tv Up With David Gura MSNBC December 1, 2018 6:00am-7:01am PST
i are sadded to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear dad has died. the entire push family is deeply agreedful for 41st's life and love and compassion and fors those who loved and clarified and prayed for dad. george bush is being remembered as a family miami, a public serve quantity and a statesman. let's take a moment to listen to george h.w. bush reflect on how he would like to be remembered by history. >> i know i made plenty of mistakes. i know i messed things up and i know i didn't database database you know, do the campaign right maybe or things. let history make all that determination. but i think that -- or at least put it this way. i tried to do it with integrity and honor. it worries me because i think public service is noble and try to sell that inside the beltway
today. it's hard to do. >> garrett is in houston, texas, andrea mitchell is joining us and joe watkins, former white house aide to the late president. garrett, you're in houston where the institutional legacy of this president looms large. you can't walk a mile without seeing some building with the bush name on it. it has been a while since we've had a presidential funeral. what can we expect here over the next few days? >> yeah are, david, to that point, i landed last night at bush intercontinental airport here in texas. this is a city that adopted him first when he was a member of congress and returning when his white house tenure ended in the early 90s. some of the specifics have not yet been released, but we do expect president bush to lie in state at the u.s. capital this
week. there will be a funeral service at the national cathedral in washington, d.c. with late word from the white house that the president and first lady do plan to attend that service at the national cathedral. then there will be a separate set of services back here in texas at the bush family's home church here in houston, texas, the same church where they had the funeral for barbara bush earlier this year. there will be the texas based funeral. then the former president will be laid to rest at texas a&m, college station, technology, about a hundred miles from houston, the site of his presidential library. that's where barbara bush is already buried and that is where george bush will end his journey in college station, tk. for people in my generation, george bush is the person we look to as to what former presidents are supposed to look like, a man who redefined service after his white house
tenure, especially notable down here in texas. >> and we can report, as well, that president trump and his wife have been invited to that funeral. garrett, thank you very much. i want to turn now to andrea mitchell. and r andrea, let me ask you about the piece over which george h.w. bush presided. tell us about how the circumstances differed then from now? >> the peace and don't forget the first gulf war and the way with that he executed it. i think he was preeminent in two regards. in foreign policy and creating great coalitions, coalitions that helped us fight that war. and as james baker would later privately say, they negotiated so many contributors from japan to the saudis. against saddam hussein that they may have turned a profit on it
because america itself did not pay for the gulf war but more importantly that there was a lasting legacy from that. they did not go into baghdad. he resisted some pressure to do exactly that. and he also built a domestic legacy in terms of the budget deal that perhaps doomed his re-election but led to decades of prosperity. decades of prosperity despite a recession that did spoil the last year of his presidency. but the pay as you go agreement that came out of that andrews air force base bipartisan negotiation, he knew it would create political problems for him, but he knew it was the right thing to do. and maybe most importantly, and you should speak to nick burns more than to me for et. i only observed as a correspondent he was a player. but what he did in building on what ronald reagan did with mikhail gorbachev and leading to
the fall of the berlin wall under president bush and the reunification of germany, a brave decision which changed the face of europe and the world. >> i'll take the segue there and turn to ambassador bruins in massachusetts this morning. earlier, andrea was talking about his faith in alliances. and you and ambassador burns, ambassador to nato for some time. talk about his view of that, the importance of having international relationships when he was in office. >> david, president bush has an extraordinary legacy in foreign policy. i think you have to say the most successful of our modern presidents on the international stage and andrea has recounted some of these. he brought the colder war to a peaceful end and that was not all assured. it could have been a violent ends. but it was his dexterity that enabled that to happen. he negotiated the unification of germany, a country that had been divided by the cold war for nearly five decades. he defeated saddam hussein in
the desert and then he had the good sense to end that war and to bring our troops home early and, of course, he started the modern israeli palestinian peace process with the jordanians, the israelis and palestinians and he began nafta. it was his idea to put nafta forward. this is a great legacy and it was built on his unrivaled knowledge of the world, his sophistication, his intelligence, his partnership with secretary of state james a. baker iii and his great friend and brent scocroft, the national security adviser. this was a great foreign policy team that i think his family and everyone who revered him understands that. >> let me ask you about the memorial service we'll see in a few days. the current president, the first lady had been invited to that
night. >> the president not going to the republican national convention, declaring afterwards that he cast a vote for hillary clinton in that election. put that into some context for us, as well. what are we likely to see here at that service? >> george h.w. bush, despite the fact that he did feel strongly about that, the events of 2016, this is someone who would like the fact, and you can be sure he specifically approved this, an invitation going to the incumbent president and him attending, trying to close the circle with healing. there has always been a relationship between a sitting president and the former presidents. we're living in a moment that we really haven't seen in american history where president trump has little to no relationship with any former president. so if george h.w. bush felt that his memorial service could end that and turn things in the right direction, i can very much see him approving of that.
