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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  December 1, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PST

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if i she'd shares it's okay. remember the old song, i'll be there ready when you are for there's so much excitement george bush lived for many years after writing that letter. he saw his children grow up and grow old. he welcomed the arrival of grandchildren and great grandchildren. when he was 93, he saw his wife go before him. he also saw the party and the country he had served for so long change in ways he could not have imagined and did not welcome. george herbert walker bush was the last of the greatest generation to serve as president and he embodied the best of that generation, decency, honor, integrity, aspiring to a
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patriotism that transse setrans party and ideology. i'm lester holt. thank you for being with us. ♪ last year there was only a tiny sense of time left, of sand running through the glass. this year i must confess i'm more aware of that. no fear, no apprehension, just a feeling like let's go. there's so much to do and there might not be a lot of time left. >> i'm a man who sees life in terms of missions. >> world war ii veteran, texas oilman, member of congress. u.n. ambassador, republican party chairman, envoy to china. cia director, vice president to ronald reagan.
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>> a father who gave unconditional love. a grandfather devoted to his grandchildren and a beloved husband of the sweetheart he married a lifetime ago. >> i've held my family very close and my heart break and my joy. ♪ ♪ hello. i'm lester holt. thank you for joining us as we
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take a look back at the life of george herbert walker bush and hear from him in his own words. george bush was raised to serve. politics and public service were in his blood, inherited from his father and passed on to his children. here's brian williams. >> george herbert walker bush came from great wealth and privilege but he was also taught early on about obligation. >> yes, i was privilege. if i got sick, my dad would pay a hospital bill. we were far more privileged in the values we got from our parents, right and wrong, help others, kindness. >> as a teenager, he excelled at andover, an upper crust new england prep school. he graduated in 1942 and joined the navy to become a fighter pilot in world war ii. >> the time i was in the service was critically important to me because i came out of it admittedly privileged
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background. next thing i know i was thrown into combat or going to preflight school. i was 18. just turned 18. >> he barely escaped death after being shot down. he was rescued by a navy submarine. the whole scene captured on film. >> i think i matured during those days. i think i became a man from that experience. >> he returned home to proud parents. his father prescott bush was a successful investment banker. and to his sweetheart barbara pierce. they married in 1945. he enrolled in yale. and in 1946 with the birth of george w., he became a father himself. he was a standout at yale, captain of the baseball team, graduating in 1948. but he left his new england roots and with family help got into the oil business in texas.
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>> hello, everybody. i'm prescott bush, republican candidate for the united states senate. >> in 1950, prescott bush got into what would become the family business, politics, running for the senate from connecticut. in this early campaign ad, the emphasis was on family. >> i hope all of you have as much fun and happiness in your family life as we do. >> my father was totally honest, totally committed to service per se. and that inspired me, not just there, but in his whole life. >> prescott bush lost in 1950, but won a senate seat two years later as reported on election night. >> prescott bush mr. bush is a new york investment baker. bush will be in the senate as a republican.
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>> in texas, george bush prospered and built a family. george w. later recalled it as a happy childhood. >> i grew up in midland, texas. i've got a lot of fond memories of midland. >> through the 1950s, prescott bush became a solid member of the republican establishment. he was a friend and some time golfing partner of president eisenhower. in 1960 richard nixon campaigned in connecticut and press bush was on hand. >> how are you? >> nixon lost to john f. kennedy in 1960. two years later citing poor health senator prescott bush chose not to run for reelection. with his father out of politics, george bush wanted in, and in 1964 george bush ran for the senate. >> 40-year-old george bush, an outgoing young man who smiles easily and has been a vigorous campaigner. >> his campaign ads were
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reminiscent of his father's. >> george bush republican candidate for the united states senate. >> i certainly hope and i'll bet you do too that our children can grow up knowing what freedom really is. >> 18-year-old george w. bush, then a student at yale as his father had been, came home to help with the campaign, the beginning of his political education. his father was running as a conservative. >> i believe we must stop the on rush of big government. the united nations has been a disappointed failure. >> but the political landscape was transformed by the assassination of john f. kennedy. in 1964, lyndon johnson of texas won the white house in a landslide. >> before coming in here, i sat around for a few minutes trying to think desperately to think of somebody i could blame for this.
