it" them this is the capital of the new territory he had to convince the lot of people because nobody is living here at the time. that has a lot to do how madison had to fight to hold onto its status because other places have larger industries, so to select a state or territorial capital is just convince saying other legislators. you just put forward a case but at the time the major center was the west part where people were doing lead mining so they suggested that is where the capital should be.
there is also people in any the green bay area with a fur traders. but it was centrally located. so it is mostly just a marketing job purpose of zero when he went through the legislature to present his idea madison should be that space wasn't the only city competing but that legislatures job just needed to pay capital city. he is a little manipulative and he has a financial stake. he names after the president
james madison who just died to play on nationals of buffets of the president we just lost even named the streets after the seiders of the constitution. to show it was patriotic. so he brings in over two belmont with 19 other cities competing and he starts to bribe people. the building they were meeting in was chilly and people were complaining about the poor quality. he knows this so he brings his plan for madison as well as buffalo robes he starts to hand out to say here about my city. are you cold? here is a buffalo robe. then offering to sell the
land for a discounted price. then it is quite a number of votes and tell he is successful in then to run under consideration. as a very prominent figure if he said madison had potential then people could listen. said then surprisingly they've made it off that decision. and with that immigration but it is not the york or new england by wisconsin has enough people to qualify for statehood.
wisconsin had weighed more them that. there were various groups to push for word the legislation to move wisconsin tuesday a hood but there was some political parties that took a while to the point to move forward after drafting a state constitution. the democrats are finally successful and they go to work. they think it will be up pretty easy endeavor to even consider statehood. nobody thought the constitution would be problematic. but it turns out to it was a little too radical for the people living here at the time for pro such as allowing african-americans to vote and they outlawed all bakes. people were mistrustful at the time so they thought they would not have to worry about fraudulent activities.
and another controversial measure is the married woman to own property but every other state they were proper a. that debate all over the states how they would move forward could be even stand for this? they cut not agree on the constitution so they said the legislators back to the drawing board and drew up a new one that was approved to get rid of those controversial measures and that was finally passed so wisconsin said become the state's mid-may 1848. by the time we get to the early 20th century century, landscape architect and city planner hired to come up with a plan.
he delivers this shocking message and he says madison has the potential to become a world-class city and calls it a model city. he is not an fairing of the criticism but he sees and presents specific plans with the city could do to become competitive with paris and new york for the first time people were reminded they have this potential and someone from the onside saw them as a fantastic place filled with possibilities. that is where the subtitle comes from. and from what took decades to develop but a lot of the
things that he suggested in 1911 came through the 20th century that helped madison to build confidence. one of the things he thought there should be more green space in the city. we did not get it and tell a couple of decades later but the mainstream connecting the capital to the university should be a closed pedestrian mall and a place where people could gather together action lee that did not open -- happen until the '80s but that was part of his vision that the buildings should not be taller than of the capitol dome but that was the centerpiece