>> let me ask you about your approach to george h.w. bush. he's been described in a number of obituaries that i've read as someone who didn't have many vociferous enemies in washington, d.c. what was his approach to dealing with folks in the other party? >> andy karr said it earlier this morning. he was somebody that understood government in a way many others have not. his father was a united states senator, as well, prescott bush. and he was great at building relationships and building coalitions and he loved talking to the other side. that's the beauty of it. we're in an environment now, of course, where republicans and democrats don't have much dialogue, but president george h.w. bush was a master of dialogue with everybody, with republicans as well as democrats. and i think that was one of his strong suits is his ability to that. as a result, he was able to get things done. we brought in members of the civil rights communities.
this is the kind of person that he was. he wass he wanted to talk to everybody because he said we have to look forward, look ahead. >> he said famously that our will was bigger than our wallet. in the interview that we played a bit from the top he expresses some westfulness or regret about what he may have done or didn't do when it came to the economy. how large did that loom during the later part of the campaign, during his term in office? >> he made very large, i believe. he made a brave decision, i believe, in materials of the budget deal. he did that with george mitchell and bob godole. bob dole, of course, was the republican leader. but it was someone he famously defeated in 1988 in new hampshire. and i recall standing right to
the side off side when tom brokaw was there interviewing george bush when he won the new hampshire primary and that helped him nail the nomination and defeat bob dole. dole was on remote and tom said to dole, do you have anything you want to say to george bush? and dole said, stop lying about my record. i mean, it was one of those moments. it was a bitter republican primary. then there was a bitter campaign with ross perot making the arguments, actually, about deficit spending, but going much broader than that. at one point in june of 1988, ross perot was leading both bill clinton in that general election in that three-way race. the independent was ahead in the polls. to both bill clinton and george bush, the major party nominees. that said, the economy was a huge issue. i know he and barbara bush felt
at the time, and in is a -- i was to first disclose that i was personally involved in my personal life in this. they felt that the fed tightening at the time was too tight. and i, of course, was going to marry the then chairman of the fed, someone i had been dating long before he was in washington when he was a private citizen. so i have to disclose that, but that was a factor since you asked me a question about the economy. but i think history will tell and i know george w. bush felt this, that the decisions that were made then by his father and by the other policymakers certainly followed up by the budget decision in 1993 under bill clinton led to years of prosperity down the road and helped george w. bush in his presidency with balanced budgets. >> history has a way of rhyming and we have the fed tightening again. let me ask you about trade, if i
could. yesterday, president trump sat next to his trade counterpart. this approach to regional trade was hatched under george bush. >> well, it was. it finally came about under president clinton's presidency, but it was george b. wush's idea and during his administration, he pushed it forward. this was a radical idea, but the right one that canada, mexico and the united states are living together on one continent. we have a symbiotic economy. look at what nafta did. it raised a lot of boats. it helped a lot of people in the united states as well as mexico and canada. i think it was a brilliant achievement. that union deserves to continue. it's a little noted legacy on of president george h.w. bush, but it's part of that legacy. >> michael, i pick up the "new york times" today, look at the editorial about george h.w.