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after due meditation, i regretfully concluded that there was no one else to blame but me. >> in fact, bush's political career was just beginning. in 1966, he ran for a house seat and won. in family photos at the capital, the eldest son, 21-year-old george w. bush. at yale he felt out of step with the liberal atmosphere of the 1960s. he graduated in 1968. that same year richard nixon was running for president. he sought out congressman george bush to help with the campaign, even briefly considered him as a running mate. two years later bush took aim at the senate with nixon campaigning for him. >> we've got to think of what man is best for america and george bush in my opinion is the best man for america. >> as it turned out, nixon's support in that 1970 race was not enough. >> i have only one regret and that is that i lost.
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>> george bush was out of a job but not for long. >> the fact that one door has been closed for him opens another door. coming up, rising through the ranks to claim the ultimate prize. >> the office of the president of the united states. place, the xfinity xfi gateway.
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and it's strengthened by xfi pods, which plug in to extend the wifi even farther, past anything that stands in its way.
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...well almost anything. leave no room behind with xfi pods. simple. easy. awesome. click or visit a retail store today. george bush became useful in -- president in part by being useful to the presidents who preceded him, men who served, include i including ford and nixon, who saw something in bush and gave him a place on the national stage. >> so help me god. >> george bush, the texas congressman who ran for the senate this year and lost is president nixon's choice to be the next american ambassador to the united nations. bush is an oil millionaire and a political conservative. >> in 1971, the political resume of george herbert walker bush consisted of two terms in congress and two failed senate
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campaigns. but richard nixon saw promise. >> the world will be a better place in which to live because of what dedicated men like george bush do at the united nations. >> thank you, mr. president, for this great honor. >> bush was a controversial choice for the job of u.n. ambassador. he was inexperienced but enthusiastic. >> but you got dream a little. we've got figure out how we can get more support for this organization. >> he immersed himself in the big issues of the day, the middle east, china versus taiwan, he served the president faithfully though nixon seemed to think bush should be tougher as he indicated in this phone call in 1971. >> i want you to hit it strongly and toughly. is that clear? just take the gloves off and crack it because you know exactly what we've done, okay? fine. all right. >> ambassador george bush.
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>> george bush at the 1972 gop national convention with 26-year-old george w and then nixon aide donald rumsfeld. a happy moment followed just weeks later by the death of the man george bush called his hero and mentor. prescott bush died october 8th, 1972, never knowing the heights his son and grandson would some day reach. in the political world, a re-elected president nixon had another new job for george bush. >> mr. nixon named george bush to be the new chairman of the republican national committee replacing senator robert dole of kansas. >> i think it's important work and i look forward to getting involved in it. >> it was a job that bush did not seek and did not want. nevertheless, he shared his father's sense of duty. >> and the president wants you to do something, under my kind of system of civics, you ought to do it. >> bush's loyalty to nixon was
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soon tested by the biggest scandal in american political history. >> watergate, republican national chairman george bush said that president nixon understands the watergate problem fully and will clear it up totally. he did not elaborate. >> i'm concerned about it. deeply. mainly for the system. i don't want to go home at night and see my young kids turned off of this political process by some illegal or allegedly illegal or close to illegal acts. >> you try being chairman of the republican party during the watergate days. you talk about a ghastly assignment. a horrible time. >> hasn't all this made your job much more difficult? >> it's complicated the heck out of my job. but the loser is not the republican party. the loser is the system. >> i retain a bake confidence that the president is indeed telling the truth about his lack of involvement, about his involvement in this whole
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bedamned mess. >> in the end of course, it became clear that nixon was not telling the truth about watergate, not to george bush or anyone else. george and barbara bush were on hand for nixon's farewell and gerald ford's swearing in. >> so help me god. >> ford had to pick a vice president and george bush was a leading contender. >> hi, how are you all. >> but it was nelson rockefeller of new york who got the job instead. >> all in all, it's a first class choice. let's face it, i was flattered to be in that league. >> ford did offer bush a choice of diplomatic assignments and george bush picked china. >> put it this way, i'm darn happy about it. >> george and barbara bush enjoyed the assignment in china but it lasted barely a year flow it is my intention to nominate ambassador bush to be director of the central intelligence agency. >> bush himself was stunned by the news. after being on hand for
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president ford's visit to china and a meeting with chairman mao tse-tung, bush headed home to a storm of controversy. many considered bush too political to run the embattled cia. yes, i have been in politics. i served four years in congress. i served two years as the chairman of my party, and i have no apology whatsoever for either service. >> some thought ford would make bush his running mate the following year. bush dismissed the idea. >> i think one would have to be hallucinating if he thought this was a stepping stone to becoming vice president. >> but he didn't want to rule it out either. >> i cannot in all honesty tell you that i would not accept. and i don't think, gentlemen, that any american should be asked to say he would not accept. >> the senate approved bush for the cia but not before president ford promised in writing not to put him on ticket in 1976.
