tv The Bush Years Family Duty Power CNN March 3, 2019 7:00pm-8:01pm PST
life of beers and barbecues. he doesn't flow what know what o do. >> barbara bush becomes clinically depressed. she told no one except george bush. george h.w. bush believes he has a new ally, the most powerful man in america. he is ever loyal to his president and his party. but those he trusts behtray him. >> when he says i had no knowledge of watergate i believe him. >> george will need to keep his family close. >> i get nervous. i'm not a politician. >> as he strives to achieve the power he desires. >> i'm absolutely convinced i will be your next president.
>> losing the senate in 1970 is a devastating loss not only for bush but for the bush family that put so much at stake around his political career. >> he tried twice for the united states senate and been unsuccessful. >> thank you very much. >> it was a very heavy blow. but he is too optimistic to feel anything is totally over. >> george bush turns to his ally, president richard nixon. >> richard nixon has great respect for george bush and the bush family. he knew his father in the senate and he sees george bush. >> at that stage of his career george bush was looked on as the future of the party.
he had qualities about him that were valuable in a political sense. george pitches himself to president nixon to the recently vacated job of u.n. ambassador. >> george was very astute to what he should take. >> he says to nixon i'm really interested in foreign policy and nixon gives him the u.n. job. >> george and barbara move to a glamorous new address. the ambassador suite in the waldorf historia hotel. >> lots of stories about how cool it was. >> the relief for me is really great to know my family is so happy after a tough defeat in november. >> when he gets to the u.n. he realizes how much he loves
foreign policy. >> he was intrigued by the need to do business. he found he was pretty good at it. >> my grandfather developed so many friendships in that early phase in the 70s that he would have for the rest of his life and frankly benefit our country. >> it was the very beginning of george bush's mastery of foreign policy. >> george bush is referred to as the star of the family. bush knows that he's been tik ticketed, that's he's been chosen. >> i think he would want to go beyond that. >> to wrap up his sense of
public service is that you keep moving upwards taking the most challenging and most powerful job as you complete the one before it. >> when he wins the second term by a landslide he makes a radical move. >> nixon demanded the resignation of every member of his cabinet. he now want today bring in and reinvig v reinvigorate a group of people to run a much more conservative. the question is what could come next? >> 13 days after the election george arrives at camp david to meet the president. >> bush smiling enters the aspen lodge where he is in court. >> he is thinking he is about to be offered something magnificent and something powerful.
>> this is my big moment. nixon is going to give me a major killer post. >> but it's not good news for bush. >> what nixon wants him to do is take over as the chairman of the republican national committee. this is not considered to be a promotion. >> what goes there you your mind in that moment when you're expecting the world and instead you're given the grunt job? >> this was a tireless job. it was a thankless job. he was going to be gone for hundreds of days doing his job as republican party chair not necessarily doing his job as george bush the family man. >> barbara does not think it is a job he should take. she advices against it. she thinks others will see this as being a devotional. >> for george bush it is an inner conflict. he has been raised as the son of
dot tie and prescott bush to do his duty. >> only six weeks earlier prescott bush died at 77 years oechltd. >> my father, 77 years old, was a senator from connecticut. he kplacommanded respect but al was respectful. >> he was a great man. a great person to go to share your thoughts and worries. he was a wonderful listener. the man with a lust for life. >> he was in many ways more than a father figure. he was actually also a role model. george bush looked up to him and his passing left a great void. >> for george bush he has
thought of nixon as a father figure. >> when the president of the united states asked him to do something he feels duty bound to do it. >> george bush took over in january of 1973 having absolutely no idea that a crime committed months before would consume his entire time in office and consume nixon's presidency. what does help for heart failure look like? it looks like george having a busy day. ♪ the beat goes on george has entresto, a heart failure medicine that helps his heart... so he can keep on doing what he loves. in the largest heart failure study ever, entresto was proven superior at helping people stay alive and out of the hospital. it helps improve your heart's ability to pump blood
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back out again. >> same way? >> same way. >> george and barbara bush had moved to washington. george takes the helm of the republican party barbara continues to do everything she can to help drive his political career. >> my grandparents really were a partnership without a barbara bush there is no george h.w. bush. >> she had a huge christmas card list that turned out to be thousands of names of people. it became an enormous political asset. >> they have an enjoyment for life that was really contagious. people love being around them. >> their children are in high school while jeb is at college in texas.