bush's legacy and a great line in that piece is i suspect history will be kinder to president george h.w. bush than the electorate was, than voters were in 1992. help us understand the broader context, if you would. >> there is no question. in 1992, george bush basically made himself obsolete. by ending the cold war, he was in the first president in the wake of world war ii and the cold war for whom foreign policy didn't seem to matter. in 1992, the voters didn't care about the fact that this was someone so skilled in diplomacy as we've been talking about and what they were concerned much more was what they thought was a worsening economy as we now know in retrospect, spoopeople didn' know at the point, the economies was getting better by the time the election of 1992 took place. what bush wasn't good at was to be a communicator. he didn't have ronald reagan's skills in explaining, actually,
the economy is getting better. he wasn't able to say, yes, you do need a president with national security experience. that led to his defeat. but now we can look back and say it is essential that you have a president who had these skills that allowed us to deal with the soviet union and the cold war and make way for the prosperity of the 1990s and beyond. this is, you know, the difference between a historical judgment and a judgment in realtime. >> absolutely. thank you so much. when we come back, i'll talk to the last reporter to interview george h.w. bush and get new reaction from russian president vladimir putin as we look at how george h.w. bush shaped politics on the world stage. >> our nation is the enduring dream of every im.grant who ever set foot on these shores and the millions still struggling the to be free. this nation, this idea called
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president who is attending the g20 summit. jeff, get us up to speed on the news. this will be a busy packed week of events here to remember the former president. >> that's right, david. and given the publicly contentious relationship between donald trump and george h.w. bush, it was something of an open question as to whether or not the trumps would be invited or attend the service of the former president. sarah sanders put out this statement, the president and first lady were notified last night of president george h.w. bush's passing. president trump is scheduled to speak with president george w. bush this morning and offer condolences. a state funeral is being arranged with all the accompanying support and honors. the president will designate wednesday, december 5th, as a national day of mourning. he and the first lady will attend the funeral at the
national cathedral in washington, d.c. this is pat of president trump following the traditions of the presidency. this comes as president trump hasn't. in fact, he's frankly contradicted the customs, the pro po protocols that you would expect. president trump at a rally over the summer suggested that make america great again was a better campaign rally. there was that bitter contentious 2016 republican primary where president trump bested jeb bush. and because of that feud, h.w. bush said he voted for hillary clinton. so, again, we do understand now that the president and first lady will attend the funeral services to be held in washington, d.c. for the former late president. >> we expect to hear from the president before he leaves for washington a little bit later. he has a news conference scheduled. jeff bennet, thank you very much. in a time of division, a letter from 1993 left by former
president george h.w. bush, president clinton, you will be our president when you read this note. your success now is our country's success. i am rooting hard for you. i want to bring in michael mcfall. when you look at his legacy, when it comes to foreign policy, ambassador mcfall, the soviet union, russia certainly looms large. he said america has led the world through an age of global transition. we have made the world safer for our kids and the real fruits of our global victory are yet to be tasted. help us understand the magnitude of what he was able to accomplish through collaboration, through cooperation, through the phone conversations he had with his soviet counterpart, mikhail gorbachev. >> in a way, he helped to end the 20th century, right? the 20th century was about the
wars fought against tyranny and then the cold war after that for decades. and he helped to manage that transition in a peaceful way. and is let's be clear. let's give credit first and foremost to the russians and the ukrainians and estonians who did that. i think sometimes we tend to give too much credit to americans watching these events. but in that moment, it could have gone sideways. it could have led to military conflict between some of those former republics. and by the way, back then, some of them, ukraine and kazakhstan and belarus had nuclear weapons and it was president bush who helped guide all of those sides to this peaceful transition. and by the way, also help to get rid of a lot of those nuclear weapons, another part of his legacy. >> just a few months ago, i was in your office ambassador and we were talking about the start treaty having to do with the nuclear stockpiles in both of those countries. it's worth noting today that this is something this late now president pioneered, the
creating of the signing of start and start to. >> without question. the most important nuclear arms control agreement in the history of the world. and the new start treaty that i was a part of the team that helped to negotiate, this was an improvement on the remarkable historic treaty that president bush did. so, you know, he did that. he also unification of germany, you talked about in your earlier segment with nick burns. that also could have been a complete disaster, could have gone a different way. you know, the liberation of eastern europe in 1989, that also could have led to civil conflict and later it did in some of those countries. and it was his leadership to try to do these things and manage these things in a peaceful way. and by the way, and i think it's really important for people who remember who forgot compared to our current era, he did it first and foremost by working with our