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right then, his career in politics seemed to be all but over. >> i can't confess to being clairvoyant but i foresaw the minute the telegram came that has altered my life that this undoubtedly spelled the end of a, you know, a near term political future except maybe some kind of you know, long shot lightning striking kind of an opportunity to be tapped for some higher office. >> welcome to the cia. >> thank you for coming. > george bush was sworn in today as the new director of central intelligence. >> so help me god. >> the politically sensitive job as head of the cia in 1976 took george herbert walker bush out of the running as gerald ford's running mate. a job that went instead to bob dole. but if it was a disappointment to mr. bush, it was also an opportunity.
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>> my goal is to run this agency properly in the future. learning from the past but not dwelling on it. it was his fifth new job in nine years but bush proved many of his doubters wrong becoming one of the most popular and effective directors of the modern day cia, a building which today bears his name. >> cia i love one year only. but i love defending the culture at a time when everybody was down on it. >> during the 1976 campaign, it fell to cia director bush to provide intelligence brief together democratic candidate jimmy carter. when carter beat president ford, bush was again out of a job. >> george bush has told jimmy carter he will quit as director of the cia on january 20th, inauguration day. we're told that bush was willing to stay on but carter gave him no encouragement. >> george bush today declared himself a candidate for the
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republican nomination for president. >> bush wanted jimmy carter's job, but first he'd have to fight ronald reagan for the gop nomination. he was asked his opinion of reagan. >> i think he would be a good president, much better than carter. but i would be a better president. that's the point i've got to get across. >> the bush resume proved no match for the reagan revolution. ronald reagan won the nomination and appeared ready to make history by picking a former president gerald ford as his running mate. once again, george bush's political career seemed to be over till this electrifying moment. >> i have asked and i am recommending to this convention that tomorrow when the session reconvenes that george bush be nominated. >> we're not sure where george bush is, but lightning certainly struck him tonight. >> in an instant, the future had changed for the entire bush
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family. reagan had salvaged george bush's political future and that very likely kept the door open for a political future for george w. bush. >> all i can say is that we're overwhelmed and grateful for your expression of confidence. i accept. >> bush pledged his loyalty to ronald reagan and in this moment captured by nbc news cameras, he introduced him to his son. in one frame, three future presidents. george bush had aimed for the presidency. by gladly settling for number two, he made himself ronald reagan's loyal heir apparent. >> george bush ran against ronald reagan and lost. but he remade himself becoming a model vice president. loyal, dedicated, and gladly subservient. biding his time hoping his chance would come again. it did. that part of the story when we continue.
