tv Death Row Stories CNN December 1, 2018 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
i was fishing with him. that's a large mouth bass. caught by my barber in alabama. i like the bait casting reels best of all. that's a very good bait casting reel here. a good one. >> you've been fishing all your life. >> all my life, yeah. that was down in florida in the keys, fishing for bonefish. it's really hunting and fishing. you see the tails on the fish and you cast at them. ♪ ♪
♪ jerry ford asked me what i'd like to do. i said, well, i'd love foreign affairs for the u.n. he said, well, you know, paris is open. france is open. if you want to be ambassador we could probably work that out. i said what i'd like to do is go to china. and he said how come? i said well, that's the future. that's where i see the future is. and this is long before people recognized china as the power it is. ♪
♪ >> long trip. long journey away from anything we'd done before. but barbara was for it and it works out great. >> and what was life like in china? >> couldn't go into people's homes. it was closed in those days. but we could go around town. we used bicycles a lot to get around to different putongs, different alleyways. and traveled as much as i could in the country with her. and it was wonderful.
it's a whole new experience. because i went over there thinking red china, domination of the communists of everything. family doesn't mean anything. then you go to a national day and you go to a park and you see four generations of chinese holding hands, grandfather, grandson, all going along on a family day in the park. and you're kind of indoctrinated or out of touch. you just listen to propaganda views of things. you don't get the reality. so i saw the real china. i saw shortcomings, saw its strengths. and i'm better for that. i learned a lot about life. ♪ >> can you tell us about becoming director of the cia? >> well, yeah. i remember riding my bicycle in china and the guy from the
embassy communicator came up and said, mr. ambassador, we've got news for you. come on back. so we went back, not very far. cycled back. and there i got this message. i think it was from kissinger. saying the president wants you to come back and run the cia. well, i had no idea about that. didn't know anything about how it operated. i'd been a consumer of intelligence, reading intelligence in that job and in the u.n. job and all of that. my view was once the president wants you to do something if you think you can do it you ought to do it. and i got a lot of advice from friends in congress, don't do this, it's a dead end for any political ambitions you might have. any political future. but i did it. and probably the most fulfilling job i had. well, not as much as president. i loved defending the cia. and i love talking about the dedication of the people that
work there. and i love knowing what they do and how well they do it. i did meet with some of our agents, some of our people that would be like serving in moscow and they'd bring them into the office. i'd get to talk to them. and they were heroic people. they were risking their lives out there. and some of them got wrapped up. some of them got, you know, compromised. the whole thing was a great experience. reinforced for me the forns of the intelligence service. the importance of having good foreign intelligence. and the importance of having dedicated americans who are willing to serve without sitting at the head table, without getting their names in the papers. and the agency was all of that for me. >> could you tell us a little more about what you did at the cia? >> no.
>> well, i'd had enough of a background in different things that i felt i could compete and i guess ambition or determination, whatever you want to call it. why not me? and i worked like hell and made some progress. but didn't get elected. >> when you received the phone call and were asked to be the vice presidential running mate, did you have any sense that that was coming? >> no. i didn't. i thought -- you know, i thought i would be considered. then they had this deal where ford would run with reagan. and they talked to ronald reagan about it. and for a while 2 lookit looked that was going to happen. and in my view that would have been a disaster. you can't have two presidents, which it would have been. ronald reagan shot that down.
so i was somewhat surprised and shocked you might say when he called me up there in the hotel room and said i want you to be my running mate. and i said i'm going over to the convention and announce that right now. >> and i thank you for your wholehearted response to my recommendation with regard to george bush as the candidate for vice president.
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i found as i did a lot of foreign travel for reagan that i met people. i always wanted to go to the funerals, you know, and so much so that jim baker said you die he'll fly. i'd go to all these different funerals. and there i'd see the different leaders. i made the first contact for the united states officially, or for reagan with gorbachev, for example. i was over there when russian premier chernenko died. and i went and met gorbachev, got a feel for him, wrote the cable myself to reagan telling him we've got a different man here, we've got a different breed of cat, somebody that you
can deal with. and so that was an important moment for me. ♪ there were a lot of things that -- individual times as vice president that i enjoyed. i enjoyed going to germany, trying to get the germans to deploy the pershing missiles. they were a very unpopular thing to do. but reagan wanted me to do this. and i went over there. and they did do it. and it enhanced the peace i think. >> when reagan was shot i was in fort worth and the secret service didn't know if it was a conspiracy to kill all leaders, so they hustled me off in a limo
and off to the plane. we stayed in touch with the white house. and got reports on how reagan was doing. i never thought i was president. i never felt i was making the decisions or calling the shots, acting like a president. no point in that. >> i've worked with a great president. i've seen what crossed that big desk. i've seen the unexpected crisis that arrives in a cable in a young aide's hand. and so i know that what it all comes down to this election is the man at the desk. and who should sit at that desk? my friends, i am that man.