>> george h.w. bush goes into war and sees people die. starts a life with his bief. he is tremendous success before the age of 30. >> george w. is very down shoco. >> george w. is leading this life of fears and barbecues. he really doesn't know what he wants to do. >> the same can't be said for his 20-year-old brother. >> he is one of those guys that is very determined to move forward. starting at a young age there was no slowing jeb bush down. >> he announced he is now
engaged. they first met in mexico where he was doing an exchange for mexico. i think it was love at first sight. >> he put his real focus on things. he worked hard to get through school very quickly because he was committed to getting married. >> the problem for the bushes is they had not met this woman. she didn't speak english and that it was a very very quick engagement. >> she meets the bush family for the first time just before her wedding. >> one can only imagine the cultural shock that there must have been. you have a family that has many generations of wealth and connections not anything like she has ever experienced. >> but she talked very lovingly about how she had been graeeete in that family. they respect their children and
want their children to be happy. >> for the past year george h.w. bush has been caught up in the storm of a huge political scandal. >> five men were arrested saturday trying to install eves dropping. one is in the committee for the reelection of the president. >> these are the so called water gate burglars. this is the start of the watergate scandal. zb they are revealed to have been spying on the democratic party. suspicion of complicity begins to fall on president nixon himself. >> he thinks the best of people and can't imagine the president of the united states being involved in espionage.
>> they will be very close. you understand that. >> best of luck on anything. zbli kn >> i know that, george. >> by 1973 the media is going crazy about watergate. >> it is a pressure cooker. if you are a surrogate for the president you are being bombarded by questions about watergate. >> i continue to say the party is not involved. >> george bush was a good soldier. he time and again went at it in front of the press and in front of the american people and explained nixon was innocent. >> he feels the same way i do about it. i'm sure of it. husband public statements have said so. i believe it. i'm going to continue to believe it until somebody gives some evidence. >> are you aware of the insulationover a insulation of any listening device in the oval office? >> i was aware of listening devices, yes, sir. >> the senate watergate
committee discovers nixon has been secretly recording conversations in the white house. >> george bush was shocked and stunned. >> if nixon is involved in anyway in this scandal it is probably going to come out on these tapes. >> privately bush is fuming. his job is to defend and support the president. so even as members of his own party slowly begin to call out the president george h.w. bush still defends him. >> everyone was saying come out and criticize nixon or something like that. rib sitting around the pool talking and i said you have got to know he is guilty don't you? he said he told me he wasn't and he didn't know anything about it. i completely accept what he said. >> george bush had no idea that the president of the united states was lying to him as well as the rest of the country. everyone's got to listen to mom.
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recording that is damming. he is told that he needs to come to a meeting with oun of tne of aids of the president and president's counsel to hear more about this tape. >> on the tape nixon speaks with his chief of staff about the watergate break-in. >> the fbi is not under control. >> they plot to put pressure on the fbi to call off the investigation. >> it will be very detri mental. >> and the transcript of that conversation was provided officially on august 5th the any objection on collapsed. >> nixon was engineering the cover up with his top aid. that is obstruction of justice. >> the realization that the president has lied to you must be soul crushing or enraging,
maybe both. >> he lied to me. bad enough he lied to the country but he lied to me. it's an incredibly sad moment for bush because he reveres his country and the presidency as his highest office. >> the following day george attending the president's cabinet meeting. >> normally the cabinet applauds the president. no applause this day. >> those around the table are looking at him with anger, looking at him with distan. >> he starts talking about the greatest crisis our country is facing, the economy. >> and the cabinet looks at him. what the hell is he talking about? >> one by one they begin to tell the president there is a very severe problem. >> nixon looks at bush across the cabinet room table and he
mouths the word george. he is a very difficult moment for bush. on the one hand nixon has helped him. he helped nurture his political career. on the other hand he betrayed him. >> in his mind he wants to tell the president he has to resign. >> george bush is a despicable of human decency. >> when it comes to george bush to speak he says to the president you need to handle this situation. you need to handle it quickly. >> the following day george is compelled to write to the president. >> he had an incredibly difficult task. he had to say look, it's time for you to go. that's never been done in the history of the country that i'm aware of. >> i admire dan. you know, it's easy to feel betrayal but the important thing is to do something about it.