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i george herbert walker bush do solemnly swear that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. >> president reagan, on behalf of our nation, i thank you for the wonderful things that you have done for america. i've spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread
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like stars throughout the nation doing good, for a new breeze is blowing and a world refreshed by freedom seals reborn for in man's heart if not in fact the day of the dictator is over. >> a world refreshed by freedom, perhaps some wishful thinking on bush's part. just months into his presidency, a growing democracy movement in china was brutally crushed by authorities. the tiananmen square massacre targeting students gathered in beijing by the thousands, challenging china's communist government and demanding democracy, human rights, and political freedom. hundreds perhaps thousands were killed. >> there's been widespread and continuing violence, many casualties and many deaths. and we deplore the decision to use force. and i now call on the chinese leadership publicly as i have in private channels to avoid violence and to return to their
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previous policy of restraint. this is not the time for an emotional response, but for a reasoned, careful action, i believe the forces of democracies are so powerful and when you see them as recently as this morning, a single student standing in front of a tank and then i might add seeing the tank driver exercise restraint, i'm convinced that the forces of democracy are going to overcome these unfortunate events in tiananmen square. >> the forces of democracy did not prevail in china and have not to this day. but just five months after the tiananmen square massacre, freedom took center stage thousands of miles away in berlin. >> good evening. live from the berlin wall on the most hick night in this wall's history. what you see behind me is a celebration of this new policy announced today by the east german government that now for
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the first time since the wall was erected in 1961, people will be able to move through freely. >> let me just say a word about the momentous events in east germany. i was moved as you all were by the pictures of berliners from east and west standing atop the wall with chisels and hammers celebrating the opening of the most vivid symbol of the iron curtain and to be honest with you, i doubted that this would happen in the very first year of this administration. 28 years after the desperate days of 1961, when tanks faced off at checkpoint charlie and that terrible barrier was built, now the east german government has responded to the wishes of its people. >> less than a year later came george bush's biggest challenge as president. and his defining hour.
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iraq's invasion of kuwait in august, 1990. at first, bush seemed to hesitate but he soon drew a line in the sand. >> this will not stand. this will not stand, this aggression against kuwait. i've got to go. i have to go to work. >> this will not stand, bush said, committing himself to reversing saddam hussein's invasion and rallying an international coalition to help him do it. u.s. and allied forces gathered in the desert and when diplomacy failed, the commander in chief launched operation desert storm. >> just two hours ago, allied air forces began an attack on military targets in iraq and kuwait. these attacks continue as i speak. ground forces are not engaged. this conflict started august 28 when the dictator of iraq invaded a small and helpless neighbor.
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kuwait, a member of the arab league and a member of the united nations was crushed. its people brutalized. five months ago, saddam hussein starred this cruel war against kuwait. tonight, the battle has been joined. >> it started as an air war. followed less than six weeks later by a ground war. operation desert storm was short. brutally efficient and successful. >> kuwait is liberated. iraq's army is defeated. our military objectives are met. kuwait is once more in the hands of kuwaitis in the control of their own destiny. tonight, the kuwaiti flag once again flies above the capital of
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the free and sovereign nation. and the american flag flies bob our embassy. seven months ago, america and the world drew a line in the sand. we declared that the aggression against kuwait would not stand. and tonight, america and the world have kept their word. this is not a time of euphoria, certainly not a time to gloat. but it is a time of pride, pride in our troops, pride in the friends who stood with us in the crisis, pride in our nation, and the people whose strength and resolve made victory quick. decisive. and just. >> a week later before a joint session of congress, president bush declared victory. >> as commander in chief, i can report to you our armed forces fought with honor and valor and as president, i can report to the nation aggression is defeated. the war is over. >> iraqi forces were pushed out
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of kuwait. but in iraq itself, saddam hussein was still in power. and would remain so until he was toppled 12 years later by bush's son. >> i thought that saddam hussein would leave under his own power or under being knocked off by somebody else but had i not thought that, would we then have gone to try to find him, no, we wouldn't have done it. and that was not our mission. and then for those who say well, you should have gone in and killed saddam, i'm commander in chief. i want his son or daughter go into baghdad to find the most fortified brutal dictator in history. >> 1991 began with operation desert storm. it ended with one of the watershed events of the 20th century, the collapse of the soviet union. the cold war had been the world's defining struggle for decades, fought by nine american presidents.