>> thank you very much. and i am proud to receive and i'm honored to accept your nomination for president of the united states. s. >> the night before the election and we have to stop and go back to illinois and some other place before you go back to texas for the vote. and i said no, we're not going to do that. if we don't have it made by now we're not going to. so i didn't do it. but i say that because it shows that people weren't overly confident that we were going to win. and yet we won by what i think ex post facto had been considered a landslide.
>> i, george herbert walker bush, do solemnly swear. >> that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. >> that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. >> and will to the best of my ability. >> and will to the best of my ability. >> preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states. >> preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states. >> so help me god. >> so help me god. >> congratulations. >>. [ cheers and applause ] >> talk to you at our first organized press conference or sooner. we might have an inorganized
press conference -- you are disorganized. ♪ >> good morning, everybody. thank you all very much. let me just say that i know some of you have been up all night lo long. but we just wanted to wish you well and welcome you to the people's house. thank you all very, very much. thank you. thank you. livin' large? livin' with his mama. entrepreneur? unemployed. oh! and here we see the artist making an attempt to bare his soul.
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♪ the next morning my mother was there, came. we got that great picture of her sitting there. then the papers started piling up. the national security team came in. the cia people came in. went to work. >> how does it feel, sir, to be in the oval office? >> it gradually sunk in, listen, this responsibility is -- but i'd been there. i knew where the keys to the men's room were and i knew my way around the white house. and so it wasn't like out of a clear blue sky, some hick from west texas coming in here. and yet so heavy and so important, so big. and i think it settled on me that you're it, this is a very big thing you embarked on.
♪ >> maybe the most historic thing that happened while you were president was the end of the cold war. could you tell me about the day that the wall fell? >> i remember the democrat leaders in the congress, mitchell and gephardt, saying the president doesn't get it, he ought to be over there now dancing on the wall with these kids that are having families join for the first time. which historically would have been the stupidest thing i could have done. leslie stahl i think it was said to me why don't you express the emotion the american people feel? everybody's got certain levels of respect and pride. and for me to stick my finger in the eyes of gorbachev or the soviet military made no sense at all. and so i didn't do it. i got some criticism for that.
unemotional, didn't care. and i cared deeply. but subsequently gorbachev had said that if we'd had done it differently he didn't know how his military would react, whether they'd finally say enough is enough, or they'd say we'll teach this new gorbachev and take over and have a military confrontation. in east germany, poland, they had troops all through there. so it was better to work with the diplomacy of it all, which we did. helped have it very smooth. cold war ended without a shot being fired. >> good luck to you. >> thank you. >> how are you? >> you want a candy? come on. we'll get you a candy bar.
is your theory on that? >> i remember when it happened i was president and it was terrible. and we kind of led the world in putting sanctions against china. but i didn't want to break off all relations with china. and therein i had a difference with a lot of the editorialists and a lot of the people in congress. they said this is too much, we're going to break relations with china. in my view given where we are today it would have been a stupid thing to do. if i hadn't been to china, if i hadn't known the chinese leaders, i might have felt differently about that. there's a place where personal experience makes a difference. >> i believe the forces of democracy 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 restrai restraint, i'm convinced that the forces of democracy are going to overcome these unfortunate events in tiananmen square. ♪ opportunity is everywhere. like here. where nothing stands between you and your best friends. ♪ introducing the new capital one savor card. earn 4% cash back on dining
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let me quote the words of one arab leader, saddam hussein -- >> do i pick this up or take it out of my pocket -- >> well, if you take it out of your pocket, then you've got to have your coat open, don't you, to do that? >> no. i'm here today to explain to the people of iraq why the united states and the world community has responded the way it has to iraq's occupation of kuwait. let me quote the words of one arab leader, saddam hussein himse himself. "an arab country does not have the right to occupy another arab country." >> saddam hussein's unprovoked invasion, his ruthless systematic rape of a peaceful neighbor violated everything the