when president nixon crossed the line he had the fortitude to step up and tell the president it's time for you to go. >> he resigned before he could suffer the indignity of a full impeachment. >> the bushes are out on the south lawn when nixon does his famous good-bye at marine one. the bushes are crying. they are emotional. barbara says this is one of the brightest men of our time brought down by this stupid cover up. >> george h.w. bush is one of the last people to finally abandon nixon. it speaks to his loyalty but also a blemish on his record. loyalty to people and loyalty to institutions should never trump loyalty to country. >> vice president gerald ford succeeds nixon as president. george bush sees an opportunity
to get his political career back on track. >> george bush thinks he has a pretty good shot at becoming vice president. he pitches gerald ford on the job. >> he goes for a weekend and he finds out he has been passed up. >> all in all it's a first class choice. i was flattered to be in that league. >> you don't seem awfully personally disappointed. >> you just see what you see on the outside. >> it's a devastating moment. bush was constantly reaching for the very summit of american politics and every time he got close he would get pushed back down again. >> gerald ford offered george bush a number of positions including what could be called
glamour ambassador ships to britain and france. >> it had been an exhausting year and a half of slugging it out. >> many people were surprised that the place that george bush has to go was to china. >> in those days going to klich was like going to the dark side of the moon. >> even though it wasn't the sexy post by any means he chose to go there because he saw it as this opportunity. he could tell that china really was going to be a player in the future. >> china reignites the passion he had. he loved diplomacy and he loved peep. he gets to meet one of these epic historic figures. he relished the idea he was in the room with such power.
>> barbara bush loved getting on a bicycle and going out with george. the two of them had a chance to be a couple without things all around them. she cherished it. >> they will be looking. what's this all about? they really made a great impression. >> they enjoy visits from the children and immerse themselves in chinese culture. >> barbara bush often said that their years in china were the happiest years of their lives. they absolutely loved it. >> and the cable comes from washington and it's a shock. >> in november 1975 president ford asks george bush to return home to become cia director. >> barbara bush says this is camp david all over again which means this is a president
offering you a job i don't think you should take. >> there was never an american politician who had become a spy who then could suddenly come back and run for office again. >> i wish i knew the conversations they must have had about george, are you sure you want to be the director of the cia? >> i'm reading some of the hearings from previous directors. some say shoving you into a meat grinder, getting rid of you politically. others are saying they think it's great. i'll be damned if i know which is which. enhance your moments. san pellegrino. tastefully italian. i that's the retirement plan.e, san pellegrino. with my annuity, i know there is a guarantee. it's for my family, its for my self, its for my future.
president gerald ford requested that george bush take over the cia. >> he accepted because it was his ethic. you do what the president asks you to do and that meant leaving beijing and heading back to the washington vortex. >> it is my duty to serve my country and i didn't pick this job but i want to do it and i'll do my very best. thank you, mr. chairman. >> the cia is under assault.
>> the agencies engulfed in scandals, the image of the cia of an intelligence agency gone mad. >> does this fiscal fire, the dark. >> congress investigating the cia's alleged assassination and dirty tricks. >> they were the piñata, everybody taking a whack at it. >> george bush comes to their defense. >> george bush treats it as if they are patriots. >> he builds moral and builds the organization. >> we have to go to work. george bush can't confide outside the agency, even those closest to him. >> it was a difficult time for my grandmother. for the first time it had to be
a change from china to cia from mom and dad and their relationship. to do from that to being blocked out of dad's professional life. >> also during the womens movement it was just a time for someone like my grandmother that wasn't just attached to my husband. >> taking on professional career jobs and she mentioned to me she hadn't done anything. >> she becomes seriously depressed. she contemplates suicide. she told no one about her depression except george bush. he would hold her and talk to
her and kfrcomfort her at night. it is only after six or eight months that she is able to pull out of this depression. >>. >> g>> bush holds this hope jimy carter might hold him hup. they didn't want him to leave and he didn't want to leave. >> carter had come into office and he had a little bit of watergate around him. there was in way he would keep him. george bush is out of a job. >> so bush goes home to houston and of course he is bored by gossip around the country club
pool. >> george w. bush is turning his life around. he returns home to texas after earning a masters degree in business. >> he is kind of wandering around with no real direction. when he got to harvard he got to knowledge that he could do the work. >> harvard, that was a different set of friends, being around different ambitions. i think it sort of opened up his world to polssibles. >> like his father george sets up his own oil company and meets a woman that will clahange his life forever. >> in the summer of 1977 joe and january host a backyard barbecue for their friends that never met each other. george bush and laura. >> my dad is very funny and very happy to make sure everyone and
him is laughing and enjoying themselves. but my parents definitely are a case of opposites attract. >> he's taken her back home to meet george and barbara bush. they fall in love are laura immediately. >> just a few months after meeting george and laura get married. >> i'll say one thing about campaigning for office in west te texas you sure do get to do plenty of driving. >> when a congress seat becomes available he decides to follow his father into politics. >> it really is the only way i know thousand campaign, to get out and meet the people, tell them who i am. >> i'm george bush running for congress. >> he is determines to build his political career and sees it as an opportunity to do something meaningful.