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it ended with george bush. >> we gather tonight at a dramatic and deeply promising time in our history and in the history of men on earth. for the past 12 months, the world has known changes of almost biblical proportions. and even now, months after the failed coup that doomed a failed system, i'm not sure we've absorbed the full impact, the full import of what happened. but communism died this year. and even as president with the most fascinating possible vantage point, there were times when i was so busy managing progress and helping to lead change that i didn't always show the joy that was in my heart. but the biggest thing that has happened in the world in my
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life, in our lives is this. by the grace of god, america won the cold war. so this christmas,
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go to stamps.com/tv and never go to the post office again! hello, i'm dara brown. here's what's happening. the 41st president of the united states george h.w. bush has died passing away at his home in houston friday night surrounded by family. his death comes less than eight months after his wife of 73 years, barbara, died. his son former president george w. bush issued a statement calling his father a man of the highest character. president trump praised the elder bush for sound judgment, common sense and unflappable leadership. more coverage of the passing of george h.w. bush coming up. for more than 40 years now, part of every president's job description has been to put up with being laughed at on "saturday night live." george bush was no exception.
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but he did more than just tolerate dana carvey making fun of him. he showed he was able to have fun at his own expense. >> dana, george bush here. i'm watching you do your impression of me and i've got to say it's nothing like me. bears no resemblance. it's bad. it's bad. >> well, i'm sorry, mr. president. i think it's a fair impression. >> don't see it. >> you don't? >> it's totally exaggerated. it's not meet those crazy hand gestures the pointing thing. i don't do them. also na, ga, da, never said it. in all my years of government service, i never once said nagada. >> president bush was so taken by dana carvey's act that he even invited him to the white house to cheer everyone up after bush lost the election in 1992. >> to do bush, you start out
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with mr. rogers, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. then you add a little john wayne. here we go. let's go over to the ranch. you put them together you got george herbert walker bush. >> yes. >> don't dare move my hands what i want to do. no, but i am very grateful to dana and to paula for being here. and dana has given me a lot of laughs. he said to me on the phone, are you sure you really want me to come there? and i said yeah. and he said i hope i've never crossed the line. and i knew exactly what he meant. and as far as i'm concerned, he never has. and the fact that we can laugh at each other is a very fundamental thing. i'm not sure november 4th that the invitation would have gone out and they'd had the same enthusiasm. >> george bush did not expect to lose to bill clinton in 1992.
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he presided over the end of the cold war. enjoyed sky high popularity after the gulf war. but a weak economy and an electorate ready for change did him in and he didn't like it one bit. in an interview several years later, he read a letter he had written the day after the election. >> november 4th, the election is over. it's come and gone. it's hard to describe the emotions of something like this. but it's hurt, hurt, hurt and i guess it's the pride too. on a competitive basis, i don't like to see the pollsters right at the end. i don't like to see the pundits right. i don't like to see all those who have written me off right. i was absolutely convinced we would problem them wrong. but i was wrong and they were right and that hurts a lot. i gave it my all. gave it my best and got whipped so i went home. and boy have we been happy. >> with barbara at his side, george bush had one of the longest post presidencies in american history.
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he saw his eldest son run for president. >> and i want to thank my dad the most decent man i have ever known. dad, i am proud to be your son. >> and win two terms. he stayed active golfing, fishing, boating, even jumping out of airplanes to celebrate his 80th, 85th and 90th birthdays. and george bush overcame his political differences with bill clinton joining forces to help victims of the disastrous 2004 tsunami in asia. >> the nice thing about it sends a signal around the world that you can be political opponents and still work together for something more important than your own political future. >> clinton was practically a member of the family. >> everyone is talking about the odd couple. george and bill. or as i now call him, son.