alli allies. he always did this in alliance creating these massive coalitions as he always did during the gulf war. he understood having a team as opposed to going alone. >> he was a two-term congressman when he asked to be bomb nominated to be the u.s. ambassador to the united nations and that kick started a career that took him to washington afterwards. he headed up the cia afterward and became vice president and president. as you look back on his career, reflect on his curiosity about the world. this was somebody who, from his early years, from when he joined the navy at the age of 18 had a real curiosity about the world and the u.s.'s place in it, didn't he, ambassador? >> that's right. he's probably the most qualified president to be president with respect to national security affairs that we've ever had. and we saw the payoff oefs that, right? he was somebody that knew the
leaders of these countries. he knew the histories of these countries. he said a fantastic team around him. you could see not ask for a better partner in what he did. but, you know, it's a hard job. it's one of the hardest jobs in the world and he was well prepared for it, most certainly, when it came to international affairs. >> ambassador, always nice to speak with you. appreciate the time on this saturday morning. coming up, i'll be joined by a man who is often in the room with the commander in chief as he made critical military decisions. that conversation is coming up next. >> now the 28 countries with forces in the gulf area have exhausted all reasonable efforts to reach a peaceful resolution. have no choice but to drive saddam from kuwait by force. share the love event,
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bush. clu included in his service to country, he served as a naval airater in world war ii, flying some 58 missions before being shot down byinto the pacific. he would go on to receive the distinguished flying cross for bravery in action. joining me now is nbc military analyst and former gulf war division commander general barry mccaffrey who worked with the late president of the united states. i want to go back in time. you share a prep school alma mater. you both went to philips academy in andover. he says a pivot al moment happened in the andover chapel. reflect on what you saw in him of that, how that moment seemed to change him as he made his way to the pacific and then to yale.
>> just such a remarkable, pivotal figure in american history. i knew him quite well. i got to see him at close range. he came to me division in desert shield prior to the attack in iraq, he and barbara bush and the senior congressional leadership. he visited our families at ft. stewart. my wife, jill, spend the day with him. this is a.man of tremendous experience, of public service, of integrity, of kindness. both my wife and i have handwritten notes from the president framed in our home right now. >> it's hard to imagine somebody that represents nobility more
than president bush. >> the gulf war, that marked a turning point for the army. you pioneered that left hook maneuver at the start of that war. when you look at military history in this country, how big a turning point was that? what happened in the per shsian gulf? >> there were thousands of soldiers in the ampitheater in the sand. he said something to the effect of i was flying my fifth mission of the war and it was in ground support of the 24th infantry division fighting in the philippines. what an impact. at that time during that gulf war experience, we had the president, an 18-year-old navy carrier pilot, colin powell,
german schwartzkopf, our military commander wounded, we had some people that were not only strategic visionaries, but who also, as young people, had seen the reality of war. i think that's a real reason why the gulf war was a four-day ground campaign and 30-day air campaign which was, i might add, one of the largest armys and air forces in the world which we dismantled in short order. >> let me ask you about him as a diplomate, somebody who liked to use the phone to talk to his colleagues and counterparts around the world. you mentioned the sheer size of
that mission in the persian gulf. explain the significance of that, what he was able to do to bring so many countries together. >> i was in the room with president bush in a series of meetings with world leaders. it would be a small group, six or seven people in a room. and president bush would have me stay in there with them as lieutenant general in uniform. and i had to tell people, it wasn't just because he wanted colin powell to get direct reporting on what was happening, but also because he felt comfortable and liked having military officers around him. he was -- he had pulled together over his career such a collection of people that -- in the international community that trusted him and admired him. and he was such an example of collective bargaining, of putting together groups of people at a common interest. it wasn't just american power he was representing.
it was american values. and, you know, again, given our current situation in the united states was our foreign policy difficulties of nato being imperiled by the way we deal with them, it's just a remarkable contrast to this great man. >> general, always good to speak with you. retired general barry mccaffrey, he headed up the 24th division. thank you for your time. >> good to be with you. coming up, above everything else, george h.w. bush was an american family man. more on the political dynasty he leaves behind, coming up next. >> remember the old song, "i'll be the there ready when you are"? well, i'll be there ready when you are. but there's so much excitement ahead, so many grandkids to watch grow. if you need me, i'm here. devotedly -- devotedly, dad. with my hepatitis c, i felt i couldn't be at my best for my family.