>> just 31 years of age but he wants to get into the family business. >> the bush family name is gold. i think he imagined it could convert to a political career beginning with congress. >> he tells laura that she'll never have to give a speech. that turns out not to be true but they enjoy being around each other wafr thhatever they are d. it is the seeds of a strong partnership. >> george h.w. bush encourage his son. the district is made for it. >> the campaign was a tough campaign. my whole strategy was to make it that i was the guy next door. george w. bush was born in connecticut, went to school in massachusetts and studied at yale. >> he was a fake texan.
a northeastern ivy league carpet bagger. >> bush was a texan. we had to try to make that d distinction that i was more than he was. >> george looses 14 out of 17 counties. >> i think he was a little offended by some of the things we did in the campaign. i think it toughened him up. one of the things he said after that race, he wasn't going to be out in the beginning and he wasn't. >> as george w.'s political career stalls his father prepares his next move. >> he has been primed his entire life to run for the highest office of the land. ambitions have always been for power.
>> we were out fishing just the two of us when he suddenly said to me when what would you think if i ran for president? thanksmrs. murphy. unitedhealthcare, hi, i need help getting an appointment with my podiatrist. how's wednesday at 2? i can't. dog agility. tuesday at 11? nope. robot cage match. how about the 28th at 3? done. with unitedhealthcare medicare advantage plans, including the only plans with the aarp name, there's so much to take advantage of. from scheduling appointments to finding specialists, it's easier to get the care you need when you need it. at&t provides edge-to-edge intelligence, covering virtually every part of your manufacturing business. & so this won't happen. because you've made sure this sensor and this machine are integrated. & she can talk to him, & yes...
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candidate for president of the united states. [ cheers and applause ] >> my father's qualifications for being president were unparalleled. the war hero, a businessman, working the u.n. china, being a party leader, cia director, all of these experiences that gave him real knowledge. >> i would like to introduce you to my family, my mother mrs. prescott bush and my wife barbara, george and his wife laura from west texas, jeb and his wife from houston, texas and neil bush gets his masters degree, neil here. marvin attending university of virginia and dorthy bush. >> he knew he could do it.
if he could get his message out there people would like him. >> he is up against ronald reagan. >> ronald reagan has taken the republican party by storm by virtue of running to the right of center. >> ron flaald reagan was a mast. he had been a movand he was a v good candidate. >> george h.w. bush was very much part of the regular republican establishment very much in his father's image. >> it is a classic match up. it is eastern establishment versus the west coast. it is all in that stuff. >> the polls show that ronald reagan, john conly and baker way ahead of you. how are you going to dacatch up with them? >> couldn't care less on my
part. what counts is what happens when iowa caucuses vote. >> george bush calls on his family to help him on the campaign trail. >> i love that experience. i moved to new hampshire. he would say neil, take this list and go talk to these people and recruit town chairman and dad would come in and we would organize events. >> the reason i'm doing what i do is because i believe the country needs his kind of leadership. >> the funniest thing is when grow down the street and you hear someone talking about your father. that's what takes a little bit of getting use to. >> while marvin gets use to being in the spotlight. his 26-year-old rallies latino voters. >> his spanish is good partly because his wife is mexican. >> he quits his job to support
his father. >> what's it like being a professional son of the candidate down here? >> it's not something i would like to do the rest of my life, no. i get nervous at first. i'm not a politician. >> barbara travels thousands of miles around the country campaigning for her husband. >> made it. >> she is out there on the campaign trail in a small plane with one assistant. she is exhausted but she is preaching the gospel of bush. >> i think i'm a very strong woman. george bush is a very strong man. >> she never grumbled. she thrived on being with people because above all she was supportive of her man, and she was going to do what she could for him. >> when do you see george? >> not enough. i saw him today. i'll see him next tuesday. you don't get to be president by
sitting home and looking at each other. >> a lot of people come up and say, you know, it's too bad your wife is not running. i don't have hard feelings about it but she is good. she is ter rirific. >> there is some concern she looks older than she is and that she looks older than her husband. >> she was at a campaign event and somebody said you must be so proud of your son. >> there were saids that went to george bush and said you should get barbara to dye her hair and kicked them out of the room for suggesting it. >> she said i will be who i am because that's the way god made me. >> who is the gray fox? >> and which one of my children were you talking to? who is the gray fox. they have so bad those children.