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>> the presidency is among other things a small club. and in 2009, a new member was welcomed. president-elect barack obama. later that year, president obama paid tribute to george bush on the 20th anniversary of his points of light volunteerism initiative and for his lifetime of service. >> george bush isn't just a president who promoted the ethic of service long before it was fashionable. he's a citizen whose life has embodied that ethic. from his daring service as a navy pilot during world war ii, enlisting the day he turned 18, to his time in congress at the cia, and as u.n. ambassador, vice president and president. he easily could have chosen a life of comfort and privilege. and instead, time and again,
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when served -- offered a chance to serve, he seized it. it was second nature to him. the continuation of a proud family tradition that he and mrs. bush clearly passed on to their children and grandchildren. and one which he's carried on throughout his, quote unquote, retirement. how is that working out, ms. bush? >> barbara bush in on the joke in 2009. we'll hear from her when we continue in just a moment.
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the most important person in george bush's life was undoubtedly his wife barbara. they met as teenagers, married during world war ii. and were inseparable throughout their remarkable life together. speaking to nbc in 1999, bush read a letter he had written to his wife five years earlier on their 49th anniversary.
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>> january 6, 1994. for barbara pierce from ghwb. will you marry me. whoops i forgot you did that 49 years ago today. i was very happy on that day in 1945 but i'm even happier today. i have climbed the highest mountain in the world but even that cannot hold a candle to being her husband. mom used to tell me, now, george, don't walk ahead. little did she know -- >> don't do that. you know what? i was only trying to keep up. >> and another letter about a first kiss. >> i kissed barbara and i'm glad of it. i don't believe she will ever regret it or resent it. i certainly am not ashamed of it. i've never kissed another girl. >> when we tell our children what i tell them, i never knew i was the first girl you ever kissed. but when i told them that you
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were the first person i ever kissed. >> i was the second darling. abbott. >> he was not. >> he was in there. >> he knows, you know haven. that's not true. but having said that, no, you may not. he has children, too. but anyway. yuk, carry on. but that's the truth. >> you both married the first person you ever kissed? >> strange, i admit. >> still staying with your story? >> yes, i am. >> barbara pierce bush died on april 17th, 2018. as always, george bush was at her side. and when mourners came to pay their respects, he returned the favor, greeting them from his wheelchair thanking them as they filed past her casket. surrounded by family, he
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attended her funeral, holding up and staying strong despite his failing health. george and barbara bush were together for 73 years. the longest marriage in american presidential history. she was indispensable to her husband's success. >> i've always felt i was the world's luckiest woman. nobody ever had a greater more precious family. nobody ever had a better husband. >> i think george bush and i are as good friends as close, as any two people i know. you know, we were married at 19 and 20 and we really sort of see the world through the same eyes. >> she was the mother that went to the little league games, raised the kids, bawled them out. >> i chose to bring up my children. i mean, i had that choice and i know it was a luxury. >> both george and barbara bush campaign hard during the week.
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>> i was gone a lot. she was the one that comforted our daughter when she was dying. she was the one that that's kind of been there. >> after she died, it was a terrible time in our life. i really sort of fell apart. sort of hard for me to talk about. but he just put his arms around me and did not let me step away and i loved him even more after that. >> i'm wired for sound. >> don't do anything. >> be careful. >> i've shared george all of my married life with lots of people. >> when george bush is in the room people knock me down to get to him. i understand that, but i must say it is not ego building. but george has shared so i don't feel left out and i don't feel like oh, you've live your husband's life. i'm glad he looks young and i wish to heck i did, too.
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i really love him and he's made my life so happy and he's shared with me and i don't feel i'm quote, just a political wife. >> for soon she'll be the first lady of all the united states. ♪ >> when you're the president's wife, you don't have to make any decisions. look at me. i don't threaten anyone. got nice white hair and a little fat face and i like people and it's easy. i don't agree with him on everything. and he and i know what those things are. i want you to care what he thinks. he's the president. i'm not. i haven't been elected to public office. i'm not courageous enough to do that. >> i want to welcome you all to the white house. >> i might say with some little husbandly pride, the silver fox is doing one heck of a job for education. >> for barbara bush, i campaign my way.