community of nations holds dear. the world has said this aggression would not stand. and it will not stand. >> small country. member of the united nations. was brutally taken over by the fourth largest army in the world. >> at what moment did you know this country was going to war against iraq? >> in my heart i knew it pretty quickly after he went into kuwait. by quickly i mean a few hours. i wasn't sure it was going to be war but i knew we were going to have to get him out of there. i remember when the presiding bishop of my church, he came to see me in the oval office. he said, mr. president, you must not use force. it would be immoral. so i said to him, ed, i'm afraid we view this differently. i don't think it's immoral. i said here's what i think is immoral and showed him this amnesty international report on the brutality to the iraqi kids. i mean, there was this overt
crystal clear wrong brutality. you can't delegate it. you can't form a committee. you can form a committee that says should we do something or how are we going to handle it? but in the final analysis the final decision is the president's. so you worry about it, you wrestle with it, and then you decide we're going to do this. and you don't listen to the drums beating outside of the white house. drum, drum. he was the epitome of evil for me. the way he treated his own people. what he did to his neighboring state, a member of the united nations. and i saw nothing redeeming about him at all. i think the feeling was mutual,
incidentally. the congress was against it. they were divided. mainly on party lines. but didn't want me to do it. but i did what i thought we should do. >> at my direction elements of the 82nd airborne division as well as key units of the united states air force are arriving today to take up defensive positions in saudi arabia. >> and saddam hussein never thought we were going to fight. and i think he also believed that if we were going to fight he'd win. i am convinced to this day that saddam hussein would have marched right down and taken over saudi arabia. and then all hell would have broken loose. the war was over in 100 hours. which nobody early on would have thought possible. i think that is something known as a, quote, just war, unquote. and this was a just war. and ironically, after the way it
worked out and the way our military conducted itself with such efficiency and honor, some of the critics back then, prewar critics, rescinded their critici criticism. but if it hadn't worked out i probably would have been impeached, maybe thrown out of office. your toughest decision the president makes is when he has to send somebody else's son or daughter these days into combat, into war. so when i decided we use force, it was a big decision, a major decision. whether to kick him out of kuwait. >> what did you say to the families who lost loved ones? >> heartbroken. still feel it. anytime someone loses a loved one, the burden for the loss of that life is right on the shoulders of the responsibility of the president.
you can't help but feel that way. i've often wondered what would have happened if we'd have said this war's going to continue now until you show up and put your sword on that -- sword of surrender on that table. in the desert. everyone then said he won't show up. but i'm wondering if he would have, but i think probably not. but i think that would have been a more satisfying end to the war. well, the way it worked out it affected me as -- it gave me great pride in the american military, pride and the great satisfaction we did what was right, morally right. and took some satisfaction in the critics being wrong. i've got to admit to that. not a very nice thought there. but there was so much criticism, so much wild and ranting criticism about me then. but i think the fact it all
♪ we preferred calling it a revenue enhancement rather than a tax increase. but no question it hurt. and the democrats and many of the right-wing republicans went after me with a vengeance. >> read my lips. no new taxes. >> if i hadn't said read my lips, no more taxes, it might not have been as big a deal. it was so pronounced, so clear, so hammered home. that if the rhetoric -- if i'd used different rhetoric i might have paid a lesser price. i still paid a big price. >> do you regret that decision? >> no. because it was right. >> four more years! four more years! four more years!
>> thank you, united states of america. we are going to win this election. >> can you describe the year 1992 and what that years means to you? >> defeat. losing to bill clinton. clinton did a great job of campaigning on -- that i didn't get it, i was out of touch and all of that. i don't want to sound like i'm bashing the press, but there was almost unanimity in the press corps that i should lose, and they were for him. and that makes a huge difference. >> can you talk a little about ross perot? >> no. can't talk about him. i think he cost me the election, and i don't like him. other than that i have nothing to say. >> the people have spoken, and we respect the majesty of the
democratic system. i just called governor clinton over in little rock and offered my congratulations. he did run a strong campaign. >> losing an election hurts. not so much for you personally but you feel you let down a lot of people. there's terrible hurt in it. but i had some experience and i lost a couple senate races. but this was big. and of course very hurtful. >> i'll introduce my two brothers to you. my brother john. this is chelsea. >> hi, senator. >> have a chance to visit. >> nancy, come say hello. nancy wong. >> nice to see you.
hello, michael. how are you? nice to see you. >> coffee or tea? >> if you've got a cup of decaf i'll take that. otherwise, i'll have tea. >> the whole agenda of unfinished business. domestic, foreign affairs, whatever. we had a lot of things on the economy we were trying to do and would have liked to have done more for real peace in the middle east, for example. i think china was always important and i think we could have taken some quantum leaps forward on that. some of that's been done by whoever came along after me. a lot of it.