>> trailing behind reagan in the polls george needs to gain momentum in the iowa caucus. >> the rap on reagan is he is lazy. he does seem complaisant that he will cruise >> some of those bigger shots out there don't need you. i need your help with those caucuses. >> george bush believed if he could speak to you, look at you, have him look in your eyes to see his sincerity, he could get your vote. he made a point of visiting every single county in iowa. and it worked. >> ladies and gentlemen, george and mrs. bush who have taken iowa by storm. >> against all odds, george bush pulls off a stunning victory. >> this man, who is not a national figure at all, suddenly is leading in the republican race. >> iowa has set something in
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all eyes are on new hampshire for the next phase of the race for the republican nomination. >> the polls show george bush far ahead of the other five candidates, including ronald reagan. >> bush is on the up. he thinks he's winning. he can taste victory. >> and the reagan camp comes to george bush's campaign with a very intriguing offer. what if they have a one-on-one debate between the two front-runners? ronald reagan and george bush. it's a huge opportunity for bush. >> he'll come out looking good, and it will make sure that just the two of them are going head to head for the republican nomination. >> george bush is arriving to go out in front of 2,000 voters in
the nassau high school gym. >> george bush sits down and gets ready for his one-on-one debate with ronald reagan. and then ronald reagan throws him a curve. >> what bush doesn't know is that the reagan campaign has invited all of the other republican candidates to come to this debate. >> on the right, ronald reagan. on the left, george bush. and in the rear, four other candidates -- >> that's against the rules. that's not what they agreed to. and george bush is nothing if not a stickler for the rules. >> ronald reagan doesn't want a head-to-head debate with george bush. he wants bush to be one of the also-rans. >> what reagan is banking on at that moment is that it will throw george bush off balance. >> and then the organizers of the debate say to reagan, well,
you can't do this. >> will the sound man please turn mr. reagan's mike off for a moment. >> typical ronald reagan, he seizes the dramatic hollywood moment. >> i am paying for this microphone! >> reagan stole the show. and poor dan kind of got stuck in the middle. >> george bush sits startled and looking perplexed and says nothing. >> finally the debate goes ahead without the other candidates. >> ronald reagan comes out of the national debate as the person who wants dialogue, transparency, and a democratic process. and george bush comes out of it looking like this peevish, entitled person who wanted it to go one way, and when it didn't go his way, he picked up the ball and went home. >> i came here to keep my word,
to do what i said i'd do. i was challenged by governor reagan. that's the point you must remember. i accepted a challenge. >> reagan's indignant, mad as hell posture really he is nated with america at a time we were frustrated in the world. 52 hostages were in iran. our economy was flagging. so that struck a chord with the american public, and it made great tv. >> george bush is crushed by ronald reagan in the new hampshire primary. >> i think it's fair to say that george bush knew his dreams of becoming president had gone up in smoke in that high school gymnasium in nassau, new hampshire. >> welcome back to houston. >> is that where we are? >> got a long weekend ahead of you, sir? >> i don't know, i don't expect any longer than normal. >> okay. any comments on what -- >> no. no, no, no comments. just delighted to be home.
>> trailing too far behind reagan and with his campaign running out of funds, george reluctantly throws in the towel. >> my every gut instinct, my every bit of training, my every bit of service in the war, whatever it is, to fight. fight, fight, fight. >> george bush was the last man standing between ronald reagan and the republican nomination, and ultimately he fell. in fact, bush goes to the republican convention fully expecting that this might very well be the last act of his political career. >> next on "the bush years" -- >> this is war. this is not tiddlywinks. >> drinking was crowding out the things that were most important to him. >> i just remember being inspired and moved and proud of
him. >> this is my mission, and i will complete it. >> they thought it was the end. and now it was the beginning. the following is a cnn special report. ♪ america's steadfast ally -- >> extraordinary friendship and relationship -- >> directly into the world trade center -- >> at times spawned america's deadliest enemies. osama bin laden. saudi. thousands of isis fighters,