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i used to worry about death. i don't any more. but i have a feeling there's an after life and i have a feeling it's a good one. >> who would you want to see first? >> well, it depends. if barbara predeceases me, probably go with her. but i think my mom and my father. and maybe robin, our little girl that died. >> we continue our special
coverage this morning of president george h.w. bush who died last night at the age of 94. he's remembered as a statesman, a family man and a public servant. his years as a pilot, and later a congressman and diplomate prepared him to serve as vice president and later president of the united states. but for all his success on the world stage, he was just as proud of his family. he was married to barbara bush for 73 years, the longest presidential marriage ever. the family says president bush will lie in state in the u.s. capital later this week before a memorial at the national cathedral attended by president trump and the first lady and after that will come a funeral in houston before he is laid to rest next to his wife and daughter. michael is back with us and i'm joined by eddie glodd and susan paige is back with us, as well. susan, let me ask you about the
role of family in george h.w. bush's life. you saw in that interview there, there's a impound involved and he had one up there where the family would gather. this was a huge family. and i quoted there from george h. bush just a moment ago. he was born to -- george h.w. bush and barbara bush when george h.w. bush was a student at yale early on in their marriage. this is a family that grew and is dynastic. it's no exaggeration to use that term. >> he hated that word, "dynasty." there was nothing to turn him off more than that word because he thought it conveyed a sense of personal privilege, that you didn't have to work that hard because you had a famous last name. and that does not reflect his values or the values i think that he passed on to his children.. but it's hard to deny that it is a dynasty. it's one of the premier american political dynasties. it has two presidents, governors of two big states.
now it was an elected official george p. bush in texas. i remember doing interviews over the past year for the biography of barbara bush i've been working on that george p. bush would come and visit his grandfather when he was ailing. he was being hospitalized during his rough primary campaign in texas this year. and barbara bush would egg him on. george p. bush on to tell him all the details about the primary challenge because george h.w. bush, of course, loved politics and loved his grandson and wanted to hear everything about it. >> eddie, we are mourning the loss of a life, of a man who had a huge impact on this country, but we are mourning the loss of a certain time in american history, as well. and i'd love for you you to talk a bit about that. we were talking earlier in the hour about him as a republican, as a member of that party. where he stands between reagan and his son when you look at the progression of republican presidents. what we're moving on from when it comes to american history. >> yeah. in so many ways, president bush
was a transitional figure. if you think about what he said in 1980 primaries, he called reagan economics voodoo economics. and you think about him being caught between the great generation and then the right return in american politics, how he gets caught in some ways by the venom of patrick buchanan and the aggression of newt gingrich. in some ways when he said read my lips, no new taxes. he played to that particular right return but then saw the state of the country with mounting deficits and made a decision to raise taxes. so here his understanding of public service trumped his ideaic thoughts of service. so in some ways when we lamented the loss of john mccain and now
we're lamenting the loss of george h.w. bush, that lamentation is about our current political moment more than anything. >> michael, you and i spoke after the death of senator john mccain and we had a similar conversation about the kind of comedy that we saw in washington, his efforts to reach across the aisle, to reach bipartisan consensus. do you see the parallels there, the similarities there? >> i do. and that period is gone and it may yet come again. but it hasn't come yet and it may be a while. but, you know, the bush family almost mirrors the republican party. he supported planned parenthood. the family was pro chose. he was very active in civil rights and then george h.w. bush moves down to texas and in the 1950s, prescott bush introduced george h.w. bush, his son, to a friend in washington, the french ambassador and he said, this is
my son, george, he's going to be president some day. so this is not a new idea. but george h.w. bush moves to texas, moves to the right. in his first campaign for the senate, 1964, even came out against the civil rights act. changed from that later on. but the bushes sort of mirror the movement of the republican party towards the south and the west, becomes more religious, becomeser more conservative and we're living in a very different country today. >> that first senate race against ralph yarborough, if i'm not mistaken. the way that he evolved as a politician, let's use simple rights as the jumping off point for that conversation. how he did evolve as times changed and his thinking changed. >> he did strike a more conservative position on civil rights. but as president, he tried to reach across racial lines in ways republicans haven't done.