watch that bow getting under that dock. >> good job. >> barbara and i come in the morning in the spring, early summer, sit out there every morning, watch the waves, have a cup of coffee. now every time we have meals we eat out here. today we will. now we've got little gigi here. and i can't tell you the joy i get when i just see her in the morning at my window running or going over to the pool here. and now in another week or two there will be a lot of them here. and that really inspires me and makes me feel young. look out this window and the sea does for me exactly what it did
when i was 15 years old. i love it, and i feel reinvigorated there. i can still drive my boat. a lot of things i love to do i can't do. but because i'm getting older. it's different now. but you're still on the team of life. you're still in the middle of this great family. that's what matters. inferior phone detected.
. what was it like to see your son elected president? >> very emotional for me, very proud father. first time it's happened, i guess, in the history of our country, except for the adamses. but it was mind-boggling. it was enormous and a source of great pride for the father and mother, barbara, it was great. ♪ by the dawn's early light ♪ what so proudly we hailed
♪ at the twilight's last gleaming ♪ >> chris needles, who was a white house guy at one point, and head of the parachute association was here, and they said they were having some demonstrations and would i like to see it, and i said yeah, in fact i'd like to make another jump, but i want to do it right. made mistakes. just, in my heart of hearts figured i could get it right. so we went out to arizona, a few hours' drill. and went out and made another parachute jump. i think i made a total of seven since then. but now they're all tandem. those first two or three were solo jumps, which is much more exciting. much more, you have to make a
decision. steer the chute, so it's more on you. and people say why do you do this stupid stuff? i say, well, two reasons. one, at my age, you still get a thrill, a physical thrill from something. you look down. no visible means of support. and next thing you know, you're falling and floating, hopefully. and then it sends a message around the world that, i say around the world, immodestly, but people do seem to see it, that, you know, old guys can still do interesting things, fun things, exciting things. i'm going to do one more on my 90th birthday. how do you think driving around that limo? >> i don't know, how was it? >> pretty good. everything was pretty good in those days. >> just visited berlin last weekend to reunite with my esteemed colleagues, gorbachev
and cole. we are 20 years older. talk about dancing on the wall, i'm lucky to be able to stand up near the damn thing. [ applause ] i've got a little parkinson's in the lower legs. getting tired when you drag your legs around. it doesn't hurt, but it's a reminder that i'm getting older. i do have a fear of falling. i've fall and couple times. not in the last six months but several times over the last year, but always making a soft landing. but it's funny when you're walking along, you picture where you are, you plan where it would be a great place to fall. but now my secret service guys and all are here, so i lean on them. >> i'm honored to be here to install this symbolic anchor
which will rest for generations to come as gampy's admiration and the admiration of kennebunkport for him. we love you. [ applause ] >> i'm not even dead yet! what's going on here? it's amazing. [ laughter ] >> and now barbara and i would like to ask all of you, every single one of you, to come to the gate and walk up and see this house from the other point of view. on the end of the house you'll see my favorite slogan. ceiling and visibility unlimited. cavu. and that's the way my life is here. i think barbara feels the same way about it.
politics is a noble calling. don't be turned off by the scandal of the moment, by the criticism from the press about politics and politicians. do your best, get in there, if you believe in something, and work at it. and it's worth it. it's worth doing it. it's worth serving something other than your own self, your own pocketbook. public service is a noble calling, and i still feel that way. >> i know you. i know you. presidents come and go, but george handy stays.
>> gorge, heorge, how are you? good to see you. they haven't run you off yet, huh? >> no. >> how about this one? >> no, he's still here. >> nice to see you. >> thank you, sir. >> this is a great reunion. good to see you, george. >> george, have you lost weight? >> yes, i did. i knew were you coming. ♪ >> the honorable george herbert walker bush. [ applause ]
♪ >> that sound, a lot of memories, a lot of happy memories, and it's mesmerizing. the sea is enchanting. and now, at this stage of my life, how lucky we are, how beautiful this is. this is our anchor to windward. this is our, where the kids come back, this is where the memories are. so this is where i've been coming all my life and where i will remain until my last days.
the following is a cnn special report. he had the best resume in town. >> he never put his own self-interest ahead of america. >> i, george herbert walker bush. >> led the nation through tumultuous times. >> i tell people, if you want to know how to fight a war, take a look at the way george bush fought the first gulf war. >> the battle has been joined. >> driven by duty and destiny. >> the bush code was always "look