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and since i'm so old and so mean and so tough, nobody dares tell me not to. >> i too agree with character and integrity are very important. >> i want to thank my entire family with a special emphasis on a woman named barbara. the love of my father's life has been barbara bush. >> she was a great first lady. and she earned and won the respect of a lot of american people because they saw her for what she is, down to earth, a loving mother, caring individual. trying hardest to do something about literacy and setting an example with no bull about it. >> i've built my life around the world's greatest man and the world's greatest children. at the ends of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. you will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a
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friend, or a parent. you've got two choices in life. you can like what you do or you can dislike what you do. i've chosen to like what i do. and i think i'm the luckiest woman in the world.
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george bush left no memoir but as we've seen over the past hour, he was a prolific and gifted writer of letters. they often revealed a tender emotional side that he never really shared publicly before he left office. we want to leave with you two of those letters. the first bush wrote to his mother several years after he and barbara lost their daughter robin to leukemia in 1953. robin was a beautiful child, just 3 years old when she died. a subject was still so sensitive decades later that bush could not read the letter himself.
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so he had barbara read it for him. >> there is about our house a need, the running, pulsating restlessness of the four boys as they struggle to learn and grow. the world embraces them. all this wonder needs a counterpart. we need some starched crisp frocks to go with our torn blue jeans and helmets. we need some soft blonde hair to offset those crew cuts. we need a dollhouse to stand firm against our forts and rackets and a thousand baseball cards. we need a cutout star to play alone while the others battle to see who's family champ. we even need someone who can sing the alouette while outside they scramble to catch the elusive ball aimed ever but
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usually thudding against screens. we need a legitimate christmas angel. one who doesn't have cuffs beneath the dress. we need someone who is a afraid of frogs. we need someone to cry when i get mad, not argue. we need a little one who can kiss without leaving egg or jam or gum. we need a girl. >> stop that. no good at that. >> we got a girl. >> got a good one. >> got a good one. >> the reference is to daughter dorothy. the bush's youngest child born in 1959. not long after that letter was written. in 1998, george bush wrote a letter to all his children. he was 74 then reflecting on the twilight years of a full life. >> dear kids, this letter is about aging. talking about my getting older and you know i love my boat. i worry a little bit about
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falling off the bow. i worry about fishing on those rocks out there for concern that i might lose my balance. this summer one or two of you i'm sure in an effort to be helpful said get a hearing aid. or try listening. i heard you. i also heard a family member i won't say of which generation go, the old fogy is deaf. but i clearly heard what had gone on before and i heard that old fogy thing, too. come to think back of it, i'm not sure the word was fogy. not sure at all. anyway, it goes on. last year there was only a tiny sense of time left of sand running through the glass. this year i must confess i'm more aware of that, no fear, no apprehension just a feeling like let's go, there's so much to do and there might not be a lot of time left. except for an ache here, a pain there, i feel like the proverbial spring colt.
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there's so much left to do. if i shed tears now, try not to laugh at me. remember the old song, i'll be there ready when you are for there's so much excitement ahead, so many grandkids to watch grow. if you need me i'm here. devotedly, dad. >> george bush lived for many years after writing that letter. he saw his children grow up and grow old. he welcomed the arrival of grandchildren and great grand children. when he was 93, he saw his wife go before him. he also saw the party and the country he had served for so long change in ways that he could not have imagined and did not welcome. george herbert walker bush was the last of the greatest generation to serve as president. and he embodied the best of that generation, decency, honor,
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integrity, aspiring to a patriotism that transcended party and ideology. in that, he remains an inspiration to so many. i'm lester holt. thank you for being with us. so this christmas, take care of the hands that take care of you. that's me in back in 1987, when i gave isotoner gloves to all my teammates. now i have a different set of teammates.
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my family. and they all want isotoner gloves for christmas because they keep getting better. there's smartouch. for selfies whenever, wherever. then there's four way stretch for flexibility. they even have smartdri. see? stays dry. so get isotoner gloves for the whole family. take care of the hands that take care of you.
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