they took advantage of situations and that's how republicans -- it's one of the ways republicans made inroads in texas and across the south with those southern -- those white southern democrats to convince them to vote for ronald reagan and for the republicans who voted for reagan. but president bush was never known as someone who, you know, struck racial -- who seemed to exploit that. he was, in fact, someone who i think tried to reach across racial lines. and that goes back to even in his days in college when he was active in civil rights groups on the campus at yale. >> eddie, jump in here if you would. >> it's a complicated story. we have to bring up with willie horton. >> yeah. >> lily atwater and what it meant in the battle against michael dukakis. we know he was losing, then that ad started running. but at the same time, this is a guy who passed the american disabilities act, a guy who
talked about the clean air act. he passed the clean air act. but the sense of what it meant to govern, his commitment to the country, we can disagree with the policies, but one thing we can't question it and that is his loyalty to the country. >> eddie, thank you very much joining me here in new york. i want to ask you to stick around, if you would. coming up, one of the greatest love stories in american history. how george and barbara bush's love story lasted 73 years and launched a political legacy. >> i have climbed the highest mountain in the world, but even that cannot hold a candle to being barbara's husband. mom used to tell me, now, george, don't whack ahead. little did she know -- >> oh. don't do that. >> little did she know what? >> i was only trying to keep up. with chantix. i tried cold turkey, i tried the patch. they didn't work for me. i didn't think anything was going to work for me
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susan, you're writing this book, it's coming out in april of next year what can you tell us about the dynamic between them? what was life like between them in the white house? the degree he relied on her while he was president of the united states? >> i interviewed more than 100 people for this book. i asked almost all of them, if george bush had not married barbara, would he have done what he had done as president? very few thought he would have. people kept saying they were indispensable. they were partners in an indispensable way. they complimented each other. george bush was extremely kind. barbara bush kept score -- kept political scores in a way george bush incident. i think there were times that was a useful thing for him. >> michael, i'll have you weigh
in on this. as you look back on their relationship and the role it had in this presidency. >> i think the way to look at it, if george h.w. bush went into a room of people, his instinct was how could i make some friends. barbara would say how can we make some friends, but she would also know who was a potential threat to her husband in a way that he did not know. >> michael, i will ask you lastly to characterize what we saw there in the late '80s in the early '90s in this country. i'll read here from gerald ford. it's no secret that when gerald ford became president, george herbert walker bush was hopeful that gerald ford might pick him to be vice president that didn't come to pass. nevertheless, this is what gerald ford said in 1996. in george bush's america,
political differences are never mistaken for a holy war in george h.w. bush's america, there were people against you on one day, but with you on the next roll call. >> that was true of george bush. i think it really goes back to the founders. the founders wanted us to have members of congress, citizens of the united states who would duke it out over really important issues. but remember at the end of the day we are all americans. in the founding times they would have a tankard of ale together. they were living in a different period. i think that's so much america, we'll come back to that, but we're certainly not in that america right now. >> susan, weigh in on that as well. what that moment was like in american political life, those four years. >> you know, i think that people miss it. i think one reason we saw such an outpouring when barbara bush
died, john mccain died, now the passing of george h.w. bush, people would like to return to a day where politics was hard fought but there was a sense of civility as gerald ford talked about. that's something that characterized his presidency as well. i think that people hope that the country can return to somet. >> this saturday morning we remember the life and legacy of george h.w. bush. our special coverage of his life continues, including what is scheduled to honor the late president in the week ahead plus what we can expect from president trump. that's coming up on machinsnbc. for strength and energy! whoo-hoo! great-tasting ensure. with nine grams of protein and twenty-six vitamins and minerals. ensure. now up to 30 grams of protein for strength and energy!
show me decorating shows. this is staying connected with xfinity to make moving... simple. easy. awesome. stay connected while you move with the best wifi experience and two-hour appointment windows. click, call or visit a store today. our breaking news coverage on the death of george h.w. bush continues on "am joy" with ol ali velshi. >> what do you want your legacy to be? >> i have banned the use of the word legacy. that was past, this is present. i think -- i think history will get right and point out the things i did wrong, perhaps some
of the things we did right. ♪ good morning. we begin the hour with continuing coverage of the passing of the george h.w. bush at the age of 94. a statement announcing his death last night came from his son, former president george w. bush. no cause of death has been given, the 41st president had been battling serious health issues including parkinson's for the last few years. his passing comes a little more than seven months after his wife barbara passed away. the white house flag at half staff as the nation reflects on bush's life and legacy including three